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Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment

  • Thomas S. Dee

    (Swarthmore College and NBER)

Recommendations for the aggressive recruitment of minority teachers are based on hypothesized role-model effects for minority students as well as evidence of racial biases among nonminority teachers. However, prior empirical studies have found little or no association between exposure to an own-race teacher and student achievement. This paper presents new evidence on this question by examining the test score data from Tennessee's Project STAR class-size experiment, which randomly matched students and teachers within participating schools. Specification checks confirm that the racial pairings of students and teachers in this experiment were unrelated to other student traits. Models of student achievement indicate that assignment to an own-race teacher significantly increased the math and reading achievement of both black and white students. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/003465304323023750
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 86 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 195-210

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:86:y:2004:i:1:p:195-210
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  1. Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," NBER Working Papers 6051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Thomas S. Dee & William N. Evans & Sheila E. Murray, 1999. "Data Watch: Research Data in the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 205-216, Summer.
  4. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 1999. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Working Papers 806, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Ballou, Dale, 2001. "Pay for performance in public and private schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-61, February.
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