Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina (WP-12-18)
In this working paper, Jackson presents a model where students have cognitive and non-cognitive ability and a teacher’s effect on long-run outcomes is a combination of his or her effect on both ability types. Conditional on cognitive scores, an underlying non-cognitive factor associated with student absences, suspensions, grades, and grade progression is strongly correlated with long-run educational attainment, arrests, and earnings in survey data. In administrative data, teachers have meaningful causal effects on both test scores and the non-cognitive factor. Calculations indicate that teacher effects based on test scores alone fail to identify many excellent teachers, and may greatly understate the importance of teachers on adult outcomes.