Sep. 1, 2008

Teacher Preparation and Student Achievement

NBER Working Paper No. 14314
Donald Boyd
Pamela Grossman
Hamilton Lankford
Susanna Loeb

There are fierce debates over the best way to prepare teachers. Some argue that easing entry into teaching is necessary to attract strong candidates, while others argue that investing in high quality teacher preparation is the most promising approach. Most agree, however, that we lack a strong research basis for understanding how to prepare teachers. This paper is one of the first to estimate the effects of features of teachers’ preparation on teachers’ value-added to student test score performance in math and English Language Arts. Our results indicate variation across preparation programs in the average effectiveness of the teachers they are supplying to New York City schools. In particular, preparation directly linked to practice appears to benefit teachers in their first year.