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The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains

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  • Brian A. Jacob
  • Lars Lefgren
  • David Sims

Abstract

Educational interventions are often narrowly targeted and temporary, and evaluations often focus on the short-run impacts of the intervention. Insofar as the positive effects of educational interventions fadeout over time, however, such assessments may be misleading. In this paper, we develop a simple statistical framework to empirically assess the persistence of treatment effects in education. To begin, we present a simple model of student learning that incorporates permanent as well as transitory learning gains. Using this model, we demonstrate how the parameter of interest - the persistence of a particular measurable education input - can be recovered via instrumental variables as a particular local average treatment effect. We initially motivate this strategy in the context of teacher quality, but then generalize the model to consider educational interventions more generally. Using administrative data that links students and teachers, we construct measures of teacher effectiveness and then estimate the persistence of these teacher value-added measures on student test scores. We find that teacher-induced gains in math and reading achievement quickly erode. In most cases, our point estimates suggest a one-year persistence of about one-fifth and rule out a one-year persistence rate higher than one-third.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren & David Sims, 2008. "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains," NBER Working Papers 14065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14065
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
    2. Kathryn Yount & John Maluccio & Jere Behrman & John Hoddinott & Alexis Murphy & Usha Ramakrishnan, 2013. "Parental Resources, Schooling Achievements, and Gender Schooling Gaps: Evidence of Change over 25 years in Rural Guatemala," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(4), pages 495-528, August.
    3. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
    4. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39-77.
    5. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    6. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2010. "Constrained Job Matching: Does Teacher Job Search Harm Disadvantaged Urban Schools?," NBER Working Papers 15816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
    9. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, June.
    10. Mariesa A. Herrmann & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "Worker Absence and Productivity: Evidence from Teaching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 749-782.
    11. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "Harming the best: How schools affect the black-white achievement gap," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 366-393.
    12. Cory Koedel & Rachana Bhatt, 2011. "Large-Scale Evaluations of Curricular Effectiveness: The Case of Elementary Mathematics in Indiana," Working Papers 1122, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 31 Jan 2012.
    13. Cory Koedel & Teerachat Techapaisarnjaroenkit, 2012. "The Relative Performance of Head Start," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 251-275.
    14. Murguia Baysse, Juan Manuel, 2013. "Essays on agricultural, financial economics and education," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004458, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    15. Steven G. Rivkin & Jeffrey C. Schiman, 2015. "Instruction Time, Classroom Quality, and Academic Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(588), pages 425-448, November.
    16. Thomas J. Kane & Eric S. Taylor & John H. Tyler & Amy L. Wooten, 2010. "Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data," NBER Working Papers 15803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Victor Lavy, 2016. "Editor's Choice What Makes an Effective Teacher? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(1), pages 88-125.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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