The Dynamics of Teacher Quality

73 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2011

See all articles by Matthew Wiswall

Matthew Wiswall

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 1, 2011


An extensive literature finds that, while teachers vary considerably in initial quality, there are limited teacher quality dynamics: except for the first few years of teaching, teacher quality does not improve over the course of a teacher’s career. This study evaluates the importance of various modeling restrictions to the key findings of this literature. Using data covering all 5th grade public school teachers from the state of North Carolina, I replicate the findings of the previous literature using their restrictive experience assumptions. However, using an unrestricted experience model I find that for mathematics achievement there are high returns to later career teaching experience, about twice as much dispersion in initial teacher quality as previously estimated, and a pattern of negative selection where high quality teachers are more likely to exit.

Keywords: teacher quality, teacher value added, returns to experience, linear models, fixed effect models

JEL Classification: I21, J24, J45, C23

Suggested Citation

Wiswall, Matthew, The Dynamics of Teacher Quality (January 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Matthew Wiswall (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

William H. Sewell Social Science Building
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics