Measuring the Impacts of Teachers II: Teacher Value-added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood

Measuring the Impacts of Teachers II: Teacher Value-added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood

Issue/Topic: Teaching Quality--Evaluation and Effectiveness
Author(s): Chetty, Raj; Rockoff, Jonah; Friedman, John
Organization(s): National Bureau of Economic Research
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
Published On: 9/1/2013

One method of measuring the quality of teaching is to evaluate teachers based on their impacts on students' test scores, commonly termed the value-added ”(VA) approach. Advocates argue that selecting teachers on the basis of their VA can generate substantial gains in achievement, while critics contend that VA measures are poor proxies for teacher quality. Do teachers who raise test scores improve their students' outcomes in adulthood or are they simply better at teaching to the test?

To estimate the long-term impacts on a student of being assigned to a high VA teacher


Policy Implications/Recommendations:
Replacing low VA teachers may be a more cost effective strategy to increase teacher quality in the short run than paying bonuses to retain high-VA teachers. The authors evaluated the expected gains from policies that pay bonuses to high-VA teachers to increase retention rates. The gains from such policies were only slightly larger than their costs because most bonus payments end up going to high-VA teachers who would have stayed even without the additional payment.  They suggest that, in the long run, higher salaries could attract more high VA teachers to the teaching profession, though they don't measure that impact.

The authors caution that, although their findings are encouraging for the use of value-added metrics, two important issues must be resolved before determining how VA should be used for policy:
The authors explain that, more generally, there are many aspects of teachers' long-term impacts that remain to be explored and would be helpful in designing education policy. For example, are teachers' impacts additive over time? Do good teachers complement or substitute for each other across years? 

Research Design:
Regression analysis and quasi-experimental

Linked information from an administrative data set on students and teachers in grades 3-8 from a large urban school district spanning 1989-2009 with selected data from United States tax records spanning 1996-2011.

Year data is from:


Data Collection and Analysis:
The authors matched approximately 90 percent of the observations in the school district data to the tax data, allowing them to track approximately one million individuals from elementary school to early adulthood. They measured outcomes such as earnings, college attendance and teenage births.

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