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The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains

  • Brian A. Jacob
  • Lars Lefgren
  • David Sims

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14065.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14065.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Publication status: published as Jacob, Brian, Lefgren, Lars and David Sims. (2010). "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains." Journal of Human Resources 45(4): 915-943.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14065
Note: CH ED LS PE
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  1. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2005. "What Do Parents Value in Education? An Empirical Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers," NBER Working Papers 11494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F64-F98, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Thomas, D. & Currie, J., 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," Papers 694, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  5. 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.
  6. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2002. "Teachers and student achievement in the Chicago public high schools," Working Paper Series WP-02-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," Working Paper Series rwp09-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Hanushek, E.A.omson, W., 1996. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance : An Update," RCER Working Papers 424, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2004. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 226-244, February.
  10. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jesse Rothstein, 2007. "Do Value-Added Models Add Value? Tracking, Fixed Effects, and Causal Inference," Working Papers 1036, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  12. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," NBER Working Papers 9413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Tim R. Sass, 2006. "Charter Schools and Student Achievement in Florida," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-122, January.
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