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The effects of the quality of the teacher and classmates on school performance

11th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Economics of Education

Senior Researcher : Ana Hidalgo Cabrillana

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.


Recent studies have demonstrated that the level of knowledge acquired by students is an important predictor for future performance in the labour market and the economic growth of the country. One idea which both politicians and researchers in the field of education agree on is that the quality of teachers and classmates are two crucial factors in the learning process. However, this consensus is much less when it comes to identifying the aspects determining the quality of teachers and the mechanisms through which the interactions between students in the classroom operate.

The aim of this project is to find out more about these two factors in the education process, using evidence from students in year four of primary school in Spain. Specifically, we want first to analyse the effects of the type of education practices, the evaluation methods and the type of materials used in class, distinguishing between traditional and modern teaching methods, controlling for the effect of observable variables in the teacher (teaching experience and level of training). Secondly, it will explore the effect on school performance of interactions among students in the classroom, analysing whether the effect is linear or not. And, if it is not linear, we will try to establish the mechanism for propagation of the effect among students. Finally, we will analyse the relative importance of both factors. Based on the results, it will be possible to formulate adequate recommendations for education policies.

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