Teacher quality is key to the performance of pupils in education. Improvements in teacher quality can therefore generate large returns. It is less clear however what drives teacher quality and how the quality of teachers can be improved. This dissertation aims to provide more insight into the determinants of teacher quality and the effectiveness of policies that aim to improve teacher quality. The first paper examines the relationship between teacher evaluations and pupil performance gains in primary education. It is shown that the score on a detailed observation rubric measuring pedagogical, didactical and classroom organization competences of teachers significantly predicts pupil performance gains on standardized tests in math, reading and spelling. The observation rubric particularly seems to have potential to identify the weaker teachers. The second paper investigates the effects of schooling vouchers for teachers by employing a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Effects of voucher assignment on both higher education enrollment and completion rates are in the order of 10 to 20 percentage points, suggesting substantial crowding out. The third paper investigates the effects of higher teacher pay for secondary school teachers on their teacher retention decision and enrollment in additional schooling. This is done by exploiting regional variation in teacher pay that is induced by the introduction of a new teacher remuneration policy that provided schools in an urbanized region with extra funds to place a larger share of their teachers in a higher salary scale. No effects are found on the probability of remaining in the teaching profession. The policy however succeeded in keeping a slightly larger share of teachers in the targeted region. In addition, the findings suggest that the policy slightly increased teachers’ participation in continuous schooling. The fourth paper investigates the effect of an intensive coaching program aimed at reducing school dropout rates among students in post-secondary vocational education. The coaching program was set up as a randomized experiment. I find that one year of coaching reduced school dropout rates by more than 40 percent. Cost-benefit analysis suggests that one year of coaching is likely to yield a net social gain.

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H.D. Webbink (Dinand) , A.C. Gielen (Anne)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Economics

van der Steeg, M. (2016, November 24). Essays on teacher quality and coaching. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/94228