Improving Teacher Quality through the Teacher Hiring Process

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Of the various school-based determinants of student achievement, teachers are the most important (Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain, 2005; Aaronson, Barrow, and Sander 2007; Kane, Rockoff, and Staiger, 2008). Further, teachers who boost student test scores the most are also able to improve adult outcomes of their students (Chetty et al., 2011; Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff, 2014). There are a number of potential mechanisms for increasing teacher quality, such as improving current teachers’ skills, enhancing teachers’ incentives to maximize their performance, and differentially retaining superior teachers. This brief focuses on another promising avenue for enhancing teacher quality—improving the teacher hiring process.

The Metro Atlanta Policy Lab for Education investigated the characteristics principals emphasize and undervalue during the teacher hiring process and found some characteristics were better than others at predicting teacher performance.