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Estimating Teacher Effectiveness From Two-Year Changes in Students’ Test Scores

  • Andrew Leigh

Using a dataset covering over 10,000 Australian primary school teachers and over 90,000 pupils, I estimate how effective teachers are in raising students’ test scores from one exam to the next. Since the exams are conducted only every two years, it is necessary to take account of the teacher’s work in the intervening year. Even after adjusting for measurement error, the resulting teacher fixed effects are widely dispersed across teachers, and there is a strong positive correlation between a teacher’s gains in literacy and numeracy. Teacher fixed effects show a significant association with some, though not all, observable teacher characteristics. Experience has the strongest effect, with a large effect in the early years of a teacher’s career. Female teachers do better at teaching literacy. Teachers with a master’s degree or some other form of further qualification do not appear to achieve significantly larger test score gains. Overall, teacher characteristics found in the departmental payroll database can explain only a small fraction of the variance in teacher performance.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP619.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 619.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:619
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  1. 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.
  2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
  3. Andrew Leigh & Chris Ryan, 2006. "How and Why has Teacher Quality Changed in Australia?," CEPR Discussion Papers 534, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  7. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  8. Steve Bradley & Mirko Draca & Colin Green & Gareth Leeves, 2007. "The magnitude of educational disadvantage of indigenous minority groups in Australia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 547-569, July.
  9. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2002. "Improving educational quality: how best to evaluate our schools," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 193-247.
  11. Leigh, Andrew, 2012. "Teacher pay and teacher aptitude," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 41-53.
  12. Austin Nichols, 2008. "FESE: Stata module to calculate standard errors for fixed effects," Statistical Software Components S456914, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 05 Sep 2008.
  13. 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.
  14. Thomas Cornelissen, 2008. "The Stata command felsdvreg to fit a linear model with two high-dimensional fixed effects," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(2), pages 170-189, June.
  15. Andrew Leigh & Xiaodong Gong, 2009. "Estimating cognitive gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 239-261.
  16. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
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