The Effect of Teacher Gender on Student Achievement in Primary School: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment
Claremont Colleges - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics
Claremont McKenna College; Claremont McKenna College
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6453
This paper attempts to reconcile the contradictory results found in the economics literature and the educational psychology literature with respect to the academic impact of gender dynamics in the classroom. Specifically, using data from a randomized experiment, we look at the effects of having a female teacher on the math test scores of students in primary school. We find that female students who were assigned to a female teacher without a strong math background suffered from lower math test scores at the end of the academic year. This negative effect however not only seems to disappear but it becomes (marginally) positive for female students who were assigned to a female teacher with a strong math background. Finally, we do not find any effect of having a female teacher on male students' test scores (math or reading) or female students' reading test scores. Taken together, our results tentatively suggest that the findings in these two streams of the literature are in fact consistent if one takes into account a teacher's academic background in math.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: teacher gender, student achievement, random assignment
JEL Classification: I21, J24
Date posted: April 14, 2012
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