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What Do Test Scores Miss? The Importance of Teacher Effects on Non-Test Score Outcomes

Professor C. Kirabo Jackson finds that using both test-scores and non-test-score measures of teacher quality doubles our ability to predict teacher effects on longer-term outcomes for student, Jackson's recent paper takes a look beyond the traditional value-added model of assessing teacher quality through students’ test scores, and considers the possibility that teachers are impacting both cognitive and non-cognitive skills among their students. Jackson accounts for teacher effects on absences, suspensions, course grades, and on-time grade progression as indicators of these non-test-score outcomes for 9th grade students, and finds that these outcomes—to a stronger degree than test scores alone—are able to predict students’ future high school completion and likelihood of attending college. The implications of these finding for education policy are profound, suggesting that teacher effects on test scores are only capturing a fraction of their effort on student outcomes, and that more research is needed to derive measures of the non-cognitive skills teachers are impacting in the classroom.

Read the full paper here.