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

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
Mar 04, 2015
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.
  • We did not find statistically significant impacts for other subgroups of TFA teachers that we examined.

In 2010, Teach For America (TFA) launched a major expansion effort, funded in part by a five-year Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant of $50 million from the U.S. Department of Education. This study examines the effectiveness of TFA elementary school teachers in the second year of the scale-up, relative to other teachers in the same grades and schools. 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. Although 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, this was not true for TFA teachers in upper elementary grades (3 through 5) in reading, or for any grade level in math.