Teacher Quality at the High-School Level: The Importance of Accounting for Tracks

41 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2012 Last revised: 9 Jan 2012

Date Written: January 2012

Abstract

Unlike in elementary school, high-school teacher effects may be confounded with both selection to tracks and unobserved track-level treatments. I document sizable confounding track effects, and show that traditional tests for the existence of teacher effects are likely biased. After accounting for these biases, high-school algebra and English teachers have much smaller test-score effects than found in previous studies. Moreover, unlike in elementary school, value-added estimates are weak predictors of teachers' future performance. Results indicate that either (a) teachers are less influential in high school than in elementary school, or (b) test scores are a poor metric to measure teacher quality at the high-school level.

Suggested Citation

Kirabo Jackson, C., Teacher Quality at the High-School Level: The Importance of Accounting for Tracks (January 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w17722. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1980572

C. Kirabo Jackson (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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