*Names in bold indicate Presenter
An earlier study by Lankford et al used Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) scores as a proxy for academic ability to examine the long-term trends in teachers’ academic achievement over the past 30 years in New York state. The authors document large, positive increases in the academic ability of individuals obtaining a certification and/or placement to teach in New York starting in 2000. In this paper, we extend the earlier work to examine whether teacher accountability and certification policies enacted between 2000 and 2005 were responsible for the changes in the quality of the teacher labor market. Similar to past accountability studies, we use variation in the expected impact of the policy changes to assign districts to control versus treatment groups. We then leverage the variation in the expected impact of the policy changes to estimate a series of comparative interrupted time-series models. In this paper, we ask the following research question: How have the state and federal policy changes in New York influenced the academic ability of the first-year teacher labor market?
The preliminary results of our earlier work indicate that the academic ability of the average individual certified to teach increased .09 SD units and the academic ability of the average individual securing a teaching position increased .20SD units between 2000 and 2010. It also appears that certified teachers with higher academic ability were more likely to be selected during the hiring process than teachers with lower ability. These patterns do not appear to be driven by changes in the local labor market, district demographics, or fixed district characteristics. The early results suggest that the state and federal policy changes had a strong influence on the shape of the first-year teacher labor market in NY. To the extent that NY is similar to other states undergoing changes in teacher certification and/or accountability policies, our results provides important evidence as to whether the long-term trends in teacher quality are sensitive to policy changes.