While the most analyzed variable in education production function literature is teacher education and experience, very few research papers focus on teacher achievement. In this paper, the authors explore the potential effect of teacher knowledge in mathematics and reading on student achievement by using a unique international database which includes 14 Sub-Saharan countries. They show that teacher knowledge differs between countries, and between different clusters within countries. Moreover, while in some countries, teacher knowledge does not have a strong impact on pupil achievement, in others like Namibia and South Africa, its effect is very large and significant. In addition, in Tanzania and South Africa, more able teachers are unequally distributed within the country. Lastly, the authors show that teacher achievement is highly correlated with specific teacher characteristics, such as experience or education.
Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013/4 Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all