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Are School Counselors a Cost-Effective Education Input?

  • Mark Hoekstra

While much is known about the effects of class size and teacher quality on achievement, there is little evidence on whether policymakers can improve education by utilizing non-instructional resources. We exploit plausibly exogenous within-school variation in counselors and find that one additional counselor increases boys’ reading and math achievement by over one percentile point, and reduces misbehavior of both boys and girls. Estimates imply the marginal counselor has the same impact on overall achievement as increasing the quality of every teacher in the school by nearly one-third of a standard deviation, and is twice as effective as reducing class size by hiring an additional teacher.

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Paper provided by University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 396.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision: Jan 2011
Handle: RePEc:pit:wpaper:396
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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  2. Koedel, Cory, 2008. "Teacher quality and dropout outcomes in a large, urban school district," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 560-572, November.
  3. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
  4. Kane, Thomas J. & Rockoff, Jonah E. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2008. "What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 615-631, December.
  5. Carrell Scott E & Carrell Susan A, 2006. "Do Lower Student to Counselor Ratios Reduce School Disciplinary Problems?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, April.
  6. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates Of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532, May.
  7. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2008. "Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 14415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Babcock, Philip & Betts, Julian R., 2009. "Reduced-class distinctions: Effort, ability, and the education production function," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 314-322, May.
  9. Buddin, Richard & Zamarro, Gema, 2009. "Teacher qualifications and student achievement in urban elementary schools," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 103-115, September.
  10. Urquiola, Miguel, 2001. "Identifying class size effects in developing countries : evidence from rural schools in Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2711, The World Bank.
  11. repec:ucn:oapubs:10197/4445 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Scott E. Carrell & Mark L. Hoekstra, 2008. "Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids," NBER Working Papers 14246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & EJohn F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2004. "Why Public Schools Lose Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  14. Jepsen, Christopher, 2005. "Teacher characteristics and student achievement: evidence from teacher surveys," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 302-319, March.
  15. Anna Aizer, 2008. "Peer Effects and Human Capital Accumulation: the Externalities of ADD," NBER Working Papers 14354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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