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What can Teachers do to Raise Pupil Achievement?

  • Monazza Aslam
  • Geeta Kingdon

Improving weak teaching may be one of the most effective means of raising pupil achievement. However, teachers` classroom practices and the teaching `process` may matter more to student learning than teachers` observed resume characteristics (such as certification and experience). There may also be important differences in teacher characteristics across government and private schools which may help explain the large documented public-private achievement differences often found in studies. This paper delves into the black-box representing `teaching` to uncover the teacher characteristics and teaching practices that matter most to pupil achievement. This is done using unique, school-base data, collected in 2002-2003 from government and private schools from one district in Punjab province in Pakistan. The data allow exploitation of an identification strategy that permits the matching of students` test scores in language and mathematics to the characteristics of teachers that teach those subjects. Within pupil (across subject rather than across time) variation is used to examine whether the characteristics of different subject teachers are related to a students` mark across subjects. The data is also unique in asking all subject teachers questions pertaining to their teaching practices and these, often unobserved, `process` variables are included in achievement function estimates. Our pupil fixed-effects findings reveal that the standard resume characteristics of teachers do not significantly matter to pupil achievement. Perversely, however, teachers are found to be rewarded for possessing these characteristics highlighting the highly inefficient nature of teacher pay schedules. Our findings also show that teaching `process` variables matter significantly to student achievement. There are important differences across school-types.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2007-14.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2007-14
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  1. Das, Jishnu & Pandey, Priyanka & Zajonc, Tristan, 2006. "Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4067, The World Bank.
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  5. Holmlund, Helena & Sund, Krister, 2008. "Is the gender gap in school performance affected by the sex of the teacher," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 37-53, February.
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  8. Geeta G. Kingdon & Francis Teal, 2002. "Does performance related pay for teachers improve student performance? Some evidence from India," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  9. Monazza Aslam, 2006. "Rates of Return to Education by Gender in Pakistan," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-064, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Kingdon, Geeta & Teal, Francis, 2010. "Teacher unions, teacher pay and student performance in India: A pupil fixed effects approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 278-288, March.
  12. 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.
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  16. Maresa, SPRIETSMA & Fabio, WALTENBERG, 2005. "The impact of teachers’ wages on students’ performance in the presence of heterogeneity and endogeneity. Evidence from Brazil," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005008, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  17. Boissiere, M & Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1985. "Earnings, Schooling, Ability, and Cognitive Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1016-30, December.
  18. 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.
  19. Thomas S. Dee, 2005. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Monazza Aslam, 2009. "The relative effectiveness of government and private schools in Pakistan: are girls worse off?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 329-354.
  21. Monazza Aslam, 2006. "The Quality of School Provision in Pakistan: Are Girls Worse Off?," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-066, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  22. Shahrukh Rafi Khan, 2002. "Rationality in Public Sector Salary Scales: The Case of Rural Teachers in Pakistan," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 333-345.
  23. 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.
  24. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Daniel M. O'Brien & Steven G. Rivkin, 2005. "The Market for Teacher Quality," NBER Working Papers 11154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2006. "Teacher characteristics and student performance in India: A pupil fixed effects approach," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-059, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  26. Hanushek, Eric A. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2006. "Teacher Quality," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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