Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina

C. Kirabo Jackson

NBER Working Paper No. 18624
Issued in December 2012
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS   PE

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.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


This paper was revised on August 8, 2013

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18624

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor w18649 Algebra for 8th Graders: Evidence on its Effects from 10 North Carolina Districts
Hoxby and Avery w18586 The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students
Heckman, Stixrud, and Urzua w12006 The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior
Bassok, Fitzpatrick, and Loeb w18605 Does State Preschool Crowd-Out Private Provision? The Impact of Universal Preschool on the Childcare Sector in Oklahoma and Georgia
Rothstein w18419 Teacher Quality Policy When Supply Matters
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us