IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does the Precision and Stability of Value-Added Estimates of Teacher Performance Depend on the Types of Students They Serve?


  • Stacy, Brian

    () (Michigan State University)

  • Guarino, Cassandra M.

    () (University of California, Riverside)

  • Reckase, Mark D.

    () (Michigan State University)

  • Wooldridge, Jeffrey M.

    () (Michigan State University)


This paper investigates how the precision and stability of a teacher's value-added estimate relates to the characteristics of the teacher's students. Using a large administrative data set and a variety of teacher value-added estimators, it finds that the stability over time of teacher value-added estimates can depend on the previous achievement level of a teacher's students. The differences are large in magnitude and statistically significant. The year-to-year stability level of teacher value-added estimates are typically 25% to more than 50% larger for teachers serving initially higher performing students compared to teachers with initially lower performing students. In addition, some differences are detected even when the number of student observations is artificially set to the same level and the data are pooled across two years to compute teacher value-added. Finally, the paper offers a policy simulation which demonstrates that teachers who face students with certain characteristics may be differentially likely to be the recipient of sanctions in a high stakes policy based on value-added estimates and more likely to see their estimates vary from year-to-year due to low stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Stacy, Brian & Guarino, Cassandra M. & Reckase, Mark D. & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2013. "Does the Precision and Stability of Value-Added Estimates of Teacher Performance Depend on the Types of Students They Serve?," IZA Discussion Papers 7676, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7676

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
    2. Daniel F. McCaffrey & Tim R. Sass & J. R. Lockwood & Kata Mihaly, 2009. "The Intertemporal Variability of Teacher Effect Estimates," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 572-606, October.
    3. Sass, Tim R. & Semykina, Anastasia & Harris, Douglas N., 2014. "Value-added models and the measurement of teacher productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 9-23.
    4. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, July.
    5. Cassandra M. Guarino & Mark D. Reckase & Jeffrey M. Woolrdige, 2014. "Can Value-Added Measures of Teacher Performance Be Trusted?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(1), pages 117-156, November.
    6. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2008. "Can Principals Identify Effective Teachers? Evidence on Subjective Performance Evaluation in Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 101-136.
    7. 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.
    8. Daniel F. McCaffrey & J. R. Lockwood & Daniel Koretz & Thomas A. Louis & Laura Hamilton, 2004. "Models for Value-Added Modeling of Teacher Effects," Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, , vol. 29(1), pages 67-101, March.
    9. Cory Koedel & Julian Betts, 2007. "Re-Examining the Role of Teacher Quality In the Educational Production Function," Working Papers 0708, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    10. Dale Ballou & William Sanders & Paul Wright, 2004. "Controlling for Student Background in Value-Added Assessment of Teachers," Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, , vol. 29(1), pages 37-65, March.
    11. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 17699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cory Koedel & Jiaxi Li, 2016. "The Efficiency Implications Of Using Proportional Evaluations To Shape The Teaching Workforce," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 47-62, January.
    2. Mariesa Herrmann & Elias Walsh & Eric Isenberg & Alexandra Resch, 2013. "Shrinkage of Value-Added Estimates and Characteristics of Students with Hard-to-Predict Achievement Levels," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2b140369be0242ac83eeb5b0a, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. repec:mpr:mprres:7817 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:mpr:mprres:7748 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Elias Walsh & Stephen Lipscomb, 2013. "Classroom Observations from Phase 2 of the Pennsylvania Teacher Evaluation Pilot: Assessing Internal Consistency, Score Variation, and Relationships with Value Added," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a6b29a4a217f42a09d5206cfe, Mathematica Policy Research.

    More about this item


    teacher quality; teacher labor markets; value-added; education; teacher performance;

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7676. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.