NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects

Charles T. Clotfelter, Helen F. Ladd, Jacob L. Vigdor

NBER Working Paper No. 13617
Issued in November 2007
NBER Program(s):   ED

We use data on statewide end-of-course tests in North Carolina to examine the relationship between teacher credentials and student achievement at the high school level. The availability of test scores in multiple subjects for each student permits us to estimate a model with student fixed effects, which helps minimize any bias associated with the non-random distribution of teachers and students among classrooms within schools. We find compelling evidence that teacher credentials affect student achievement in systematic ways and that the magnitudes are large enough to be policy relevant. As a result, the uneven distribution of teacher credentials by race and socio-economic status of high school students -- a pattern we also document -- contributes to achievement gaps in high school.

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This paper was revised on March 27, 2008

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13617

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