Panel Paper: Unintended Consequences: The Effect of School Accountability on Demand for Teacher Preparation Programs

Saturday, November 4, 2017
Columbian (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mahmoud A.A. Elsayed and Christine H. Roch, Georgia State University

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has declined over the last few years. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of individuals attending education programs in the U.S. decreased by 36.8 percent (Title II: National Teacher Preparation Data, 2016). The factors driving the decline in demand for education majors are still largely unknown. One potential explanation acquiring increasing attention, however, is the increase in school accountability by federal and state governments (Berryhill et al., 2009). Over the last two decades, many states have adopted school accountability systems that emphasize standardized testing, evaluation of teachers based on students’ test scores, and linking teacher pay to student performance. The push for school accountability reached its highest point with the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002.

In this paper, we examine whether the introduction of the NCLB has discouraged individuals from pursuing a career in teaching. Following Dee & Jacob (2011), Dee et al. (2013), and Grissom et al. (2014), we take advantage of the fact that some states had implemented school accountability systems prior to the introduction of the NCLB while other states did not. Particularly, we employ both a Difference-in-Differences (DID) design and a Comparative Interrupted Time-Series (CITS) design in which we compare enrollment in teacher preparation programs in states with prior accountability systems to enrollment in states without prior accountability systems, before and after the introduction of the NCLB. Our results suggest that the NCLB has had no effect on enrollment in education majors. We find some evidence, however, that the NCLB has significantly reduced the percentage of degrees awarded in education majors by postsecondary institutions. These results are consistent across alternative specifications and sample restrictions