This study has been completed.
September 2010 – March 2018
Mathematica Policy Research
American Institutes for Research
There is a persistent achievement gap in the United States where students from high-income families outperform those from low-income families on achievement tests. There is also substantial variation in the effectiveness of teachers available to students. A key question for policy makers is whether there is inequitable access to effective teachers and, if so, could providing equal access to effective teachers reduce the achievement gap. This study provided information about the extent to which disadvantaged students received less-effective teaching than other students. The study also examined teacher mobility in participating districts and how patterns of mobility might contribute to unequal access.
This study was descriptive, documenting low-income students' access to effective teachers, as measured by value added across the 2008–2009 through 2012–2013 school years in 26 geographically-dispersed school districts. The study also described district polices designed to address an inequitable distribution of effective teaching implemented during the same school years, 2008-2009 through 2012-2013. Lastly, the study examined teacher mobility patterns within participating districts.
Data collection included district administrative records such as student achievement to conduct value-added analyses (to address the first research question), as well as annual semi-structured interviews with district leadership to provide information on district policies. District personnel data was also collected to examine teacher mobility within participating districts (to address the second research question).
The final report based on five school years of data (2008–2009 to 2012–2013), titled Do Low-Income Students Have Equal Access to Effective Teachers? Evidence from 26 Districts, and a study snapshot were released in October 2016.
Other publications related to this study are listed below:
Do Disadvantaged Students Get Less Effective Teaching? A brief synthesizing recent IES research studies on effective teaching, and video (January 2014)
Access to Effective Teaching for Disadvantaged Students A report based on three school years of data (2008–2009 to 2010–2011) from 29 districts, a study snapshot, and video (November 2013)