The cost-effectiveness of raising teacher quality

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Econometric studies suggest that student achievement may be improved if high-performing teachers are substituted for low-performing teachers. Drawing upon a recent study linking teacher performance on licensure exams with gains in student achievement, an analysis was conducted to determine the cost-effectiveness of requiring teacher applicants to meet a minimum 1000 SAT test score requirement, while raising teacher salaries by 45 percent in order to maintain an adequate pool of candidates. Results indicate that the cost-effectiveness of this approach to raising teacher quality is substantially lower than the cost-effectiveness of a competing approach for raising student achievement, involving the implementation of systems that provide formative assessment feedback to students and teachers regarding student performance in math and reading. The implementation of formative assessment instead of less cost-effective approaches would help to achieve the important goal of raising math and reading achievement while using fewer resources. The savings in resources may then be used to achieve other important educational goals-those that are not well-addressed through formative assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Research Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Assessment
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Economics of education
  • Teacher certification
  • Teacher effectiveness
  • Teacher quality
  • Testing


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