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Value-added models and the measurement of teacher productivity


  • Sass, Tim R.
  • Semykina, Anastasia
  • Harris, Douglas N.


Research on teacher productivity, as well as recently developed accountability systems for teachers, relies on “value-added” models to estimate the impact of teachers on student performance. We consider six value-added models that encompass most commonly estimated specifications. We test many of the central assumptions required to derive each of the value-added models from an underlying structural cumulative achievement model and reject nearly all of them. While some of the six popular models produce similar estimates, other specifications yield estimates of teacher productivity and other key parameters that are considerably different.

Suggested Citation

  • Sass, Tim R. & Semykina, Anastasia & Harris, Douglas N., 2014. "Value-added models and the measurement of teacher productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 9-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:9-23 DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.10.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas S. Dee, 2004. "Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 195-210, February.
    2. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    3. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
    4. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
    5. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren & David P. Sims, 2010. "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 915-943.
    6. Cory Koedel & Julian R. Betts, 2011. "Does Student Sorting Invalidate Value-Added Models of Teacher Effectiveness? An Extended Analysis of the Rothstein Critique," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 18-42, January.
    7. Douglas Harris, 2007. "Diminishing Marginal Returns and the Production of Education: An International Analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 31-53.
    8. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
    9. Figlio, David N., 1999. "Functional form and the estimated effects of school resources," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 241-252, April.
    10. 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).
    11. J. R. Lockwood & Daniel F. McCaffrey, 2009. "Exploring Student-Teacher Interactions in Longitudinal Achievement Data," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-467, October.
    12. Andrew J. Houtenville & Karen Smith Conway, 2008. "Parental Effort, School Resources, and Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 437-453.
    13. Daniel F. McCaffrey & J. R. Lockwood & Kata Mihaly & Tim R. Sass, 2012. "A review of Stata commands for fixed-effects estimation in normal linear models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 12(3), pages 406-432, September.
    14. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 3-33, February.
    15. Bonesronning, Hans, 2004. "The determinants of parental effort in education production: do parents respond to changes in class size?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-9, February.
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    More about this item


    Teacher productivity; Value added;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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