One Size Fits All? The Effects of Teacher Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities on Student Achievement

43 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2008 Last revised: 24 Jun 2010

See all articles by Erik Gronqvist

Erik Gronqvist

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Jonas Vlachos

Stockholm University - Department of Economics; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

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Date Written: December 2, 2008

Abstract

We document a substantial decline in the position of entering teachers in population-wide cognitive and non-cognitive ability distributions, as well as the upper-secondary school grade (GPA) distribution. Next, we estimate the causal impact on student achievement using matched student-teacher data. On average, a teacher’s position in these ability distributions has a negligible impact on student achievement but this hides important heterogeneities. An increase in teacher cognitive abilities tends to increase the achievement gap between high and low aptitude students, while an increase in non-cognitive ability tends to reduce it. We find strong positive effects by the position of male teachers in the GPA distribution, uniform across students, but no such effects are found for female teachers. These heterogeneities highlight the potential for gender specific selection processes into teaching, and the importance of student-teacher matching.

Keywords: Cognitive and non-cognitive ability, Teacher quality, Student achievement

JEL Classification: I21, H4, J4

Suggested Citation

Gronqvist, Erik and Vlachos, Jonas, One Size Fits All? The Effects of Teacher Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities on Student Achievement (December 2, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1311222 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1311222

Erik Gronqvist

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation ( email )

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

Jonas Vlachos (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Department of Economics ( email )

Stockholm, 10691
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

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