Tag: Teacher retention

Doubling down to improve school climate

Doubling down to improve school climate

By Andrea Ochoa, Johns Hopkins University

A recent study by Grant and colleagues evaluated the effect of implementing Restorative Practices and Diplomas Now on school climate and teachers’ intentions to leave their school. Restorative Practices refers to a schoolwide shift away from punitive disciplinary methods and toward open dialogue that allows students to make amends by processing how their behavior affects others. Diplomas Now, another schoolwide reform model, focuses on building collaborative teacher teams, providing professional development, using early warning systems to provide students with tiered supports, and incorporating all supports by providing additional human resources to accomplish the work. It was hypothesized that when implemented together, the interventions would have a positive effect on school climate by improving student-teacher relationships, providing students with relevant and engaging learning opportunities, and increasing teacher retention.

The analytic sample for the study included 25 schools from large urban school districts that were randomly assigned to either implement both interventions or continue business as usual (control group). For the school climate measure, students and teachers responded to a survey designed for each stakeholder group. The intervention was implemented over two years. Because whole-school reform is complex and challenging to implement long-term, schools varied in their level of execution. Thus, Grant and colleagues conducted an intent-to-treat analysis. This means that they compared the average effect of intervention schools to the average effect of control schools without considering differences in implementation fidelity.

The study found that students and teachers in schools that implemented both programs reported perceiving a more positive school climate than in the control group (student ES= +0.15, teacher ES= +0.27). However, the study did not find that implementing both programs was associated with teachers’ intentions to continue working in their schools. Although modest, these findings suggest that implementing Restorative Practices in conjunction with Diplomas Now can have a positive effect on student and teacher perceptions of school climate such that teachers and students believe they have the support they need to be successful.

Web-based teacher coaching develops rigorous mathematics instruction

Web-based teacher coaching develops rigorous mathematics instruction

By Lisa Nehring, Johns Hopkins University

Web-based coaching programs are a cost effective and scalable option for schools looking to improve instructional quality. Brown University’s Matthew Kraft and Harvard University’s Heather Hill evaluated the efficacy of one such program, Mathematical Quality Instruction (MQI) Coaching, for teachers implementing Common Core-aligned math instruction. The randomized field trial evaluated MQI Coaching’s effect on teachers’ instruction and student achievement over a two-year period. The bi-weekly MQI Coaching cycle included teacher selection of MQI practice development, filming of lessons, meeting with an instructional coach to review lesson clips and stock clips from the MQI library, and identification of a plan for improvement.

Two public school districts in a Midwestern state partnered with the authors to evaluate the efficacy of the MQI Coaching model. One was a large, urban district serving 83% low-income families and the other was a smaller suburban district serving 37% low-income families. Participating upper elementary and middle school math teachers were randomly assigned to receive MQI Coaching treatment (n=72) or a control “business as usual” condition (n=70).

The authors reported sizable and sustained effects of MQI on teachers’ retention as well as instruction. MQI coaching increased the likelihood that teachers taught math in the follow-up year by 10.6 percentage points. Additionally, student surveys showed MQI Coaching improved student perceptions of teachers’ instructional practice. However, the authors found no evidence of MQI Coaching’s impacts on student achievement. The authors stressed the importance of the instructional improvements due to MQI, as well as the possibility that students’ abilities were strengthened in ways not captured by standardized testing. Given that the efficacy and development of math coaching models are far behind that of literacy coaching, this work is an important step in understanding the refinement and research necessary of new math coaching models.

Predictors of teacher turnover

Predictors of teacher turnover

By Ashley Grant, Johns Hopkins University

A recently published meta-analysis of 120 studies about the predictors of teacher turnover confirms the influence of teachers’ personal background and school working conditions. Teachers over 28 years old (odds ratio, OR = +0.70), Hispanic teachers (OR = +0.47), and traditional in certified teachers (OR = +0.53) are all less likely to leave. Teachers at schools with evaluation or merit pay systems (OR = +0.95, +0.78) or better working environments (OR = +0.56) are also less likely to leave.

To prior reviews and frameworks of teacher turnover, this study adds a look at accountability and policy impacts (e.g., merit pay). Additionally, its findings imply changes in the labor market from prior reviews – such as the now null impact of teacher gender, Black race/ethnicity, and advanced degree, and school demographic makeup.

Notable limitations, as acknowledged by the authors, include the limited number of studies of certain predictors (e.g. 1 study about retention bonuses) and the limited causal evidence in the studies under review.

The impact of testing on teacher retention

The impact of testing on teacher retention

Reducing the number of high-stakes tests may contribute to the retention of new teachers, but not necessarily those who have been teaching longer, according to a working paper from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) .

Dillon Fuchsman and colleagues used changes in testing practices in Georgia to consider what effect removing high-stakes testing for certain grades had on teacher retention. Over the last four decades, Georgia has employed four different testing models which have included dropping all statewide achievement tests in some grades, excluding some subject areas from testing, and reducing the number of grades in which some subjects were tested. They looked specifically at teachers in grades 1 to 8.

Results showed that, overall, removing testing did not have an impact on how likely teachers were to leave the profession or change schools. However, some positive effects on retention were found for early-career teachers. For teachers with up to four years of experience, the average probability of them leaving fell from 14 to 13 percentage points for teachers in grades 1 and 2, and from 14 to 11 percentage points in grades 6 and 7.