Are teachers' impacts on students; test scores ("value-added") a good measure of their quality? This question has sparked debate partly because of a lack of evidence on whether high value-added (VA) teachers who raise students' test scores improve students' long-term outcomes. Using school district and tax records for more than one million children, we find that students assigned to high-VA teachers in primary school are more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and have higher savings rates. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers. Teachers have substantial impacts in all grades from 4 to 8. On average, a one standard deviation improvement in teacher VA in a single grade raises earnings by 1.3% at age 28. Replacing a teacher whose VA is in the bottom 5% with an average teacher would increase the present value of students' lifetime income by approximately $250,000 per classroom.
Chetty, Raj, John N. Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff. "Measuring the Impacts of the Teachers II: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood." Working Paper, Columbia Business School, 2014.
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