Teacher Preparation Policies and Their Effects on Student Achievement

State policies affect the qualifications of beginning teachers in numerous ways, including regulating entry requirements, providing incentives for graduate degrees, and subsidizing preparation programs at public universities. In this paper we assess how these policy choices affect student achievement, specifically comparing traditionally prepared with alternative-entry teachers; in-state traditionally prepared with out-of-state traditionally prepared teachers; teachers beginning with undergraduate degrees with those beginning with graduate degrees; and teachers prepared at in-state public universities with those prepared at in-state private universities. Using school fixed effects to analyze data from North Carolina, we find that: Teach For America corps members are more effective than traditionally prepared teachers; other alternative-entry teachers are less effective than traditionally prepared instructors in high school mathematics and science courses; and out-of-state traditionally prepared teachers are less effective than in-state traditionally prepared teachers, especially in elementary subjects where they constitute nearly 40 percent of the workforce.

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