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The Market for Teacher Quality

  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • John F. Kain
  • Daniel M. O'Brien
  • Steven G. Rivkin

Much of education policy focuses on improving teacher quality, but most policies lack strong research support. We use student achievement gains to estimate teacher value-added, our measure of teacher quality. The analysis reveals substantial variation in the quality of instruction, most of which occurs within rather than between schools. Although teacher quality appears to be unrelated to advanced degrees or certification, experience does matter -- but only in the first year of teaching. We also find that good teachers tend to be effective with all student ability levels but that there is a positive value of matching students and teachers by race. In the second part of the analysis, we show that teachers staying in our sample of urban schools tend to be as good as or better than those who exit. Thus, the main cost of large turnover is the introduction of more first year teachers. Finally, there is little or no evidence that districts that offer higher salaries and have better working conditions attract the higher quality teachers among those who depart the central city district. The overall results have a variety of direct policy implications for the design of school accountability and the compensation of teachers.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11154.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11154.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11154
Note: PE ED
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  1. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Brewer, Dominic J., 1995. "Did teachers' verbal ability and race matter in the 1960s? Coleman revisited," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-21, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Podgursky, Michael & Monroe, Ryan & Watson, Donald, 2004. "The academic quality of public school teachers: an analysis of entry and exit behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 507-518, October.
  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. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2001. "Improving School Accountability Measures," NBER Working Papers 8156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tobias J.L., 2004. "Assessing Assessments of School Performance: The Case of California," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 58, pages 55-63, February.
  7. Hanushek, Eric, 1971. "Teacher Characteristics and Gains in Student Achievement: Estimation Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 280-88, May.
  8. Richard J. Murnane Barbara R. Phillips, 1981. "What Do Effective Teachers of Inner-City Children have in Common?," Mathematica Policy Research Reports b0614b2fa4ae4eae82cec19fb, Mathematica Policy Research.
  9. Thomas S. Dee, 2004. "Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 195-210, February.
  10. Ballou, Dale, 1996. "Do Public Schools Hire the Best Applicants?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 97-133, February.
  11. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "Inferring Program Effects for Special Populations: Does Special Education Raise Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 584-599, November.
  12. 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.
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