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How Important are School Principals in the Production of Student Achievement?

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Listed:
  • Dhuey, Elizabeth
  • Smith, Justin

Abstract

As school leaders, principals can influence student achievement in a number of ways, such as: hiring and firing teachers, monitoring instruction, and maintaining student discipline, among others. We measure the effect of individual principals on gains in student math and reading achievement between grades four and seven. We estimate that a one standard deviation improvement in principal quality can boost student performance by approximately 0.2 standard deviations in both math and reading. We also show that principal experience does not exert a significant influence on student performance. Our results imply that isolating the most effective principals and allocating them accordingly between schools can have a significant positive effect on reducing achievement gaps.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhuey, Elizabeth & Smith, Justin, 2011. "How Important are School Principals in the Production of Student Achievement?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-33, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 23 Dec 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2011-33
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    File URL: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/workingpapers/CLSRN%20Working%20Paper%20no.%2090%20-%20Dhuey%20and%20Smith.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    2. DeCicca, Philip & Smith, Justin, 2013. "The long-run impacts of early childhood education: Evidence from a failed policy experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 41-59.
    3. Sass, Tim R. & Semykina, Anastasia & Harris, Douglas N., 2014. "Value-added models and the measurement of teacher productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 9-23.
    4. 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.
    5. 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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    7. Coelli, Michael B. & Green, David A. & Warburton, William P., 2007. "Breaking the cycle? The effect of education on welfare receipt among children of welfare recipients," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1369-1398, August.
    8. Brian A. Jacob, 2010. "Do Principals Fire the Worst Teachers?," NBER Working Papers 15715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kata Mihaly & Daniel F. McCaffrey & J. R. Lockwood & Tim R. Sass, 2010. "Centering and reference groups for estimates of fixed effects: Modifications to felsdvreg," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(1), pages 82-103, March.
    10. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2005. "Principals as Agents: Subjective Performance Measurement in Education," NBER Working Papers 11463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ballou, Dale & Podgursky, Michael, 1995. "What makes a good principal? How teachers assess the performance of principals," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 243-252, September.
    12. Coelli, Michael & Green, David A., 2012. "Leadership effects: school principals and student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 92-109.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:empeco:v:54:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00181-017-1259-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:mpr:mprres:7454 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nicholas Bloom & Renata Lemos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2015. "Does Management Matter in schools?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(584), pages 647-674, May.
    4. Stephen Lipscomb & Hanley Chiang & Brian Gill, "undated". "Value-Added Estimates for Phase 1 of the Pennsylvania Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot," Mathematica Policy Research Reports dacd1fdea4354222868fb2fef, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Mike Helal & Michael Coelli, 2016. "How Principals Affect Schools," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n18, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    6. repec:mpr:mprres:7445 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Moira McCullough & Stephen Lipscomb & Hanley Chiang & Brian Gill, "undated". "Do Principals' Professional Practice Ratings Reflect Their Contributions to Student Achievement? Evidence from Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 23864abe140c4b658d1ba88d4, Mathematica Policy Research.
    8. Hanley Chiang & Stephen Lipscomb & Brian Gill, 2016. "Is School Value Added Indicative of Principal Quality?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 283-309, Summer.
    9. repec:mpr:mprres:7587 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:soceps:v:61:y:2018:i:c:p:52-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Elizabeth Dhuey & Justin Smith, 2018. "How school principals influence student learning," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 851-882, March.
    12. Cory Koedel & Jason A. Grissom & Shawn Ni & Michael Podgursky, 2011. "Pension-Induced Rigidities in the Labor Market for School Leaders," Working Papers 1115, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    13. Stephen Lipscomb & Hanley Chiang & Brian Gill, 2012. "Value-Added Estimates for Phase 1 of the Pennsylvania Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 88151979a8a6469582f1bce32, Mathematica Policy Research.
    14. Jason A. Grissom & Demetra Kalogrides & Susanna Loeb, 2012. "Using Student Test Scores to Measure Principal Performance," NBER Working Papers 18568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Goux, Dominique & Gurgand, Marc & Maurin, Eric, 2014. "Adjusting Your Dreams? The Effect of School and Peers on Dropout Behaviour," IZA Discussion Papers 7948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Elias Walsh & Dallas Dotter, 2014. "The Impact of Replacing Principals on Student Achievement in DC Public Schools," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c84ecd86d13e4c82922c246d4, Mathematica Policy Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of education; principals; education;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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