An Evaluation of Bias in Three Measures of Teacher Quality: Value-Added, Classroom Observations, and Student Surveys

47 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2017

See all articles by Andrew Bacher-Hicks

Andrew Bacher-Hicks

Harvard University

Mark Chin

Harvard University

Thomas J. Kane

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Douglas Staiger

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2017

Abstract

There are three primary measures of teaching performance: student test-based measures (i.e., value added), classroom observations, and student surveys. Although all three types of measures could be biased by unmeasured traits of the students in teachers’ classrooms, prior research has largely focused on the validity of value-added measures. We conduct an experiment involving 66 mathematics teachers in four school districts and test the validity of all three types of measures. Specifically, we test whether a teacher’s performance on each measure under naturally occurring (i.e., non-experimental) settings predicts performance following random assignment of that teacher to a class of students. Combining our results with those from two previous experiments, we provide further evidence that value-added measures are unbiased predictors of teacher performance. In addition, we provide the first evidence that classroom observation scores are unbiased predictors of teacher performance on a rubric measuring the quality of mathematics instruction. Unfortunately, we lack the statistical power to reach any similar conclusions regarding the predictive validity of a teacher’s student survey responses.

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Suggested Citation

Bacher-Hicks, Andrew and Chin, Mark and Kane, Thomas J. and Staiger, Douglas, An Evaluation of Bias in Three Measures of Teacher Quality: Value-Added, Classroom Observations, and Student Surveys (June 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23478. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2980586

Andrew Bacher-Hicks (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mark Chin

Harvard University ( email )

Thomas J. Kane

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research ( email )

Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Douglas Staiger

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-643-2979 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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