Associate Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia University
Selecting more effective teachers among job applicants during the hiring process could be a highly cost-effective means of improving educational quality, but there is little research that links information gathered during the hiring process to subsequent teacher performance. We study the relationship among applicant characteristics, hiring outcomes, and teacher performance in Washington DC Public Schools (DCPS). We take advantage of detailed data on a multi-stage application process that includes applicant performance on series written assessments, a personal interview, and a sample lesson, as well as the fact that all DCPS teachers are evaluated annually on multiple criteria. Successful completion of all steps in the application process is strongly related to eventual hire in DCPS, but, conditional on completion, performance during the hiring process does not predict whether a teacher is hired. Measures of performance during the hiring process, as well as some self-reported characteristics, have significant power to predict teachers’ performance evaluations.