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Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement

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

Abstract

We study the effects of various types of education and training on the productivity of teachers in promoting student achievement. Previous studies on the subject have been hampered by inadequate measures of teacher training and difficulties in addressing the non-random selection of teachers to students and of teachers to training. We address these issues by estimating models that include detailed measures of pre-service and in-service training, a rich set of time-varying covariates, and student, teacher, and school fixed effects. We find that elementary and middle school teacher productivity increases with experience (informal on-the-job training). The largest gains from experience occur in the first few years, but we find continuing gains beyond the first five years of a teacher's career. In contrast, we do not find a consistent relationship between formal professional development training and teacher productivity. However, this may be partly driven by estimation issues as we find more significant positive effects of formal training in the subject-grade combination where estimates should be most precise (middle school math). There is no evidence that teachers' pre-service (undergraduate) training or college entrance exam scores are related to productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Harris, Douglas N. & Sass, Tim R., 2011. "Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 798-812.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:798-812
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.11.009
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