Measuring Returns to Experience Using Supervisor Ratings of Observed Performance: The Case of Classroom Teachers
We study the returns to experience in teaching, estimated using supervisor ratings from classroom observations. We describe the assumptions required to interpret changes in observation ratings over time as the causal effect of experience on performance. We compare two difference-in-differences strategies: the two-way fixed effects estimator common in the literature, and an alternative which avoids potential bias arising from effect heterogeneity. Using data from Tennessee and Washington, DC, we show empirical tests relevant to assessing the identifying assumptions and substantive threats—e.g., leniency bias, manipulation, changes in incentives or job assignments—and find our estimates are robust to several threats.
We first thank the District of Columbia Public Schools, Tennessee Department of Education, and Tennessee Education Research Alliance. Generous financial support was provided by the Spencer Foundation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.