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What can teachers do to raise pupil achievement?

  • Aslam, Monazza
  • Kingdon, Geeta

Improving weak teaching may be one of the most effective means of raising pupil achievement. However, teachers' classroom practices and the teaching 'process' may matter more to student learning than teachers' observed résumé characteristics (such as certification and experience). There may also be important differences in teacher characteristics across government and private schools which may help explain the large documented public-private achievement differences often found in studies. This paper delves into the black-box representing 'teaching' to uncover the teacher characteristics and teaching practices that matter most to pupil achievement. This is done using unique school-based data, collected in 2002-2003 from government and private schools from one district in Punjab province in Pakistan. The data allow exploitation of an identification strategy that permits the matching of students' test scores in language and mathematics to the characteristics of teachers that teach those subjects. Within pupil (across subject rather than across time) variation is used to examine whether the characteristics of different subject teachers are related to a students' mark across subjects. The data are also unique in asking all subject teachers questions pertaining to their teaching practices and these, often unobserved, 'process' variables are included in achievement function estimates. Our pupil fixed-effects findings reveal that the standard résumé characteristics of teachers do not significantly matter to pupil achievement. Perversely, however, teachers are found to be rewarded with higher pay for possessing these characteristics, highlighting the highly inefficient nature of teacher pay schedules. Our findings also show that teaching 'process' variables matter significantly to student achievement. There are important differences across school-types.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 559-574

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:3:p:559-574
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  1. Monazza Aslam, 2006. "Rates of Return to Education by Gender in Pakistan," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-064, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  3. Holmlund, Helena & Sund, Krister, 2008. "Is the gender gap in school performance affected by the sex of the teacher," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 37-53, February.
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  5. Monazza Aslam, 2009. "Education Gender Gaps in Pakistan: Is the Labor Market to Blame?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 747-784, 07.
  6. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Maresa, SPRIETSMA & Fabio, WALTENBERG, 2005. "The impact of teachers’ wages on students’ performance in the presence of heterogeneity and endogeneity. Evidence from Brazil," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005008, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  8. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718.
  9. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 11936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael, 2006. "Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  11. Das, Jishnu & Pandey, Priyanka & Zajonc, Tristan, 2006. "Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4067, The World Bank.
  12. Shahrukh Rafi Khan, 2002. "Rationality in Public Sector Salary Scales: The Case of Rural Teachers in Pakistan," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 333-345.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin & Daniel M. O'Brien, 2005. "The Market for Teacher Quality," Discussion Papers 04-025, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  14. Alderman, Harold & Orazem, Peter & Paterno, Elizabeth M., 2001. "School Quality, School Cost, and the Public/Private School Choices of Low-Income Households in Pakistan," Staff General Research Papers 1970, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  15. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2006. "Teacher characteristics and student performance in India: A pupil fixed effects approach," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-059, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
  17. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
  18. Geeta Kingdon & Francis Teal, 2004. "Does performance related pay for teachers improve student performance? Some evidence from India," Development and Comp Systems 0409009, EconWPA.
  19. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  20. Boissiere, M & Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1985. "Earnings, Schooling, Ability, and Cognitive Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1016-30, December.
  21. Monazza Aslam, 2009. "The relative effectiveness of government and private schools in Pakistan: are girls worse off?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 329-354.
  22. Kingdon, Geeta & Teal, Francis, 2010. "Teacher unions, teacher pay and student performance in India: A pupil fixed effects approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 278-288, March.
  23. Monazza Aslam, 2006. "The Quality of School Provision in Pakistan: Are Girls Worse Off?," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-066, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  24. Ballou, Dale, 2001. "Pay for performance in public and private schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-61, February.
  25. G. M. Arif & Najam Us Saqib, 2003. "Production of Cognitive and Life Skills in Public, Private, and NGO Schools in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 1-28.
  26. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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