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How Large Are Teacher Effects?

Abstract

"It is widely accepted that teachers differ in their effectiveness, yet the empirical evidence regarding teacher effectiveness is weak. The existing evidence is mainly drawn from econometric studies that use covariates to attempt to control for selection effects that might bias results. We use data from a four year experiment in which teachers and students were randomly assigned to classes to estimate teacher effects on student achievement. Teacher effects are estimated as between-teacher (but within-school) variance components of achievement status and residualized achievement gains. Our estimates of teacher effects on achievement gains are similar in magnitude to those of previous econometric studies, but we find larger effects on mathematics achievement than on reading achievement. We also find much larger teacher effect variation in low SES schools than in high SES schools."

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