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Three essays on teacher quality and educational production


This dissertation consists of three essays on teacher quality and educational production. As opposed to the larger body of research on teacher quality, which measures quality primarily by observable qualifications, these essays measure teacher quality in terms of student outcomes. Chapters 1 and 2 of the dissertation measure the effects of teacher quality on test-score outcomes, focusing on teacher value-added, and chapter 3 examines graduation outcomes. The dissertation addresses both elementary- and secondary-school teachers. One theme common to all three papers is that although teacher qualifications are only weakly related to student performance, strong differences in teacher quality emerge when quality is measured in terms of student outputs. That is, student performance can be significantly affected by distributional shifts in teacher quality. In all three chapters, considerable attention is paid to the methodology behind estimating teacher effects based on student outcomes. Finally, this research also considers the practical application of outcome-based measures of teacher quality for teacher evaluation or accountability

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