Do Higher Salaries Yield Better Teachers and Better Student Outcomes?

Program to increase teacher pay increased teacher experience.

More experienced and better qualified teachers are less likely to teach in schools that serve children from relatively poor families. This could have important consequences for student outcomes. To attract more experienced teachers, schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods might consider offering higher salaries. José María Cabrera (Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay) and Dinand Webbink (Erasmus School of Economics, Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute, IZA) asked: What is the impact of higher salaries on teachers and students?
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Political Mismanagement of Indian Primary Schools Yields Worse Test Scores

graph of 4th grade reading scores in public vs. private schools 2 years before through two years after an election, showing elections are followed by drop in scores

Teachers and their working patterns are known to be important determinants of learning outcomes of pupils, as well as key to understanding the large gaps in skills across different school systems. Sonja Fagernäs and Panu Pelkonen examined how the management of teachers in Indian primary schools, when intermingled with political processes, can disrupt teachers’ work and eventually harm learning.
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Female Middle School Math Teachers Mean Better Grades for Girls Now, More STEM Participation Later

girl studying

Studies have found that female students perform better when taught by female teachers. But, there is little evidence on whether these effects persistent beyond that school year. We also don’t understand exactly why female student–teacher gender matching improves performance. Jaegeum Lim (Korean National Assembly) and Jonathan Meer (Texas A&M) asked these questions in the context of longer-run data on students from 74 middle schools in Seoul, South Korea.
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Are Professors Worth It? Who Should Teach College Students in Their Small Group Classes?

discussion

Many universities offer tutorials, also called teaching-assistant sessions, discussion sections, or lab sessions, depending on where you live. These small group instructions complement course lectures. Tutorials are often taught by instructors of different academic ranks, ranging from undergraduate students to full professors. Higher ranked instructors are more qualified and more expensive, so Jan Feld, Nicolás Salamanca, and Ulf Zölitz wanted to answer the obvious question: Are higher ranked instructors worth the extra investment by their institutions?
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Poorly Rated NYC Schools Attract Better Teachers

teacher

The idea of holding schools accountable for students’ performance has stood at the center of school-reform efforts in the United States for more than two decades. One of the many questions that have been raised is whether accountability efforts could backfire by driving good teachers out of poorly rated schools, creating a vicious cycle for principals attempting to turn their institutions around.

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Smart Teachers, Smart Kids—An International Study of Who Teaches the Best-Testing Kids

wages of teachers vs. other grads

While it’s now generally accepted that teacher quality is the most important element of a good school, research has failed to convincingly identify the characteristics of effective teachers. Because of this limitation, it’s also been difficult to explain the contribution of schools to the large variation in international test scores across countries. Eric A. Hanushek, Marc Piopiunik, and Simon Wiederhold looked at data from 31 mostly developed countries for some answers. They found that teachers’ cognitive skills can explain a significant portion of the international differences.
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Teacher Effects beyond the Test

teacher with chart of teacher effects

Though many studies have shown that teachers have large effects on student achievement, we know little about the degree to which teachers affect a broader set of student outcomes. Using data from six large school districts, Matthew A. Kraft (Brown University) estimated how teachers affect a range of student skills and competencies beyond those measured by multiple-choice tests.
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You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know: Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Hampers Student Learning in Sub-Saharan Africa

teacher subject knowledge and student performance

Most children in Sub-Saharan Africa are enrolled in school these days, but for reasons not well understood, they learn very little. Previous research has shown that a lack of physical resources, such as textbooks and flip charts, cannot explain these low levels of achievement. New study finds that when teachers lack knowledge, their students fall behind.
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