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The role of teacher quality in retention and hiring: Using applications to transfer to uncover preferences of teachers and schools

  • Don Boyd
  • Hamp Lankford
  • Susanna Loeb
  • Matthew Ronfeldt
  • Jim Wyckoff

Many large urban school districts are rethinking their personnel management strategies, often giving increased control to schools in the hiring of teachers, reducing, for example, the importance of seniority. If school hiring authorities are able to make good decisions about whom to hire, these reforms have the potential to benefit schools and students. Prior research on teacher transfers uses career history data, identifying the school in which a teacher teaches in each year. When this data is used to see which teachers transfer, it is unclear the extent to which the patterns are driven by teacher preferences or school preferences, since the matching of teachers to schools is a two-sided choice. This study uses applications-to-transfer data to examine separately which teachers apply for transfer and which get hired and, in so doing, differentiates teacher from school preferences. Holding all else equal, we find that teachers with better pre-service qualifications (certification exam scores; college competitiveness) are more likely to apply for transfer, while teachers whose students demonstrate higher achievement growth are less likely. On the other hand, schools prefer to hire "higher quality" teachers across measures that signal quality. The results suggest not only that more effective teachers prefer to stay in their school, but that when given the opportunity schools are able to identify and hire the best candidates.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
Pages: 88-110

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:30:y:2011:i:1:p:88-110
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
  2. Donald Boyd & Pamela Grossman & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2006. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 176-216, April.
  3. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2005. "Explaining the Short Careers of High-Achieving Teachers in Schools with Low-Performing Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 166-171, May.
  4. Pam Grossman & Susanna Loeb & Julia Cohen & Karen Hammerness & James Wyckoff & Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford, 2010. "Measure for Measure: The relationship between measures of instructional practice in middle school English Language Arts and teachers' value-added scores," NBER Working Papers 16015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Why Public Schools Lose Teachers," NBER Working Papers 8599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Benjamin Scafidi & David L. Sjoquist & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2005. "Race, Poverty, and Teacher Mobility," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20053, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  8. Li Feng, 2009. "Opportunity Wages, Classroom Characteristics, and Teacher Mobility," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1165-1190, April.
  9. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2003. "Analyzing the Determinants of the Matching Public School Teachers to Jobs: Estimating Compensating Differentials in Imperfect Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 9878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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