Do Teachers' College Majors Affect Students' Academic Achievement in the Sciences? A Cross Subfields Analysis with Student-Teacher Fixed Effects

Author Name INOUE Atsushi (Nippon Institute for Research Advancement) / TANAKA Ryuichi (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. February 2022 22-E-004
Research Project Microeconometric Analysis of Education Policy with Large Administrative Data
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We examine whether and how teachers' major fields of study affect students' achievement, exploiting the within-student variation across subfields in natural science (i.e., physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science). Using middle-school students' data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and controlling student-teacher fixed effects, we find that teachers with college majors in the natural sciences improved students' achievement of subfields in the natural sciences corresponding to their own subfields of college majors. Teaching practices explain about half of the effect of teachers' major fields, and the majority of the effects through teaching practices is accounted for by teachers' preparation for teaching science topics. The results are robust to potential endogenous matching between students and teachers.

Published: Inoue, Atsushi, and Ryuichi Tanaka, 2023. "Do teachers’ college majors affect students’ academic achievement in the sciences? A cross-subfields analysis with student-teacher fixed effects," Education Economics, Volume 31 (2023), 617-631.