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Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher When You Recruit One?

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Listed:
  • Jonah E. Rockoff
  • Brian A. Jacob
  • Thomas J. Kane
  • Douglas O. Staiger

Abstract

Research on the relationship between teachers' characteristics and teacher effectiveness has been underway for over a century, yet little progress has been made in linking teacher quality with factors observable at the time of hire. However, most research has examined a relatively small set of characteristics that are collected by school administrators in order to satisfy legal requirements and set salaries. To extend this literature, we administered an in-depth survey to new math teachers in New York City and collected information on a number of non-traditional predictors of effectiveness including teaching specific content knowledge, cognitive ability, personality traits, feelings of self-efficacy, and scores on a commercially available teacher selection instrument. Individually, we find that only a few of these predictors have statistically significant relationships with student and teacher outcomes. However, when all of these variables are combined into two primary factors summarizing cognitive and non-cognitive teacher skills, we find that both factors have a modest and statistically significant relationship with student and teacher outcomes, particularly with student test scores. These results suggest that, while there may be no single factor that can predict success in teaching, using a broad set of measures can help schools improve the quality of their teachers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonah E. Rockoff & Brian A. Jacob & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher When You Recruit One?," NBER Working Papers 14485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14485
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "How and Why do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 12828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2008. "Does Mentoring Reduce Turnover and Improve Skills of New Employees? Evidence from Teachers in New York City," NBER Working Papers 13868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Paul T. Decker & Daniel P. Mayer & Steven Glazerman, "undated". "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c8b5eb6d499c465c86a96bee4, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Dan D. Goldhaber & Dominic J. Brewer, 1997. "Why Don't Schools and Teachers Seem to Matter? Assessing the Impact of Unobservables on Educational Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 505-523.
    6. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    7. Donald Boyd & Pamela Grossman & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2006. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 176-216, April.
    8. Hal Hill & Budy P. Resosudarmo, 2012. "Introduction," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(2), pages 129-142, August.
    9. Douglas Harris & Tim R. Sass, 2006. "The Effects of Teacher Training on Teacher Value Added," Working Papers wp_2006_03_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    10. 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.
    11. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & Jonah Rockoff & James Wyckoff, 2008. "The narrowing gap in New York City teacher qualifications and its implications for student achievement in high-poverty schools," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 793-818.
    12. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2008. "The Impact of Assessment and Accountability on Teacher Recruitment and Retention," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(1), pages 88-111, January.
    13. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2006. "Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(4).
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    15. 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).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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