Panel: Evidence to Help Build Coherent Teacher Staffing Policy: Strategies from Pipeline through Retention

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Marriott Balcony A - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Kaitlin Anderson, Michigan State University
Discussants:  Luke C. Miller, University of Virginia and Emily Wiseman, University of Virginia

Straight from the Source: What Can Preservice Surveys Tell Us about Future Teacher Quality
Bingjie Chen1, James Cowan1, Dan Goldhaber2 and Roddy Theobald1, (1)American Institutes for Research, (2)University of Washington

The Company We Keep: Estimating the Relationship between Early Career Teachers’ Peer Quality and Their Own Performance and Mobility
Edward Cremata, University of Southern California and Katharine Strunk, Michigan State University

Transfer Restrictions and the Distribution of Teacher Quality
Katherine Key and Tim Sass, Georgia State University

An Extended Evaluation of Tennessee’s Achievement School District and Local Innovation Zones
Lam Pham, Vanderbilt University, Gary T. Henry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Adam Kho, University of Southern California and Ron Zimmer, University of Kentucky

There is little debate that teachers matter more than any other school-based input into educational outcomes. Because of teachers’ central role in K-12 education, it is not surprising that policymakers from all levels of government – federal, state, local district, school and community – as well as foundations, education advocates and even the judiciary, are embroiled in disputes about how best to establish and maintain an effective teacher labor force. However, even with public attention so focused on the importance of teachers, there remains little in the way of definitive evidence to help inform local school, district and state policymakers about how to manage an adequate and effective teacher workforce.

This panel provides four papers from four separate district and state contexts that examine specific policies to enable local district and state governments to develop, recruit, support and retain an effective teaching force. The first paper assesses the potential for states and districts to use survey measures of preservice teacher quality to recruit candidates who eventually will be more effective classroom teachers. The authors use data from a novel survey of Massachusetts teacher candidates and their supervising practitioners to understand how states and districts can use preservice measures to inform individual teacher selection. The second paper moves from teacher candidate recruitment to the placement of early-career teachers into schools with differential quality peers. Using a longitudinal panel of administrative student-, teacher- and school-level data from the Los Angeles Unified School District, the authors assess how early career teachers’ peer quality, measured by both value-added contributions to student achievement and by observation measures from teacher evaluations, affect teachers’ own performance levels and trajectories and mobility outcomes. The third paper then examines intra-district transfer policies in five Georgia school districts. Also using longitudinal administrative data, this time incorporating detailed information on teachers’ within-district transfer requests, the authors provide evidence about the ways in which staffing policies that differentially limit teachers’ abilities to transfer between schools impact the distribution of teacher quality and student achievement. Finally, the fourth paper in this panel studies a popular method of school improvement – school turnaround – in Tennessee. In particular, this paper provides evidence that different models of school turnaround vary in their impacts on teacher turnover, which in turn mediates the overall effect of turnaround reform on student achievement.

Together, these papers provide evidence on four separate interventions that districts and states can use to manage their teacher workforces: 1) the implementation of preservice teacher and supervising teacher surveys to provide enhanced evidence to inform teacher hiring; 2) assignment policies that place novice teachers into contexts that help improve their own teaching effectiveness; 3) limitations on intra-district transfer policies; and 4) the use of specific turnaround strategies. Policymakers interested in strategies to improve the quality of their workforce will particularly benefit from the evidence presented here. That these studies are situated in four disparate policy contexts – Massachusetts, Los Angeles, Georgia and Tennessee – enhances their usefulness for policymakers across the country.

See more of: Education
See more of: Panel