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Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment

February 2004

Thomas S. Dee


This randomized experiment uses data from the Tennessee project STAR and tests the effect of minority students having a teacher from the same minority group. Results show that assignment to a class with an own-race teacher corresponded to a 4-5 percentile-point increase in math scores, and a 3-6 percentile-point increase in reading scores.

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Policy Implications

These results invite further study into the causal mechanism that leads to such results. Once the mechanism is understood, policies that alleviate the barriers of education between teachers and students of differing racial-groups may be implemented to increase student achievement.

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