Assistant Professor of Education & Economics, Brown University
Structural changes in the economy over the last half century have led to sustained growth in jobs that require working with new information, problem solving and performing unstructured tasks. This paper examines the degree to which teachers are developing the character and complex cognitive abilities that are increasing in demand by employers. We leverage data from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project to estimate teacher effects on students’ growth mindset, grit, and effort in class, as well as their performance on cognitively demanding open-ended tasks in math and reading. Exploiting the random assignment of class rosters among sets of general elementary teachers in the same grades and schools, we find substantial variation in teacher effects on character and complex task performance of similar magnitude to teacher effects on state standardized tests. We also find weak relationships between teacher effects on state standardized tests, character, and complex tasks suggesting that teacher effectiveness is multidimensional.