Working Paper 09/212 - abstract

Do teachers matter? Measuring the variation in teacher effectiveness in England (PDF, 294kB)

Helen Slater, Neil Davies and Simon Burgess

Using a unique primary dataset for the UK, we estimate the effect of individual teachers on student outcomes, and the variability in teacher quality. This links over 7000 pupils to the individual teachers who taught them, in each of their compulsory subjects in the high-stakes exams at age 16. We use point-in-time fixed effects and prior attainment to control for pupil heterogeneity. We find considerable variability in teacher effectiveness, a little higher than the estimates found in the few US studies. We also corroborate recent findings that observed teachers’ characteristics explain very little of the differences in estimated effectiveness.

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