Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina
This paper presents a model where teacher effects on long-run outcomes reflect effects on both cognitive skills (measured by test-scores) and non-cognitive skills (measured by non-test-score outcomes). Teachers have causal effects on certain non-cognitive skills not measured by testing, but reflected in absences, suspensions, grades, and on-time grade progression. Measuring teacher effects on a weighted average of these non-test score outcomes (a proxy for non-cognitive skills) predicts effects on dropout, SAT-taking, and college plans—above and beyond their effects on test scores. Accordingly, test scores alone fail to identify many excellent teachers and may understate the long-run importance of teachers.
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This paper was revised on August 8, 2013