Last updated on: 5/31/2012 | Author:

John N. Friedman, PhD Biography

Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research
Pro to the question "Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?"

“One method [of measuring teacher quality] is to evaluate teachers based on their impacts on students’ test scores, commonly termed the ‘value-added’ (VA) approach. A teacher’s value-added is defined as the average test-score gain for his or her students, adjusted for differences across classrooms in student characteristics such as prior scores. School districts from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles have begun to use VA to evaluate teachers. Proponents argue that using VA can improve student achievement… while critics argue that test score gains are poor proxies for a teacher’s true quality…

We find that students assigned to higher VA teachers are more successful in many dimensions. They are more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, live in better neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers.”

Cowritten with Raj Chetty and Jonah E. Rockoff, “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood [Executive Summary],” Harvard University Research Computing Group website, Dec. 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, July 2009-present
  • Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research, Apr. 6, 2009-present (Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Aging and Health, 2006-2007)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow: Scholar in Health Policy, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of California at Berkeley, Aug. 2007-July, 2009
  • Undergraduate Advisor, Economics and Applied Math, Harvard University, 2004-2007
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, 2002-2007
  • Research Assistant to Professor Jeremy Stein, Harvard University, 2005
  • Research Assistant to Professor David I. Laibson, Harvard University, 2000-2004
  • John Eliot Fellow, Jesus College, Cambridge University, 2002-2003
  • Prize Student, Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge University, 2002-2003
  • Kawamura Visiting Fellow, Japan, Summer 2002
  • Recipient, John Williams Prize, Harvard University, 2002
  • Recipient, Thomas T. Hoopes Prize, Harvard University, 2002
  • Elected to membership, Phi Beta Kappa Society, 2001
  • Investment Banking Analyst, Lehman Brothers, Summer 2000
  • PhD, Economics, Harvard University, 2007
  • MA, Statistics, Harvard University, 2002
  • BA, summa cum laude, Economics, Harvard College, 2002
  • Recipient, Elliott and Mary Perkins Prize, Harvard College, 2000
  • Recipient, Detur Prize, Harvard College, 1999
  • Full name is John Norton Friedman
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?