Does Test-Based Teacher Recruitment Work in the Developing World? Experimental Evidence from Ecuador

51 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2020

See all articles by Maria Daniela Araujo

Maria Daniela Araujo

University of Bamberg

Guido Heineck

University of Bamberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Yyannu Cruz-Aguayo

Inter-American Development Bank


Since 2007, the Ecuadorian government has required teacher candidates to pass national skill and content knowledge tests before they are allowed to participate in merit-based selection competitions for tenured positions at public schools in an attempt to raise teacher quality. We evaluate the impact of this policy using linked administrative teacher information to data from a unique experimental study where almost 15,000 kindergarten children were randomly assigned to their teachers in the 2012-2013 school year in Ecuador. We find positive and significant effects of test-screened tenured teachers of at least a 0.105 standard deviation for language and a 0.085 standard deviation for math, which persist even after controlling for teacher education, experience, cognitive ability, personality traits and classroom practices.

Keywords: teacher quality, education policy evaluation, Latin America

JEL Classification: I20, I21, I25, I28, J45

Suggested Citation

Araujo, Maria Daniela and Heineck, Guido and Cruz Aguayo, Yyannu, Does Test-Based Teacher Recruitment Work in the Developing World? Experimental Evidence from Ecuador. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13830, Available at SSRN: or

Maria Daniela Araujo (Contact Author)

University of Bamberg

Kirschaeckerstrasse 39
Bamberg, 96045

Guido Heineck

University of Bamberg

Feldkirchenstr. 21
Bamberg, 96052

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Yyannu Cruz Aguayo

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

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