WWC review of this study

Alternative routes to teaching: The impacts of Teach for America on student achievement and other outcomes.

Glazerman, S., Mayer, D., & Decker, P. (2006). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 25(1), 75–96. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ759352

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,715
     Students
    , grades
    1-5
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: August 2016

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

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS): Reading

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 1-5;
1,715 students

28.17

27.61

No

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

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS): Math

Teach for America (TFA) vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Grades 1-5;
1,715 students

30.44

28.01

Yes

 
 
6

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 95% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%
  • Race
    Black
    67%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    26%
    Not Hispanic
    74%

  • Rural, Urban
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    California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas

Setting

The study took place in 17 schools located in six TFA regions: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles (Compton school district), the Mississippi Delta, and New Orleans.

Study sample

Among the students, 49% were female, 20% were overage for their grade, and 95% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The racial/ethnic demographics were as follows: 67% were African American; 26% were Hispanic; 4% were unknown; and 3% were another race/ethnicity, non-Hispanic.

Intervention Group

Students were taught by TFA teachers. Most teachers were current TFA corps members within their 2-year teaching commitment, but some were TFA alumni who had completed the commitment and continued teaching. The median years of teaching experience was 2. Among TFA teachers, 70% had a bachelor’s degree from a most, highly, or very competitive college or university.30 By the end of the study year, 51% of TFA teachers had received a regular or initial teacher certification, and 25% had either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. The median age at the time of the study was 24 years, and 69% of TFA teachers were female, 67% were White, 16% were African American, 11% were another race/ethnicity, and 6% were Hispanic. The authors did not report any deviations from the TFA model.

Comparison Group

Students were taught by individuals who had never been a TFA corps member. The median years of teaching experience was 6. Among the comparison teachers, 2% had a bachelor’s degree from a most, highly, or very competitive college or university. By the end of the study year, 67% of comparison group teachers had received a regular or initial teacher certification, and 55% had either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in education. The median age of comparison group teachers at the time of the study was 35 years, and 87% of comparison group teachers were female, 76% were African American, 11% were White, 11% were Hispanic, and 3% were another race/ethnicity.

Support for implementation

TFA teachers received the typical support prescribed by the TFA model, which includes attending a 5-week summer institute prior to becoming a classroom teacher and receiving ongoing support during the 2-year teacher commitment from local TFA staff who conduct classroom observations and connect corps members with resources to address their specific professional development needs.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Antecol, H., Eren, O., & Ozbeklik, S. (2013a). The effect of Teach for America on the distribution of student achievement in primary school: Evidence from a randomized experiment. Economics of Education Review, 37, 113–125.

  • Antecol, H., Eren, O., & Ozbeklik, S. (2013b). The effect of Teach for America on the distribution of student achievement in primary school: Evidence from a randomized experiment (Discussion Paper 7296). Bonn, Germany: IZA.

  • Decker, P., Mayer, D., & Glazerman, S. (2004). Quality in the classroom: How does Teach For America measure up? Issue brief #1. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research.

  • Decker, P. T., Mayer, D. P., & Glazerman, S. (2004a). The effects of Teach for America on students: Findings from a national evaluation. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved from http://www.mathematica-mpr.com.

  • Decker, P. T., Mayer, D. P., & Glazerman, S. (2004b). The effects of Teach for America on students: Findings from a national evaluation (Discussion Paper 1285-04. Madison: Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

 

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