David D. Liebowitz

Assistant Professor of Educational Methodology, Policy and LeadershipUniversity of Oregon

Working Papers

New schools and new classmates: The disruption and peer group effects of school reassignment (with Darryl V. Hill, Rodney P. Hughes, Matthew A. Lenard and Lindsay C. Page)

Abstract and working paper link coming soon

Descriptive evidence on school leaders' prior professional experiences and instructional effectiveness (with Lorna Porter)

In this descriptive paper, we document the professional experiences, personal characteristics and prior instructional effectiveness of Oregon's principals and assistant principals between 2006 and 2019. We highlight the diversity of roles educators assume prior to entering school leadership. We find that school leaders who have prior teaching experience in tested grades and subjects do not raise student achievement at substantively or statistically meaningful higher rates than their peers. We document that female principals and assistant principals have become more representative of the teaching workforce, but that there have been almost no changes in the racial/ethnic composition of school leaders in Oregon. Finally, we observe minimal differences in female and non-White assistant principals' time-to-entry into the principalship. Our findings provide insights on potential points of intervention during the educator career trajectory to attract and develop more effective and demographically representative school leaders.

Replication files: coming soon

Annenberg Institute EdWorkingPaper 20-260

The effects of higher-stakes teacher evaluation on office disciplinary referrals (with Lorna Porter and Dylan Bragg)

The effects of imposing accountability pressures on public school teachers are empirically indeterminate. In this paper, we study the effects of accountability in the context of teacher responses to student behavioral infractions in the aftermath of teacher evaluation reforms. We leverage cross-state variation in the timing of state policy implementation to estimate whether teachers change the rate at which they remove students from their classrooms. We find that higher-stakes teacher evaluation had no causal effect on the rates of disciplinary referrals, and we find no evidence of heterogeneous effects for grades subject to greater accountability pressures or in schools facing differing levels of disciplinary infractions. Our results are precisely estimated and robust to a battery of assumption and specification checks.

Replication files: Zip folder

Annenberg Institute EdWorkingPaper 19-159

Teacher evaluation for accountability and growth: Should policy treat them as complements or substitutes?

U.S. policy frameworks treat teacher evaluation as balancing two aims: accountability and skill development. I develop a model of teacher effectiveness and detail the conditions that determine joint-aim appraisal systems' contribution to teacher productivity. I simulate the long-term effects of a set of teacher evaluation policies. Policies that treat evaluation for accountability and evaluation for growth as substitutes outperform those that treat them as complements. I conclude that an optimal teacher evaluation policy would impose accountability on teachers performing below a defined level and above which teachers would be subject to no accountability pressure but would receive intensive instructional supports.

Replication files: Stata code

Annenberg Institute EdWorkingPaper 20-160

Teacher evaluation for growth and accountability: Under what conditions does it improve student outcomes?

Teacher evaluation policies seek to improve student outcomes by improving teachers’ skills and increasing their effort. Most present-day evaluation policies in the United States aim to impose accountability pressures and provide supports that generate professional growth. Proper policy design has been understood as successfully weighting the accountability and growth dimensions of teacher evaluation. I detail the conditions that determine whether joint-aim teacher evaluation policies will improve student outcomes. I then assess the extent to which these conditions are likely to be met in light of the causal evidence base from the education, economics, social psychology and management literatures. Informed by this empirical review, I conclude with recommendations to more clearly delineate the accountability and growth aims of teacher evaluation.

Google Drive