Teacher turnover hurts achievement

Teacher turnover hurts student achievement, concludes a study presented at a Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research conference, reports Teacher Beat.

Less-effective teachers are more likely to leave troubled schools, an earlier analysis found. But any benefits from losing the least-effective teachers are outweighed by having a staff in constant flux, the new research suggests.

• For each analysis, students taught by teachers in the same grade-level team in the same school did worse in years where turnover rates were higher, compared with years in which there was less teacher turnover.

• An increase in teacher turnover by 1 standard deviation corresponded with a decrease in math achievement of 2 percent of a standard deviation; students in grade levels with 100 percent turnover were especially affected, with lower test scores by anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent of a standard deviation based on the content area.

The turnover effect was greater in schools with more low-achieving and black students, the study found.

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Comments

  1. Obi-Wandreas says:

    A few years ago, a new math teacher in my building left after a few months. The group of 7th grade studens she taught would go on to have six different teachers between 7th and 8th grade, including long term subs. One experienced teacher, on his first day of subbing, was offered the tenure-track position and turned it down.

    This is the flip side of the coin when discussing the removal of ineffective teachers. In sn urban district like mine, if you ask a student who the adult male in their life is, you will often be told that you are. For students who desperately need stability, it is often better to keep a mediocre teacher than to suffer months of chaos only to end up with a new mediocre teacher.

    • Michael E. Lopez says:

      For students who desperately need stability, it is often better to keep a mediocre teacher than to suffer months of chaos only to end up with a new mediocre teacher.

      This is a really good point, OB1. It should go in the great book of oft-overlooked truths.

  2. Would someone please tweet this to Michelle Rhee and Frances Gallo?

  3. Until superintendents address the teacher turnover as a systemic failure of principals, this will not change.

    I know of schools where 5 of 7 math teachers are leaving. HR won’t even blink. Teacher turnover can usually, but not always, be ameliorated by effective administrators. But if their supervisors (the superintendents) won’t recognize the damage being caused, it’s futile.