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Teacher heterogeneity, value-added and education policy

  • Condie, Scott
  • Lefgren, Lars
  • Sims, David
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    This study examines the theoretical and practical implications of ranking teachers with a one-dimensional value-added metric when teacher effectiveness varies across subjects or student types. We create a theoretical framework which suggests specific tests of the standard teacher input homogeneity assumption. Using North Carolina data we show that value-added fails to empirically meet these tests and document that this leads to a large number of teacher misrankings. Thus, critics of potential value-added teacher personnel policies are correct that such policies will terminate many of the wrong teachers. However, we derive the conditions under which such policies will improve student test scores and find that they will almost certainly be met. We then demonstrate that value-added information can also be used to improve student test scores by matching teachers to students or subjects according to their comparative advantage. These matching gains likely exceed those of a feasible, value-added based firing policy.

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

    Volume (Year): 40 (2014)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 76-92

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:40:y:2014:i:c:p:76-92
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    1. Sean F. Reardon & Stephen W. Raudenbush, 2009. "Assumptions of Value-Added Models for Estimating School Effects," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 492-519, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2002. "Teachers and student achievement in the Chicago public high schools," Working Paper Series WP-02-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2013. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Importance of Endogenous Peer Group Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 855-882, 05.
    5. Cory Koedel & Julian Betts, 2007. "Re-Examining the Role of Teacher Quality In the Educational Production Function," Working Papers 0708, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    6. 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.
    7. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "How and Why do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 12828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Christopher Jepsen & Steven Rivkin, 2009. "Class Size Reduction and Student Achievement: The Potential Tradeoff between Teacher Quality and Class Size," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
    10. 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 F3-F33, February.
    11. Douglas N. Harris, 2009. "Would Accountability Based on Teacher Value Added Be Smart Policy? An Examination of the Statistical Properties and Policy Alternatives," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 319-350, October.
    12. Guarino, Cassandra & Reckase, Mark D. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2012. "Can Value-Added Measures of Teacher Performance Be Trusted?," IZA Discussion Papers 6602, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. 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.
    14. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
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