Improving Teacher Quality and Student Outcomes in D.C. Public Schools

Katz, Veronica, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wyckoff, James, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The three chapters of this dissertation use quasi-experimental methods to examine the effects of policies designed to improve teacher quality and student outcomes in D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). Using detailed administrative data at the school, teacher, and student level, I assess whether specific features of DCPS’ high-stakes teacher evaluation and compensation system are associated with improvements in teacher quality and student achievement. Each chapter of this dissertation focuses on a different mechanism to improve teacher quality. The first chapter is a co-authored paper that examines whether teacher turnover can be leveraged to improve student achievement. The second chapter examines whether performance-based financial incentives can encourage high-performing teachers to teach, and stay, in low-performing schools. The third chapter examines whether targeted financial incentives are associated with differences in teacher development. Taken together, the three chapters of this dissertation provide a comprehensive evaluation of DCPS’ efforts to improve teacher quality and student outcomes. More generally, this work is intended to inform ongoing education policy reforms and the perennial pursuit of improved teacher quality in public schools.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
teacher quality, teacher evaluation, teacher turnover, teacher retention
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