Impacts of the Teach For America Investing in Innovation Scale-Up

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Feb 08, 2017
Authors
Melissa A. Clark, Eric Isenberg, Albert Y. Liu, Libby Makowsky, and Marykate Zukiewicz

Key Findings:

  • First- and second-year Teach For America (TFA) corps members recruited and trained during the Investing in Innovation scale-up were as effective as other teachers in the same high-poverty schools in teaching both reading and math.
  • TFA teachers in lower elementary grades (prekindergarten through grade 2) had a positive, statistically significant effect on students’ reading achievement of 0.12 standard deviations, or about 1.3 additional months of learning for the average student in these grades nationwide.
  • TFA teachers in grades 1 and 2 had a positive effect on students’ math achievement of 0.16 standard deviations, or about 1.5 additional months of learning. This difference was almost statistically significant at conventional levels (p-value = 0.054).
  • We did not find statistically significant impacts for other subgroups of TFA teachers that we examined.

The study found that, on average, TFA corps members hired in the first two years of the scale-up period were as effective as other teachers in the same high-poverty schools in both reading and math. TFA teachers in lower elementary grades (prekindergarten through grade 2) had a positive, statistically significant effect on students' reading achievement relative to other teachers in the same schools. Similarly, TFA teachers in grades 1 and 2 had a positive effect on student math achievement of 0.16 standard deviations, or about 1.5 additional months of learning. This difference was almost statistically significant at conventional levels (p-value = 0.054). We did not find statistically significant impacts for TFA teachers in upper elementary grades (3 through 5) in reading or math.