Journal Article

Teacher quality and learning outcomes in kindergarten

Date: 21 March 2016
Authors:
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published in: Quarterly Journal of Economics
JEL classification: I24, I25
DOI: 10.1093/qje/qjw016

We assigned two cohorts of kindergarten students, totaling more than 24,000 children, to teachers within schools with a rule that is as good as random. We collected data on children at the beginning of the school year and applied 12 tests of math, language, and executive function (EF) at the end of the year. All teachers were filmed teaching for a full day, and the videos were coded using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (or CLASS). We find substantial classroom effects: A 1 standard deviation increase in classroom quality results in 0.11, 0.11, and 0.07 standard deviation higher test scores in language, math, and EF, respectively. Teacher behaviors, as measured by the CLASS, are associated with higher test scores. Parents recognize better teachers, but do not change their behaviors appreciably to take account of differences in teacher quality.