Abstract

Recent evidence on teacher productivity suggests that teachers meaningfully influence non-test academic student outcomes that are commonly overlooked by narrowly focusing on test scores. Despite a large number of studies investigating the Teach For America (TFA) effect on math and English achievement, little is known about non-tested academic outcomes. Using administrative data from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we investigate the relationship between being in a TFA classroom and five non-test student outcomes commonly found in administrative datasets: days absent, days suspended, GPA, classes failed, and grade repetition. We validate our use of non-test student academic outcomes to assess differences in teacher productivity using the quasi-experimental teacher switching methods of Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff (2014) and fail to reject the null hypothesis of unbiasedness in most cases in elementary and middle school, although in some cases standard errors are large. We find suggestive evidence that students taught by TFA teachers in elementary and middle schools were less likely to miss school due to unexcused absences and suspensions compared with students taught by non-TFA teachers in the same school, although point estimates are very small. Other outcomes were found to be forecast-unbiased but showed no evidence of a TFA effect.

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