Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates
58 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 2013
Are teachersʼ impacts on studentsʼ test scores ("value-added") a good measure of their quality? One reason this question has sparked debate is disagreement about whether value-added (VA) measures provide unbiased estimates of teachersʼ causal impacts on student achievement. We test for bias in VA using previously unobserved parent characteristics and a quasi-experimental design based on changes in teaching staff. Using school district and tax records for more than one million children, we find that VA models which control for a studentʼs prior test scores exhibit little bias in forecasting teachersʼ impacts on student achievement.
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