The TNTP Teaching Fellows program involves a partnership with seven school districts that have large percentages of high-needs students, i.e., Baltimore City Public Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Chicago Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, Fort Worth Independent School District, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, and New Orleans public and charter schools. The study sample included 3,251 fellows who enrolled in the program across these 7 districts (p. A-5). Matched comparison teachers derived from these districts as well.
In both the first-year and second-year teachers sample, about half the students in their classrooms were female. Among the students in the first-year teachers sample,18% were English Language learners, 87% were of minority race/ethnicity, 74% were eligible for free- and reduced price lunch, and 11% had Individualized Education Plans. Among the students in the second-year teachers sample,21% were English Language learners, 86% were of minority race/ethnicity, 72% were eligible for free- and reduced price lunch, and 17% had Individualized Education Plans. In the first-year teacher sample, the average age of the teachers was about 23 years old; in the second year sample, the average age was about 27 years old.
The TNTP Teaching Fellows program has four components: 1) recruitment and selection of fellows, 2) summer preservice training, 3) inservice training, and 4) the Assessment of Classroom Effectiveness (ACE). Preservice training occurs for 5 to 8 weeks in the summer (about 75 hours), after fellows complete four self-guided online modules with curricula on foundational principles of teaching. This study included TNTP cohorts from 2010 to 2013, and beginning with the 2012 cohort, the training included "Fast Start" curricula. The Fast Start training focused upon delivering lessons clearly, maintaining high academic expectations, maintaining high behavioral expectations, and maximizing instructional time. Fast Start also required 26 hours of intensive, hands-on practice. TNTP Teaching Fellows completed inservice training and licensure during their first year of teaching, which involved biweekly professional development seminars in their grade and content area. The seminar series included 16 sessions, about 3 hours each, and was called Teaching for Results. At the end of the inservice training, TNTP Teaching Fellows were assessed through teachers' completion of inservice training, principal's evaluation, classroom observations, student learning outcomes, and completion of state regulatory and licensing requirements.
Matched comparison teachers were not trained by TNTP or Teach for America, and had the same years of experience as the TNTP intervention group. Matching characteristics were teacher's age, race or ethnicity, and gender. The authors also matched teachers on their classroom characteristics, i.e., average of students' prior-year test scores (z-scores), grade level, subject, percentage of English Language learners (ELLs), percentage of minority students, percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch (FRPL), percentage of students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and percentage of female students. The authors also matched students on the following characteristics: age, ELL status, IEP status, FRPL status, gender, and race/ethnicity. If one matching variable was not provided by the district, that variable could not be used for the purposes of matching. Impact models only used variables that were available from all 7 districts. Students were matched with replacement, and could be matched with up to 2 comparison students with the nearest propensity scores, even if the comparison students were matched with a different intervention student.
Support for implementation
The TNTP Teaching Fellows program received an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to support the program implementation. The program received support from the seven participating districts in supporting data collection and support for implementation fidelity. Program supports include the 6-8 week preservice training in the summer and subsequent inservice training in the teachers' first year of teaching.