Teacher Characteristics and Academic Achievement
32 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2015 Last revised: 3 Sep 2017
Date Written: February 16, 2015
Identifying the impact of teacher characteristics on academic achievement is a salient and reoccurring issue in education. We employ a twin by year identification strategy using matched teacher-student data from North Carolina to credibly estimate how teacher characteristics such as experience, certification, and advanced degrees affect achievement in math and reading. By using within-family variation, estimates from our model improve upon on earlier work by accounting for time varying unobservable family shocks to non-schooling inputs. Our findings reveal that teacher experience and NBPTS certification have positive and significant effects on achievement in reading and math, however, we find inconclusive effects for advanced degrees. Notably, we show that teacher experience has the largest effects on student achievement, but our effects are smaller than the standard estimates in the literature. Overall, our estimates provide lower upper bounds for these key teacher characteristics.
Keywords: student achievement, teacher quality, teacher effectiveness, twin study, class quality, math, reading, cognitive skills
JEL Classification: I20, I21, I22, I25
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