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noncognitive skills, test scores, teacher quality, conscientiousness


Although research has been unable to find strong links between observable teacher characteristics and a teacher’s ability to improve student achievement, it has generally not considered the role that teacher non-cognitive skills play in affecting student outcomes. In this article, we validate several novel performance-task measures of teacher conscientiousness based upon the effort that teachers exert completing a survey and use these measures to examine the role that teacher conscientiousness plays in affecting both student test scores and student non-cognitive skills. We conduct our analysis using the Measure of Effective Teaching Longitudinal Database where teachers were randomly assigned to their classrooms in the second year of the study. We exploit this random assignment to estimate causal impacts of teachers on their students’ outcomes during the second year of the MET project. We find that our survey-effort measures of teacher conscientiousness capture important dimensions of teacher quality. More conscientious teachers are more effective at improving their student conscientiousness but not their student test scores. Additional analysis suggests that traditional measures of teacher quality largely fail to capture a teacher’s ability to improve student conscientiousness, though measures of teacher quality based upon student ratings and one particular classroom observation protocol are exceptions.

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EDRE Working Paper

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