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Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment


  • Thomas S. Dee


Recommendations for the aggressive recruitment of minority teachers are based on hypothesized role-model effects for minority students as well as evidence of racial biases among non-minority teachers. However, prior empirical studies have found little or no association between exposure to an own-race teacher and student achievement. This paper presents new evidence on this question by evaluating the test score data from Tennessee's Project STAR class-size experiment, which randomly matched students and teachers within participating schools. Empirical results based on these data confirm that the racial pairings of students and teachers in this experiment were independently given. Models of student achievement indicate that a one-year assignment to an own-race teacher significantly increased the math and reading achievement of both black and white students by roughly three to four percentile points.

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  • Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8432
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    3. Krueger, Alan B & Whitmore, Diane M, 2001. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 1-28, January.
    4. Ballou, Dale, 2001. "Pay for performance in public and private schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-61, February.
    5. Thomas S. Dee & William N. Evans & Sheila E. Murray, 1999. "Data Watch: Research Data in the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 205-216, Summer.
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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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