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Teacher characteristics and their effects on student test scores: A best-evidence review

There is an abundance of literature that examines how teacher characteristics are related to student test scores. Reviews summarizing the results of these studies do not always consider the strength of the evidence, which might contribute to the fact that the existing research on the effects of teacher characteristics on student test scores remains inconclusive. This review considers the strength of the empirical evidence of the reviewed studies and examines whether teacher characteristics are related to student test scores. This review investigates both acquired and innate teacher characteristics. The literature shows that studies which identify causal effects are scarce. The literature allows a cautious conclusion that teacher test scores and ability are important predictors of student test scores. Teacher experience is also related to student performance. Especially the first years seem of high importance. Certication in subject, especially in math, is related to higher student test scores. Different roads of teachers to certification do not lead to different student learning gains. Advanced degrees, such as Master degrees, are not associated with higher student test scores. Gender interactions between teachers and students do not seem to be related to student performance. Evidence on national board certified teachers and on race interactions is
inconclusive.

 
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