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Abstract

There is considerable variance in the productivity of teachers, yet educators have been unable to identify observable characteristics related to teacher effectiveness. This paper uses data from admissions records from Teach for America to explore whether information collected at the time of hire can predict student outcomes. We find that a teacher’s prior achievement, leadership experience, and perseverance are associated with student gains in math. Leadership experience and commitment to the TFA mission are associated with gains in English. The TFA admissions measures are also associated with improved classroom behavior. These results suggest that teacher success can be predicted at the time of hire.

Citation

Dobbie, Will. "Teacher Characteristics and Student Achievement: Evidence from Teach For America." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, July 2011.