WWC review of this study

Evaluation of Teach For America in Texas schools.

Turner, H. M., Goodman, D., Adachi, E., Brite, J., & Decker, L. E. (2012). San Antonio, TX: Edvance Research, Inc.

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    11,202
     Students
    , grades
    4-8
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: August 2016

English language arts achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 4–5, novice teachers;
1,660 students

678.69

674.57

No

--
More Outcomes

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 6–8, novice teachers;
9,542 students

754.89

751.1

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 6–8, experienced teachers;
2,556 students

774.55

764.19

Yes

 
 
4

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Reading

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 4–5, experienced teachers;
596 students

683.11

687.2

No

--
Mathematics achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Mathematics

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 6–8, novice teachers;
8,056 students

742.93

725.99

Yes

 
 
7
More Outcomes

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Mathematics

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 4–5, novice teachers;
1,090 students

688.65

678.66

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Mathematics

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 6–8, experienced teachers;
1,796 students

764.09

740.85

Yes

 
 
11

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Mathematics

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 4–5, experienced teachers;
846 students

697.74

694.24

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 16% English language learners

  • 95% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%
  • Race
    Black
    20%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    80%
    Not Hispanic
    20%

  • Rural, Urban
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    Texas

Setting

The study took place in more than 400 elementary and middle schools (“campuses”) in four regions of Texas: Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio.

Study sample

Average baseline characteristics varied across samples and groups. Among the sample, 49%–54% were female, 71%–88% were Hispanic, 12%–29% were African American, 94%–97% were economically disadvantaged, and 10%–22% were limited English proficient.

Intervention Group

Students were taught by TFA corps members who were in either their first or second year of TFA assignment. Corps members chosen through a highly selective process undergo a 5-week summer training before beginning a 2-year teaching assignment in a low-income urban or rural public school. The authors did not report any deviations from the TFA model.

Comparison Group

The study authors created a matched comparison group from within Texas public schools using students taught by teachers who did not participate in TFA and had less than 3 years of teaching experience. The authors first used propensity score matching to identify 924 comparison campuses matched based on campus-level demographic variables and prior-year achievement variables; they then added 717 campuses that had not been matched but were located in the same districts as the campuses employing TFA participants.39 In a second stage of propensity score matching, students were matched within grade level and teacher experience category (novice versus experienced) based on student-level demographic and prior-year achievement variables.

Support for implementation

TFA corps members received the typical support prescribed by the TFA model. The TFA support was grounded in classroom leadership training. In addition to observations during the 5-week summer training, mentors observed corps members at least four times a year during the 2-year assignment and provided support through coaching, instructional demonstrations, and discussions.

 

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