Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers
Using longitudinal elementary school teacher and student data, we document that students have larger test score gains when their teachers experience improvements in the observable characteristics of their colleagues. Using within-school and within-teacher variation, we further show that a teacher's students have larger achievement gains in math and reading when she has more effective colleagues (based on estimated value-added from an out-of-sample pre-period). Spillovers are strongest for less-experienced teachers and persist over time, and historical peer quality explains away about twenty percent of the own-teacher effect, results that suggest peer learning.
We thank David Cutler, Li Han, Lawrence Katz, Andrew Oswald, Gauri Kartini Shastry, Kate Emans Sims, Daniel Tortorice, and participants at the Harvard Labor and Organizational Economics Lunches. Elias gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Graduate Society Dissertation Completion Fellowship of Harvard University. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
C. Kirabo Jackson and Elias Bruegmann “Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 1.4 (2009): 85108. citation courtesy of