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Many states enhanced benefits in teacher retirement plans during the 1990s. This paper examines the school staffing effects of one such enhancement in a major urban school district with mostly high poverty schools. Pension rule changes in 1999 for St. Louis public school teachers resulted in very large increases in pension wealth for active teachers, as well as a powerful increase in “push” incentives for earlier retirement. Simple descriptive statistics on retirement patterns before and after the enhancements suggest much earlier retirement resulted. Shorter teaching spells imply a steady state with more teaching vacancies and a larger share of novice teachers in classrooms. To better understand the long run effects of these changes and alternatives policies, the authors estimate a structural model of teacher retirement. Simulations of retirement behavior for a representative senior teacher point to shorter completed teaching spells and earlier retirement age as a result of the enhancements. By contrast, moving from the post-1999 to a DC- type plan would extend the teaching career of a representative senior teacher by roughly three years. Simulations of voluntary DC conversation plans suggest that many senior teachers would enroll, thereby reducing workforce turnover, and overall pension costs.
Citation: Shawn Ni, Michael Podgursky, Xiqian Wang (2020). Teacher Pension Enhancements and Staffing in an Urban School District. CALDER Working Paper No. 240-0620
Defined benefit (DB) pension systems determine the size of pension payments using an employee’s “final average salary”. Thus, employees enrolled in DB pension systems face an incentive to “salary spike” – strategically increase late career pensionable compensation – to increase their retirement income. This is an important issue given that public pension systems face increasing scrutiny due to ongoing concerns about their fiscal sustainability. This paper develops an empirical method to quantify the prevalence of salary spiking by identifying cases where end-of-career compensation deviates from expected levels of compensation. We apply this method to the teacher pension systems in Illinois and examine how salary spiking changed in response to policy reform. The results suggest that salary spiking is very common, with about half of late career employees observed as having pensionable compensation that exceeds expectations. Policies designed to dissuade salary spiking by internalizing its costs across districts appear to reduce the prevalence of salary spiking, but there may be unintended consequences for individuals who are not actually spiking, as such discouraging the assignment of supplementary responsibilities to late career employees.
Citation: Dan Goldhaber, Cyrus Grout, Kristian Holden (2020). A Method for Identifying Salary Spiking: An Assessment of Pensionable Compensation and Reform in Illinois. CALDER Working Paper No. 238-0620
There is growing interest in using measures of teacher applicant quality to improve hiring decisions, but the statistical properties of such measures are poorly understood. We present evidence on structured ratings solicited from teacher applicants’ references. We find that the reference ratings capture only one underlying dimension of applicant quality, which may indicate a need to broaden the range of questions posed to professional references. Point estimates of inter-rater reliability range between 0.23 and 0.31 and are significantly lower for novice applicants. It is difficult to judge whether these levels of reliability are high or low in the current context given so little evidence on comparable applicant assessment tools.
Citation: Dan Goldhaber, Cyrus Grout, Malcolm Wolff, Patricia Martinkova (2020). Evidence on the Dimensionality and Reliability of Professional References’ Ratings of Teacher Applicants. CALDER Working Paper No. 237-0620
This study examines the effects of internal migration driven by severe natural disasters on host communities, and the mechanisms behind these effects, using the large influx of migrants into Florida public schools after Hurricane Maria. I find adverse effects of the influx in the first year on existing student test scores, disciplinary problems, and student mobility among high-performing students in middle and high school that also persist in the second year. I also find evidence that compensatory resource allocation within schools is an important factor driving the adverse effects of large, unexpected migrant flows on incumbent students in the short-run.
WP 233-0320 was originally released in March 2020. This updated version, WP 233-0320-2, was released in January 2021.
Citation: Umut Özek (2020). Examining the Educational Spillover Effects of Severe Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Maria . CALDER Working Paper No. 233-0320-2
We use data on the teacher preparation experiences and workforce outcomes of more than 1,300 graduates of special education teacher education programs in Washington to provide a descriptive portrait of special education teacher preparation, workforce entry, and early career retention. We find high rates of workforce entry for special education candidates (over 80%), but we document considerably lower rates of entry into special education classrooms for candidates who hold a dual endorsement in special education and another subject. We also find that special education teachers who are dual endorsed and begin their careers teaching in special education classrooms are less likely stay in these classrooms. Both sets of findings are supported by an instrumental variable analysis that exploits passing score cutoffs on required licensure tests to provide plausibly causal evidence that obtaining a dual endorsement significantly reduces the likelihood that special education candidates teach in special education classrooms.
Citation: Roddy Theobald, Dan Goldhaber, Natsumi Naito, Marcy Stein (2020). The Special Education Teacher Pipeline: Teacher Preparation, Workforce Entry, and Retention. CALDER Working Paper No. 231-0220
Teacher turnover has adverse consequences for student achievement and imposes large financial costs for schools. Some have argued that high-stakes testing may lower teachers’ satisfaction with their jobs and could be a major contributor to teacher attrition. In this paper, we exploit changes in the tested grades and subjects in Georgia to study the effects of eliminating high-stakes testing on teacher turnover and the distribution of teachers across grades and schools. To measure the effect of testing pressures on teacher mobility choices we use a "difference-in-differences" approach,comparing changes in mobility over time in grades/subjects that discontinue testing vis-à-vis grades/subjects that are always tested. Our results show that eliminating testing did not have an impact on the likelihood of leaving teaching, changing schools within a district, or moving between districts. We only uncover small negative effects on the likelihood of grade switching. However,we do find relevant positive effects on retention of beginning teachers in the profession. In particular, the average probability of exit for teachers with 0-4 years of experience fell from 14 to13 percentage points for teachers in grades 1 and 2 and from 14 to 11 percentage points in grades 6 and 7.
Citation: Dillon Fuchsman, Tim Sass, Gema Zamarro (2020). Testing, Teacher Turnover and the Distribution of Teachers Across Grades and Schools. CALDER Working Paper No. 229-0220
We use administrative microdata from six states to study academic mobility in K-12 education, by which we mean the extent to which students’ ranks in the distribution of academic performance change during their schooling careers. We find that there is substantial heterogeneity across districts in the academic mobility of students. The heterogeneity across districts is largest in terms of absolute mobility—i.e., in some districts, students throughout the distribution, including initially low performers, gain on other students in the statewide distribution, and vice-versa—whereas there is less cross-district variation in relative mobility. The most prominent correlates of high-mobility districts include value-added to achievement and the socioeconomic status of the student population.
Citation: Wes Austin, David Figlio, Dan Goldhaber, Eric Hanushek, Tara Kilbride, Cory Koedel, Jaeseok Sean Lee, Jin Lou, Umut Özek, Eric Parsons, Steven Rivkin, Tim Sass, Katharine Strunk (2020). Where are Initially Low-performing Students the Most Likely to Succeed? A Multi-state Analysis of Academic Mobility (Preliminary Draft). CALDER Working Paper No. 227-0220
We study the effects of exposure to non-resident students on the outcomes of undergraduate in-state students during a period of high non-resident enrollment growth at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Our models leverage within-major, cross-time variation in non-resident exposure for identification. We find no evidence that increased exposure to domestic non-residents affects in-state student outcomes and our null results are precisely estimated. We find evidence of modest negative impacts on in-state students when their exposure to foreign students increases using our preferred specification. However, the identifying variation in exposure to foreign students in our data is limited and this result is not robust in all of our models.
Citation: Diyi Li, Cheng Qian , Cory Koedel (2020). Non-Resident Postsecondary Enrollment Growth and the Outcomes of In-State Students. CALDER Working Paper No. 225-0120
We evaluate the predictive validity of the Massachusetts Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP), a practice-based assessment of teaching skills that is typically taken during a candidate’s student teaching placement and is a requirement for teacher preparation program completion in Massachusetts. We find that candidates’ performance on the CAP predicts their in-service summative performance evaluations in their first 2 years in the teaching workforce and provides a signal of these ratings beyond what is already captured by the state’s traditional licensure tests, but is not predictive of their value added to student test scores. These findings suggest that the CAP captures aspects of candidates’ skills and competencies that are better reflected in their future performance evaluations than by their impacts on student performance.
Working paper 223-1019 was orginally published in October 2019. This is an updated version, published in February 2021.
Citation: Bingjie Chen, James Cowan, Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald (2019). From the Clinical Experience to the Classroom: Assessing the Predictive Validity of the Massachusetts Candidate Assessment of Performance . CALDER Working Paper No. 223-1019-2
Prior research has shown that about 15% of teachers are hired into the same school in which they student taught, about 40% are hired into their student teaching district, and the location of teachers’ student teaching placements is more predictive of where they are hired than where they went to high school or college. While this suggests that strategic student teaching placements are a potential policy lever for addressing regional teacher shortages, there is no prior empirical evidence of a relationship between student teaching placements and teacher shortages. In this paper, we describe research from Washington state that descriptively explores the relationship between student teaching placements and a proxy for teacher shortages, the proportion of new teacher hires in a school or district with emergency teaching credentials. We find that schools and districts that host fewer student teachers tend to hire significantly more new teachers with emergency credentials the following year, and that these relationships are robust to controlling for school and district urbanicity, distance to a teacher education program, and other observable school and district characteristics. This descriptive evidence suggests exploring efforts to place student teachers in schools and districts that struggle to staff their classrooms.
Citation: Dan Goldhaber, John Krieg, Natsumi Naito, Roddy Theobald (2019). Student Teaching and the Geography of Teacher Shortages. CALDER Working Paper No. 222-1019
Indiana, Oklahoma, and Washington have programs designed to address college enrollment and completion gaps by offering a promise of state-based college financial aid to low-income middle school students in exchange for making a pledge to do well in high school, be a good citizen, not be convicted of a felony, and apply for financial aid to college. Using a triple-difference specification, we find that Washington’s College Bound Scholarship shifted enrollment from out-of-state to in-state colleges at which the scholarship could be used. While we find suggestive evidence that the program increased the likelihood of attending a postsecondary institution and attaining a bachelor’s degree within five years of high school, we discuss why the program might be more successful if it did not require students to sign a pledge.
Citation: Mark C. Long, Dan Goldhaber, Trevor Gratz (2019). Washington’s College Bound Scholarship Program and its Effect on College Entry, Persistence, and Completion. CALDER Working Paper No. 221-0919
We leverage nationally representative data and statewide data from Washington to investigate trends in occupational career and technical education (CTE) participation for students with and without disabilities. Consistent with prior work, we document declines in occupational CTE participation since the early 2000s, and provide the first empirical evidence that students with disabilities disproportionately contributed to this decline. But we also show that occupational CTE participation has stabilized for all students in the past decade in Washington, and that participation by students with disabilities in applied science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (applied STEMM) CTE courses has increased since the early 2000s. These trends are encouraging given prior evidence linking applied STEMM-CTE participation to better long-term outcomes for students with disabilities.
Citation: Roddy Theobald, Jay Plasman, Michael Gottfried, Trevor Gratz, Kristian Holden, Dan Goldhaber (2019). Sometimes Less, Sometimes More: Trends in Career and Technical Education Participation for Students With Disabilities. CALDER Working Paper No. 220-0819
In this paper we estimate the impacts of the “pathways” chosen by community college students—in terms of desired credentials and fields of study, as well as other choices and outcomes along the paths—on the attainment of credentials with labor market value. We focus on the extent to which there are recorded changes in students’ choices over time, whether students make choices informed by their chances of success and by labor market value of credentials, and the impacts of choices on outcomes. We find that several characteristics of chosen pathways, such as field of study and desired credential as well as early “momentum,” affect outcomes. Student choices of pathways are not always driven by information about later chances of success, in terms of probabilities of completing programs and attaining strong earnings. Students also change pathways quite frequently, making it harder to accumulate the credits needed in their fields. Attainment of credentials with greater market value could thus likely be improved by appropriate guidance and supports for students along the way, and perhaps by broader institutional changes as well.
This paper was published in Community College Review in April 2021 and can be found here.
Citation: Harry Holzer, Zeyu Xu (2019). Community College Pathways for Disadvantaged Students . CALDER Working Paper No. 218-0519
An increasing emphasis on principals as key to school improvement has contributed to efforts to elevate principal effectiveness that have taken various forms across the US. The primacy of the state as the focal point of educational reform elevates the value of understanding commonalities and differences among states in characteristics of principals, the distribution of principals among schools and ultimately the policies associated with more effective school leadership, particularly for disadvantaged children. This paper describes major state policies, the distribution of elementary school principals among schools along a several dimensions, and pathways to the principalship to illustrate similarities and differences among six states in the tenure and experience distributions and how these vary by student demographic characteristics and district size. Measurement of principal effectiveness and its relationship with principal characteristics and state policies would be ideal, but complications introduced by the dynamics of principal influences and confounding effects of other factors inhibit this effort. Nonetheless, school value added to achievement provides information on differences in principal effectiveness, and we report within-school variation value added across principal regimes and the associations between value added and principal characteristics. The analysis reveals many similarities and some differences among the states, some of which are related to differences in governance structures. Perhaps the most striking differences relate to the pathways to the principalship including the fraction of principals with experiences as assistant principals and teachers.
Citation: Wes Austin, Bingjie Chen, Dan Goldhaber , Eric Hanushek, Kristian Holden, Cory Koedel, Helen Ladd, Jin Luo, Eric Parsons, Gregory Phelan, Steven Rivkin, Tim Sass, Mavzuna Turaeva (2019). Path to the Principalship and Value Added: A Cross-state Comparison of Elementary and Middle School Principals. CALDER Working Paper No. 213-0119-1
In many school districts the policies that regulate personnel are governed by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) negotiated between teachers’ unions and school boards. While there is significant policy attention and, in some cases, legislative action that has affected the scope of these agreements, there is relatively little research that assesses how CBAs vary over time, or whether they change in response to states’ legislative reforms. In this paper we compare CBAs in three states at two points in time: before and after substantial reforms in Michigan and Washington impacting collective bargaining and in California where there were no major statutory changes affecting CBAs. We find that few district characteristics predict changes in CBA restrictiveness over time, other than institutional spillovers from local bargaining structures. However, we observe that reforms to the scope of bargaining in Michigan and Washington drastically reduced the restrictiveness of Michigan and Washington CBAs relative to California.
Citation: Katharine Strunk , Joshua Cowen, Dan Goldhaber , Bradley D. Marianno, Tara Kilbride, Roddy Theobald (2018). Collective Bargaining and State-Level Reforms: Assessing Changes to the Restrictiveness of Collective Bargaining Agreements across Three States. CALDER Working Paper No. 210-1218-1
We use a novel database of the preservice apprenticeships (“student teaching placements”) of teachers in Washington State to investigate the relationship between mentor effectiveness (as measured by value added) and the future effectiveness of their mentees. We find a strong, positive relationship between the effectiveness of a teacher’s mentor and their own effectiveness in math and a more modest relationship in English Language Arts. The relationship in math is strongest early in a teacher’s career, decays significantly over time, and would be positive and statistically significant even in the presence of nonrandom sorting on unobservables of the same magnitude as the sorting on observables. Put together, this suggests that at least some of this relationship reflects a causal relationship between mentor effectiveness and the future effectiveness of their mentees in math.
Citation: Dan Goldhaber, John Krieg, Roddy Theobald (2018). Effective Like Me? Does Having a More Productive Mentor Improve the Productivity of Mentees? . CALDER Working Paper No. 208-1118-1
We exploit within-teacher variation in the years that teachers host an apprentice (“student teacher”) in Washington State to estimate the causal effect of these apprenticeships on student achievement, both during the apprenticeship and afterwards. The average causal effect of hosting a student teacher on student performance in the year of the apprenticeship is precisely estimated and indistinguishable from zero in both math and reading, though effects are large and negative in math when ineffective teachers host an apprentice. Hosting a student teacher is also found to have modest positive impacts on student math and reading achievement in a teacher’s classroom in following years.
Citation: Dan Goldhaber, John Krieg, Roddy Theobald (2018). Exploring the Impact of Student Teaching Apprenticeships on Student Achievement and Mentor Teachers . CALDER Working Paper No. 207-1118-1
We use comprehensive data on student teaching placements from 14 teacher education programs (TEPs) in Washington State to explore the sorting of teacher candidates to the teachers who supervise their student teaching (“cooperating teachers”) and the schools in which student teaching occurs. We find that, all else equal, teachers with more experience, higher degree levels, and higher value added in math are more likely to serve as cooperating teachers, as are schools with lower levels of historical teacher turnover but with more open positions the following year. We also find that teacher candidates are more likely to be placed with cooperating teachers of the same gender and race/ethnicity, and are more likely to work with cooperating teachers and in schools with administrators who graduated from the candidate’s TEP.
Citation: John Krieg , Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald (2018). Teacher Candidate Apprenticeships: Assessing the Who and Where of Student Teaching. CALDER Working Paper No. 206-1118-1
A burgeoning literature investigates the importance of student teaching placements for teacher candidate development, but an important perspective that is largely missing from the existing literature is that of the school districts that host student teachers. In this paper, we describe the student teaching process from the perspective of Spokane Public Schools (SPS), highlighting the challenges associated with the student teacher placement process and several initiatives SPS has undertaken to improve student teaching experiences for teacher candidates. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic effort by a school district to improve the student teaching process and study the effects on teacher candidate outcomes. The initiatives undertaken by SPS illustrate the potential for districts to take a leadership role in defining the student teaching process and highlight some of the challenges inherent in hosting student teachers.
Citation: Dan Goldhaber, Cyrus Grout, Kim Harmon, Roddy Theobald (2018). A Practical Guide to Challenges and Opportunities in Student Teaching: A School District’s Perspective. CALDER Working Paper No. 205-1018-1
Student teaching has long been considered the most important component of an effective teacher education program. Recently, new research is finding links between these experiences and teacher candidates’ future effectiveness, yet relatively little is known about the student teacher placement process and, in particular, the processes that lead to the matching of teacher candidates to the in-service teachers who supervise their student teaching (“cooperating teachers”). In this study, we examine the match process as well as the factors that influence these placement decisions. We also explore how, if at all, practices vary across teacher education programs (TEPs), districts, and schools. We find that, in broad terms, the process for matching student teachers to mentor teachers is similar across educational institutions, although TEPs and school systems sometimes face competing priorities when placing student teachers in classrooms. We also identify a problem of information asymmetry in the placement process, which leaves TEPs with questions about how cooperating teachers are selected and districts and schools with limited information with which to make thoughtful and intentional matches between candidates and cooperating teachers. Finally, we document the important role of social networks in placements and how they can advantage some TEPs, districts, and schools in this process.
Citation: Elise St. John, Dan Goldhaber, John Krieg, Roddy Theobald (2018). How the Match Gets Made: Exploring Student Teacher Placements Across Teacher Education Programs, Districts, and Schools. CALDER Working Paper No. 204-1018-1