Student performance in Sub-Saharan Africa is tragically low. We study the importance of teacher subject knowledge for student performance in this region using unique international assessment data for sixth-grade students and their teachers. To circumvent potential bias due to unobserved student heterogeneity, we exploit variation within students across math and reading. After measurement-error correction, a one-standard-deviation increase in teacher subject knowledge raises student performance by 4% of a standard deviation. Results are robust to adding teacher fixed effects and are not driven by student or teacher sorting. Furthermore, teacher knowledge and school resources appear to be complements in student learning.
teacher knowledge student performance Sub-Saharan Africa