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Do First Impressions Matter? Improvement in Early Career Teacher Effectiveness

  • Allison Atteberry
  • Susanna Loeb
  • James Wyckoff

Educational policymakers struggle to find ways to improve the quality of the teacher workforce. The early career period represents a unique opportunity to identify struggling teachers, examine the likelihood of future improvement, and make strategic pre-tenure investments in improvement as well as dismissals to increase teaching quality. To date, only a little is known about the dynamics of teacher performance in the first five years. This paper asks how much teachers vary in performance improvement during their first five years of teaching and to what extent initial job performance predicts later performance. We find that, on average, initial performance is quite predictive of future performance, far more so than typically measured teacher characteristics. Predictions are particularly powerful at the extremes. We employ these predictions to explore the likelihood of personnel actions that inappropriately distinguish performance when such predictions are mistaken as well as the much less discussed costs of failure to distinguish performance when meaningful differences exist. The results have important consequences for improving the quality of the teacher workforce.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19096.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19096.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19096
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  7. 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," NBER Working Papers 14021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Harris, Douglas N. & Sass, Tim R., 2011. "Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 798-812.
  9. Don Boyd & Hamp Lankford & Susanna Loeb & Matthew Ronfeldt & Jim Wyckoff, 2011. "The role of teacher quality in retention and hiring: Using applications to transfer to uncover preferences of teachers and schools," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 88-110, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
  12. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin & Daniel M. O'Brien, 2005. "The Market for Teacher Quality," Discussion Papers 04-025, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  13. Cory Koedel & Julian R. Betts, 2011. "Does Student Sorting Invalidate Value-Added Models of Teacher Effectiveness? An Extended Analysis of the Rothstein Critique," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 18-42, January.
  14. Eric S. Taylor & John H. Tyler, 2011. "The Effect of Evaluation on Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Student Achievement Data of Mid-career Teachers," NBER Working Papers 16877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Dan Goldhaber & Betheny Gross & Daniel Player, 2011. "Teacher career paths, teacher quality, and persistence in the classroom: Are public schools keeping their best?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 57-87, December.
  16. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Ladd, Helen F. & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2007. "Teacher credentials and student achievement: Longitudinal analysis with student fixed effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 673-682, December.
  17. Eric Hanushek & Steven Rivkin, 2010. "Constrained Job Matching: Does Teacher Job Search Harm Disadvantaged Urban Schools?," Discussion Papers 09-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  18. 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.
  19. Daniel F. McCaffrey & Tim R. Sass & J. R. Lockwood & Kata Mihaly, 2009. "The Intertemporal Variability of Teacher Effect Estimates," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 572-606, October.
  20. Thomas J. Kane & Jonah E. Rockoff & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," NBER Working Papers 12155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Thomas J. Kane & Eric S. Taylor & John H. Tyler & Amy L. Wooten, 2011. "Identifying Effective Classroom Practices Using Student Achievement Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 587-613.
  22. Pam Grossman & Susanna Loeb & Julia Cohen & Karen Hammerness & James Wyckoff & Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford, 2010. "Measure for Measure: The relationship between measures of instructional practice in middle school English Language Arts and teachers' value-added scores," NBER Working Papers 16015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 17699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Cory Koedel & Julian Betts, 2007. "Re-Examining the Role of Teacher Quality In the Educational Production Function," Working Papers 0708, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
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