Getting students to the room where it happens

National Council on Teacher Quality

We can all agree that teachers contribute in many ways to students' lives. But how should we measure those contributions? Answers are all over the map, from test-based evidence of teachers' contribution to student learning to observers' perceptions of how well they build rapport with their students. Is there some middle ground where we can measure something beyond test scores?

An updated working paper by Jing Liu and Susanna Loeb (of Brown University) finds a plausible way to quantify at least one key contribution made by teachers: getting students to show up to class. They refer to this as "attendance VAM," a measure of teachers' individual effect on student attendance, with similar controls built into the model as the more familiar, learning-based VAM.


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