Research Library

This paper examines the degree to which teachers help students develop non-cognitive skills needed to succeed in the labor market. The researchers leverage data from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project to estimate teacher effects on students’ performance on cognitively demanding open-ended tasks in math and reading, as well as their growth mindset, grit, and effort in class. Exploiting the random assignment of class rosters among sets of general elementary teachers in the same grades and schools, the research team found substantial variation in teacher effects on complex task performance and social-emotional measures. Effects are of similar magnitude to teacher effects on state standardized tests. The study shows that high-stakes decisions based on existing teacher performance measures largely fail to consider the degree to which teachers are developing the skills and competencies most in demand by employers.