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Is traditional teaching really all that bad? A within-student between-subject approach

  • Schwerdt, Guido
  • Wuppermann, Amelie C.

Recent studies conclude that teachers are important for student learning but it remains uncertain what actually determines effective teaching. This study directly peers into the black box of educational production by investigating the relationship between lecture style teaching and student achievement. Based on matched student-teacher data for the US, the estimation strategy exploits between-subject variation to control for unobserved student traits. Results indicate that traditional lecture style teaching is associated with significantly higher student achievement. No support for detrimental effects of lecture style teaching can be found even when evaluating possible selection biases due to unobservable teacher characteristics.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19919.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economics of Education Review 2 30(2011): pp. 365-379
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19919
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  1. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally, 2004. "The Literacy Hour," CEE Discussion Papers 0043, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
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  4. Banerjee, Abhijit & Cole, Shawn & Duflo, Esther & Linden, Leigh, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 5446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lisa Barrow & Lisa Markman & Cecilia E. Rouse, 2008. "Technology's Edge: The Educational Benefits of Computer-Aided Instruction," NBER Working Papers 14240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  8. 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.
  9. Aslam, Monazza & Kingdon, Geeta, 2011. "What can teachers do to raise pupil achievement?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 559-574, June.
  10. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 158-165, May.
  11. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
  12. Hans Bonesr�nning, 2004. "Do the teachers' grading practices affect student achievement?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 151-167.
  13. Schacter, John & Thum, Yeow Meng, 2004. "Paying for high- and low-quality teaching," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 411-430, August.
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