Panel Paper: Value Added of Teachers In High-Poverty Schools and Lower Poverty Schools

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 8:50 AM
Salon E (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Tim Sass1, Jane Hannaway2, Zeyu Xu2, David Figlio3 and Li Feng4, (1)Georgia State University, (2)American Institutes for Research, (3)Northwestern University, (4)Texas State University

Using student-level microdata from 2000-2001 to 2004-2005 from Florida and North
Carolina, we compare the effectiveness of teachers in schools serving primarily students from
low-income families (>70% free-and-reduced-price-lunch students) with teachers in schools
serving more advantaged students. The results show that the average effectiveness of teachers in
high poverty schools is in general less than teachers in other schools and there is significantly
greater variation in teacher quality among high poverty schools. These differences are largely
driven by less productive teachers at the bottom of the teacher effectiveness distribution in highpoverty
schools. The bulk of the quality differential is due to differences in the unmeasured
characteristics of teachers. We find that the gain in productivity to more experienced teachers
from additional experience is much stronger in lower-poverty schools. The lower return to
experience in high-poverty schools does not appear to be a result of differences in the quality of
teachers who leave teaching or who switch schools, however. Our findings suggest that
measures that induce highly effective teachers to move to high-poverty schools and which
promote an environment in which teachers’ skills will improve over time are more likely to be