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