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Teacher certification and student achievement in Swedish compulsory schools

Abstract of Working paper 2007:6

This study examines how the teaching staff composition with respect to certi­fication affects student achievement in compulsory Swedish schools. The share of non-certified teachers in compulsory schooling has increased dramatically during the last decade, starting a large debate about school quality. We apply an instru­mental variable approach to estimate the causal effect of the percentage of non-certified teachers on student achievement. We find, in our preferred specification, that a one percentage point increase in the share of non-certified teachers is expected to decrease the average student’s GPA ranking with about 0.6 units. A substantial effect if one considers the large differences in certification rate that do exist between schools and municipalities. The effect also appears to be stronger for students with highly educated parents.

Keywords: Teacher certification, teacher quality, student achievement, instru­mental variable
JEL-code: I21

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