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Teacher Content Knowledge in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Math Assessment in El Salvador

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  • Aymo Brunetti
  • Konstantin Büchel
  • Martina Jakob
  • Ben Jann
  • Christoph Kühnhanss
  • Daniel Steffen

Abstract

Education is one of the key resources in the fight against poverty. While substantial progress has been made in terms of school enrollment, evidence suggests that educational quality is still alarmingly low in many developing countries. Various explanations have been suggested, but one very obvious factor in the educational production function has received surprisingly little attention: the content knowledge of teachers. For this study, we administered an exam-type assessment to a representative sample of 224 primary school teachers in Morazán, El Salvador. The average teacher scored 47% correct answers on 50 questions covering the official math curriculum for second to sixth graders. Overall, our results point to an even more worrying situation than suggested by previous findings based on indirect measures of content-related teacher skills in several African countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Aymo Brunetti & Konstantin Büchel & Martina Jakob & Ben Jann & Christoph Kühnhanss & Daniel Steffen, 2020. "Teacher Content Knowledge in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Math Assessment in El Salvador," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 34, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:bss:wpaper:34
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    1. Aymo Brunetti & Konstantin Büchel & Martina Jakob & Ben Jann & Daniel Steffen, 2021. "Inadequate Teacher Content Knowledge and What to Do About It: Evidence from El Salvador," Diskussionsschriften dp2114, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    2. Konstantin Büchel & Martina Jakob & Christoph Kühnhanss & Daniel Steffen & Aymo Brunetti, 2020. "The Relative Effectiveness of Teachers and Learning Software: Evidence from a Field Experiment in El Salvador," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 36, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences.
    3. Konstantin Buechel & Martina Jakob & Daniel Steffen & Christoph Kuehnhanss & Aymo Brunetti, 2020. "The Relative Effectiveness of Teachers and Learning Software: Evidence from a Field Experiment in El Salvador," Diskussionsschriften dp2006, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    teacher content knowledge; quality of education; primary education; El Salvador;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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