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Teacher Effectiveness in Urban High Schools

  • Richard Buddin


  • Gema Zamarro


This research examines whether teacher licensure test scores and other teacher qualifications affect high school student achievement. The results are based on longitudinal student-level data from Los Angeles. The achievement analysis uses a value-added approach that adjusts for both student and teacher fixed effects. The results show little relationship between traditional measures of teacher quality (e.g., experience and education level) and student achievement in English Language Arts (ELA) or math. Similarly, teacher aptitude and subject-matter knowledge, as measured on state licensure tests, have no significant effects on student achievement. Achievement outcomes differ substantially from teacher to teacher, however, and the effects of a good ELA or math teacher spillover from one subject to the other.

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Paper provided by RAND Corporation in its series Working Papers with number 693.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:693
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  1. 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.
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  4. Francis Kramarz & Stephen Machin & Amine Ouazad, 2009. "What Makes a Test Score? The Respective Contributions of Pupils, Schools and Peers in Achievement in English Primary Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0102, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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  7. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  8. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob, 2007. "Is Gaining Access to Selective Elementary Schools Gaining Ground? Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Chapters, in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 43-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
  11. 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.
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  16. Amine Ouazad, 2008. "Assessed by a teacher like me: race, gender and subjective evaluations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28276, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  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. "A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 158-165, May.
  20. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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  22. Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  23. Richard Buddin & Gema Zamarro, 2009. "Teacher Qualifications and Middle School Student Achievement," Working Papers 671, RAND Corporation.
  24. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
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