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District-Level Supports Associated With Retaining Teachers in Michigan School Districts

Region:
Midwest
Abstract:

Description: In 2016, the Michigan Department of Education launched its Top 10 in 10 strategic initiative that aims to elevate Michigan among the top 10 education states in 10 years. A main focus of the initiative is to ensure that all students have equal access to quality teachers. This goal is impeded by a trend observed in many states: Experienced teachers tend to leave low-performing, high-poverty school districts to take vacant positions in better performing school districts that serve lower poverty student populations.

The Michigan Department of Education is taking several steps to help lower performing school districts reverse this trend. To help the department in this work, the Midwest Alliance for Improving Teacher Preparation and REL Midwest are conducting a study to identify promising district-level supports for teachers (that is, policies, practices, or programs) that may improve teacher retention.

Research Questions:

  1. Does teacher retention in Michigan vary across characteristics of teachers, schools, and districts?
  2. To what extent are Michigan public school teachers aware of teacher-oriented supports within the district and what are their perceptions of these supports?
    1. How do teachers' awareness and perceptions of these supports vary across teacher characteristics?
    2. How do teachers' awareness and perceptions of these supports vary across school and district characteristics?
    3. To what extent do teachers' awareness and perceptions of these supports vary both within and across districts?
  3. To what extent are teachers' awareness and perceptions of district-level teacher-oriented supports associated with teacher retention?
    1. Do the associations vary across teacher characteristics?
    2. Do the associations vary across school and district characteristics?

Study Design: To answer these research questions, REL Midwest will obtain several types of data from the Michigan Department of Education. These include teacher certification and school staffing data, district- and school-level student demographic and enrollment data, and survey responses from teachers about their awareness and perceptions of their districts' teacher-oriented supports.

REL Midwest's project team will use school staffing data to calculate year-to-year teacher retention rates for schools and districts. They will then calculate descriptive statistics to show retention rates across districts that vary by region of the state, locale type, and characteristics of the student populations. Cross-tabulations will be presented in tables, figures, and maps.

Next, the project team will review teachers' survey responses regarding their awareness and perceptions of their district's teacher-oriented supports. These survey frequencies will be analyzed alongside district-level data to understand how these strategies and supports vary across region of the state, locale type, and characteristics of the student populations.

Finally, the project team will develop multilevel statistical models that examine the associations between teacher retention and teachers' awareness and perceptions of their district's teacher-oriented supports, while taking into account other teacher and school characteristics and the clustering of teachers within schools and districts.

Projected Release Date: Fall 2021

Partnership or Research Alliance: Midwest Alliance for Improving Teacher Preparation

Related Products: This project will result in three products: a 15-page research report, a four-page summary of findings, and a one-page summary of findings.

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:

Jim Lindsay and Jennie Jiang
American Institutes for Research