The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood

94 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2012 Last revised: 10 Jan 2012

See all articles by Raj Chetty

Raj Chetty

Harvard University

John N. Friedman

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jonah E. Rockoff

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

Are teachers' impacts on students' test scores ("value-added") a good measure of their quality? This question has sparked debate largely because of disagreement about (1) whether value-added (VA) provides unbiased estimates of teachers' impacts on student achievement and (2) whether high-VA teachers improve students' long-term outcomes. We address these two issues by analyzing school district data from grades 3-8 for 2.5 million children linked to tax records on parent characteristics and adult outcomes. We find no evidence of bias in VA estimates using previously unobserved parent characteristics and a quasi-experimental research design based on changes in teaching staff. Students assigned to high-VA teachers are more likely to attend college, attend higher- ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers. Teachers have large impacts in all grades from 4 to 8. On average, a one standard deviation improvement in teacher VA in a single grade raises earnings by about 1% at age 28. Replacing a teacher whose VA is in the bottom 5% with an average teacher would increase the present value of students' lifetime income by more than $250,000 for the average class- room in our sample. We conclude that good teachers create substantial economic value and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers.

Suggested Citation

Chetty, Raj and Friedman, John Norton and Rockoff, Jonah E., The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood (December 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17699. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1981143

Raj Chetty (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John Norton Friedman

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Jonah E. Rockoff

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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