Teacher Effects on Academic and Social Outcomes in Elementary School

Booher-Jennings, Jennifer; DiPrete, Thomas A.

Numerous studies conclude that teacher effects on academic achievement are substantial in size. Education is about more than academic achievement, and we know very little about teachers' effectiveness in promoting students' social development. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS- K), we estimate teacher effects on social as well as academic outcomes. We find that teacher effects on social development are sizeable, and are approximately twice as large as teacher effects on academic development. We further determine that teachers who produce better than average academic results are not the same teachers who produce better than average social results. However, we find that observable characteristics of teachers and the instructional approaches utilized in their classrooms are weak predictors of teacher effects. Finally, we show that the development of social skills has a positive effect on the growth of academic skills, and therefore teachers who are good at teaching social skills provide an additional indirect boost to academic skills in addition to their direct teaching of academic skills. We conclude that current policy debates over what it means to be a "highly qualified teacher" should also take social development into account.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University
ISERP Working Papers, 07-17
Published Here
August 16, 2010