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Thanks, Alonso. Rockoff et al. is indeed important to this discussion. But here is what they find: "We find modest and marginally significant relationships between student achievement and several nontraditional predictors of teacher effectiveness, including performance on the Haberman selection instrument and a test of math knowledge for teaching." Modest and marginally significant. And that's from one city (New York City). More hopeful? Perhaps. But taken together with the Hanushek results summarized above, I think, I'd still manage expectations. 

Your point that a more meritocratic may attract "better" candidates is certainly plausible and would be interesting to see explored. I wonder if the quality of candidates in Ecuador is changing over time.

Estrada's work in Mexico shows that teachers hired by a rule based on test performance delivered better value added than teachers hired by more discretionary means.