How and Why Has Teacher Quality Changed in Australia?

Centre for Economic Policy Research Paper No. 534

49 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2007

See all articles by Andrew Leigh

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House; Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU; IZA

Chris Ryan

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2006

Abstract

International research suggests that differences in teacher performance can explain a large portion of student achievement. Yet little is known about how the quality of the Australian teaching profession has changed over time. Using consistent data on the academic aptitude of new teachers, we compare those who have entered the teaching profession in Australia over the past two decades. We find that the aptitude of new teachers has fallen considerably. Between 1983 and 2003, the average percentile rank of those entering teacher education fell from 74 to 61, while the average rank of new teachers fell from 70 to 62. One factor that seems to have changed substantially over this period is average teacher pay. Compared to non-teachers with a degree, average teacher pay fell substantially over the period 1983-2003. Another factor is pay dispersion in alternative occupations. During the 1980s and 1990s, non-teacher earnings at the top of the distribution rose faster than earnings at the middle and bottom of the distribution. For an individual with the potential to earn a wage at the 90th percentile of the distribution, a non-teaching occupation looked much more attractive in the 2000s than it did in the 1980s. We believe that both the fall in average teacher pay, and the rise in pay differentials in non-teaching occupations are responsible for the decline in the academic aptitude of new teachers over the past two decades.

Keywords: test scores, teacher salary, occupational choice

JEL Classification: I21, I28, J31

Suggested Citation

Leigh, Andrew and Ryan, Chris, How and Why Has Teacher Quality Changed in Australia? (September 2006). Centre for Economic Policy Research Paper No. 534, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=961142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.961142

Andrew Leigh (Contact Author)

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House ( email )

Canberra, 2600
Australia

Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

IZA ( email )

Chris Ryan

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
131
Abstract Views
1,071
rank
266,451
PlumX Metrics