A new statistical analysis by economists at Harvard and Columbia universities finds that having a high-quality teacher for even one year can have a measurable long-term impact on students’ career outcomes.
The study tracked 1 million children from a large urban school district from 4th grade to adulthood. The researchers gauged the effectiveness of their teachers in grades 4 through 8 through value-added analysis, calculating their impact on student standardized-test scores over time and adjusting for differences among students.
The researchers found that students who were assigned teachers with higher value-added ratings ended up being “more successful in many dimensions,” including college-graduation rates, earnings, and savings. On average, the study concludes, having a teacher with a high value-added rating for one year raises a student’s lifetime income by $50,000. (“Policies Should Reflect the Importance of Teaching,” January 17, 2012.)
A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2012 edition of Education Week as Good Teachers