Friday, March 23, 2012

Matthew Ronfeldt finds that teacher turnover, on average, is harmful to student achievement

Tags: digital signage, educational studies, k-12, ronfeldt, teacher education

The March 21, 2012, Education Week Teacher Beat blog post by Stephen Sawchuk reported on Matthew Ronfeldt's research on the effects of teacher turnover on student achievement. Using New York City test-score data from fourth and fifth grade students over an eight year period, they found that students in the same school did worse in years when turnover rates were higher, compared with years in which there was less teacher turnover. The effects were seen in both large and small schools and the most significant negative effects were found in schools with low-achieving and black students.

"Turnover must have an impact beyond simply whether incoming teachers are better than those they replaced—even the teachers outside of this redistribution are somehow harmed by it," the authors conclude. "Though there may be cases where turnover is actually helpful to student achievement, on average, it is harmful."

The paper, entitled "How Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement,"  was presented at a National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research conference in January 2012.

Matthew Ronfeldt is an assistant professor.

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