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Examines whether teacher licensure test scores and other teacher attributes affect elementary student achievement. Teacher quality is a key element of student academic success, but little is known about how specific teacher characteristics influence classroom outcomes. This research examines whether teacher licensure test scores and other teacher attributes affect elementary student achievement. The results are based on an analysis of longitudinal student-level data from Los Angeles that adjusts for both student and teacher fixed effects. The authors found large differences in teacher quality across the school district, but teacher characteristics explain little of that difference. Teacher licensure test scores are unrelated to teacher success in the classroom. Similarly, student achievement is unaffected by whether classroom teachers have advanced degrees. Teacher experience is positively related with student achievement, but the linkage is weak and largely reflects poor outcomes for teachers during their first year or two in the classroom.

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