Panel Paper: Do Early-Offers Equal Better Teachers?

Friday, November 3, 2017
Water Tower (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kristine West, St. Catherine University, Lesley Lavery, Macalester College and Caitlyn Keo, University of Minnesota

It is well documented that teachers are the most important in-school predictor of student achievement (Chetty et al. 2011). The effects of student exposure to high quality teaching, assessed via teacher contributions to student achievement, dominate those of other educational interventions such as class size reductions (Rivken et al. 2005). Much has been made recently of several New Teacher Project reports, which suggest that slow hiring timelines, particularly in large urban districts serving primarily low-income and minority student populations, may impede districts’ ability to secure high-quality applicants. We examine the impact of human resource changes in a large urban school district that accelerated the hiring timeline for promising teacher candidates. Specifically, we examine whether external applicants given early job offers in 2014 and 2015 were more effective than other new teachers hired on a more standard timeline in those same years. We find that early offer teachers were more likely to be hired by schools that were less desirable to incumbent teachers. In addition, the candidates granted early offers outperform their peers who accept standard offers on all of the metrics used by the district. Differences generally are not statistically significant in the first year but do reach significant when lifetime averages are employed.