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Friday, December 7, 2007

Professor Qualities and Student Achievement

From a paper published in the NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH by
Florian Hoffmann and Philip Oreopoulos

We find that differences in commonly observed instructor traits, such as rank,
faculty status, and salary, have virtually no effect on student outcomes. There are no
average differences in students’ dropout, subsequent grade, and course selection
outcomes by instructor tenure or tenure-track status, full-time or part-time lecturer status, and salary status (whether an instructor earns more than CDN$100,000 in the year taught). These results are consistent across alternative model specifications and student populations. They suggest that, at the margin, universities can hire cheaper part-time or full-time lecturers without expecting adverse impacts to student achievement. The findings are similar to Bettinger and Long (2004), who find small and often insignificant effects on subsequent course interest from taking a first year class with an adjunct or graduate student instructor. They are also similar to Jacob and Lefgren (2005) and others who find elementary and secondary teacher experience, education status, and salary have little impact on test scores.

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