The Value of Teachers in Teaching.

by Eric Alan Hanushek

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Reading achievement of third graders in one California district in 1969 was related to pupils' individual backgrounds, classmates, previous progress, and characteristics of their first, second, and third grade teachers. Factors usually considered important proved insignificant. White children learned more from some teachers than from others, independent of sex, family status, reading level, and class makeup. Manual workers' children were more affected than others, notably by teachers' verbal facility. The others responded more to teachers' experience with their socioeconomic group. Generally, the only teacher characteristics significantly correlated with pupils' learning were verbal facility, recentness--not amount--of education, and reduced time spent on discipline--not the variables school districts usually seek. Mexican-American children's reading was unaffected by class ethnic composition and different teachers (none were Mexican-American). Only their entering reading levels seemed related to their gains, which averaged six months per year. 52 pp

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