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Reward or punishment? Class size and teacher quality

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  • Barrett, Nathan
  • Toma, Eugenia F.

Abstract

The high stakes testing and school accountability components of our K-12 education system create an incentive for principals to behave strategically to maximize school performance. One possible approach is the adjustment of class sizes based on observed teacher effectiveness. Conceptually, this relationship may be positive or negative. On one hand, performance-maximizing principals may place more students in the classrooms of more effective teachers. But because administrators may have compensation constraints, it is also plausible that they may reward more effective teachers with fewer students in the classroom. This paper examines whether principals reward effective teachers by decreasing their class size or whether they increase the size of classes of more effective teachers as a means of enhancing the school outcome. Results overall indicate that more effective teachers do have larger classes. This result holds implications for prior policy studies of class size as well as for education policy more generally.

Suggested Citation

  • Barrett, Nathan & Toma, Eugenia F., 2013. "Reward or punishment? Class size and teacher quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 41-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:41-52
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.03.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
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    3. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    4. Harris, Douglas N. & Sass, Tim R., 2011. "Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 798-812, August.
    5. Alan B. Krueger, 2003. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 34-63, February.
    6. Figlio, David N., 1997. "Teacher salaries and teacher quality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 267-271, August.
    7. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2007. "Teacher credentials and student achievement: Longitudinal analysis with student fixed effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 673-682, December.
    8. Nathan Barrett & J. S. Butler & Eugenia F. Toma, 2012. "Do Less Effective Teachers Choose Professional Development Does It Matter?," Evaluation Review, , vol. 36(5), pages 346-374, October.
    9. Eric A. Hanushek, 1998. "Conclusions and controversies about the effectiveness of school resources," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 11-27.
    10. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. Goldhaber, Dan & Cowan, James & Walch, Joe, 2013. "Is a good elementary teacher always good? Assessing teacher performance estimates across subjects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 216-228.
    3. Nirav Mehta, 2017. "Targeting the Wrong Teachers? Linking Measurement with Theory to Evaluate Teacher Incentive Schemes," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20171, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education policy; Teacher effectiveness; Class size; School administration;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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