Teach For America Impact Estimates on Nontested Student Outcomes

Michael Hansen

Recent evidence on teacher productivity suggests teachers meaningfully influence noncognitive student outcomes that are commonly overlooked by narrowly focusing on student test scores. These effects may show similar levels of variation across the teacher workforce and are not significantly correlated with value-added test score gains. Despite a large number of studies investigating the Teach For America (TFA) effect on math and English achievement, little is known about nontested outcomes.

Using administrative data from Miami-Dade County Public Schools to investigate the relationship between being in a TFA classroom and non-test student outcomes, researchers found suggestive evidence that students taught by TFA teachers in elementary and middle school were less likely to miss school due to unexcused absences and suspensions (compared to non-TFA teachers in the same school), although point estimates are very small. Other nontest outcomes were found to be valid but showed no evidence of a TFA effect.

Principal Economist