Skip Navigation

Home Publications Strategies for estimating teacher supply and demand using student and teacher data

Strategies for estimating teacher supply and demand using student and teacher data

by James Lindsay, Yinmei Wan, Alexander Berg-Jacobson, Jill Walston and Jeremy Redford
Strategies for estimating teacher supply and demand using student and teacher data

Every year the U.S. Department of Education reports for each state in the country the grade levels, subject areas, and geographic areas that have experienced teacher shortages (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, 2015). A teacher shortage occurs when the number of teachers available in a specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or geographic area--teacher supply--is less than the number of teachers required in that grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or geographic area--teacher demand. States are required to report shortages to the U.S. Department of Education each year to qualify for federal programs that allow states to offer teachers incentives, such as loan deferment, loan cancelation, and scholarships, to teach in shortage areas. Some states, including Minnesota, require their state education agency to go beyond reporting teacher shortage areas to producing a detailed analysis of teacher staffing patterns (Lindsay, Wan, & Gossin-Wilson, 2009). By law the Minnesota Department of Education must conduct a multimethod teacher supply and demand study every two years (Minnesota Statute ยง 127A.05, subd. 6, 2015). The law requires the department to administer a biennial survey of school districts and a survey of teacher preparation institutions, report findings on patterns of shortages by subject area and region, and produce five-year projections of teacher demand by district. Between 2005 and 2011 the Minnesota Department of Education repeated the same teacher supply and demand study, administering similar surveys and performing similar analyses. Many education stakeholders in Minnesota called for a redesign of the study to change it from an unfocused compilation of summaries of data analyses to a report that answered explicit research questions. Minnesota members of the Midwest Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance partnered with a technical assistance team from Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest to redesign Minnesota's teacher supply and demand study to enhance its utility for stakeholders. A four-step process was followed in redesigning the study: (1) Identifying and refining research questions; (2) Identifying data sources and analytic methods to address each research question; (3) Collecting and preparing data for analysis; and (4) Analyzing data and reporting findings. This report describes the steps in more detail, emphasizing the methods for addressing each research question. Because many data elements used for the study are common across states, this report may help researchers in other states or school districts study teacher staffing patterns in their jurisdictions. An appendix presents the calculations for 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year forecasts of student enrollment by grade.

Online Availability


Connect with REL Midwest