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NCEE Evaluation Brief: Do Low-Income Students have Equal Access to the Highest-Performing Teachers?

Abstract

"Analyses using data from ten selected districts describes the prevalence of teachers ranked in the top 20 percent (highest-performing teachers). The overall patterns indicate that low-income students have unequal access, on average, to the districts' highest-performing teachers at the middle school level but not at the elementary level. Within the ten districts studied, some have an under-representation of the highest-performing teachers in high-poverty elementary and middle schools. However, other districts have such under-representation only at the middle school level, and one district has a disproportionate share of the district's highest-performing teachers in its high-poverty elementary schools.

These analyses were conducted as part of the implementation of an impact evaluation (Impact Evaluation Of Moving High-Performing Teachers to Low-Performing Schools) carried out by Mathematica Policy Research for the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance within the Institute of Education Sciences. The analyses are in support of NCEE's work to advance our understanding of teacher quality and strategies to improve it. The districts that are the subject of this evaluation brief include eight of the ten districts currently participating in the impact evaluation and two additional districts. The impact evaluation is looking at using monetary incentives to attract higher-performing teachers into low-achieving schools. For both this evaluation brief and the impact study, the highest-performing teachers in the tested grades and subjects within school districts are identified by conducting value-added analyses using student test scores. In the impact study, teachers are offered a series of bonus payments totaling up to $20,000 over two years for transferring into and remaining in targeted low-achieving schools within their district. A report from the first year of data collection from the impact evaluation is expected in 2012."

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