Measuring Returns to Experience Using Supervisor Ratings of Observed Performance: The Case of Classroom Teachers

62 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2023 Last revised: 26 May 2023

See all articles by Courtney Bell

Courtney Bell

University of Wisconsin - Parkside - University of Wisconsin

Jessalynn James

TNTP

Eric S. Taylor

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education

James Wyckoff

University of Virginia

Date Written: January 2023

Abstract

We study the returns to experience in teaching, estimated using supervisor ratings from classroom observations. We describe the assumptions required to interpret changes in observation ratings over time as the causal effect of experience on performance. We compare two difference-in-differences strategies: the two-way fixed effects estimator common in the literature, and an alternative which avoids potential bias arising from effect heterogeneity. Using data from Tennessee and Washington, DC, we show empirical tests relevant to assessing the identifying assumptions and substantive threats—e.g., leniency bias, manipulation, changes in incentives or job assignments—and find our estimates are robust to several threats.

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Suggested Citation

Bell, Courtney and James, Jessalynn and Taylor, Eric S. and Wyckoff, James, Measuring Returns to Experience Using Supervisor Ratings of Observed Performance: The Case of Classroom Teachers (January 2023). NBER Working Paper No. w30888, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4342387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4342387

Courtney Bell (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Parkside - University of Wisconsin ( email )

Jessalynn James

TNTP ( email )

111 Hartley Street
North Haven, CT 06473

Eric S. Taylor

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

James Wyckoff

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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