Eric.ed.gov – Teacher Retention at Low-Performing Schools. Using the Evidence

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In 2004-2005, North Carolina’s average teacher turnover rate was nearly 13 percent, ranging from a high of 29 percent to a low of 4 percent. Turnover among teachers in low-performing schools was substantially higher, with a low of 12 percent and a high of 57 percent. North Carolina has put strategies in place to address teacher retention but how will these strategies impact retention at low-performing schools? This research update summarizes three studies that address issues related to teacher retention. One study examined North Carolina’s use of an annual bonus to certified math, science and special education teachers working in high poverty or academically failing public secondary schools. The study found that: (1) The bonus payment was sufficient to reduce mean turnover rates of the targeted teachers by 12 percent; (2) Responses to the program were concentrated among experienced teachers; and (3) In 2003-04, 17 percent of principals in schools with the program did not know their schools had ever been eligible and 13 percent of teachers receiving the program that year did not know they were eligible. Implications of the study indicate that: (1) Supplemental pay may be a promising approach to retaining teachers in hard to staff subjects and schools; and (2) Greater efforts must be made to promote such programs. A second study examined 272 hard-to-staff schools and found that: (1) Minority, disadvantaged, and academically struggling students are more likely to be in hard-to-staff schools and less likely to have experienced, effective teachers; (2) In 2000-01, in hard-to-staff schools, 71 percent of students performed at grade level on End of Grade or End of Course tests, compared with 80 percent of students in other schools; (3) In hard-to-staff schools, 62 percent of the students are ethnic minorities, compared to 39 percent of the students in other schools; (4) In hard-to-staff schools, 47 percent of students were eligible for free/reduced price lunch compared to 35 percent of those in other schools; (5) Forty-two percent of hard-to-staff schools are middle schools, while only 18 percent of other schools are middle schools; and (6) Teachers in hard-to-staff schools are less satisfied with every aspect of the school environment than their peers. These findings indicate that: (1) Addressing working conditions will be essential to reducing teacher turnover; and (2) Efforts to reduce teacher turnover should target conditions in hard-to-staff schools. A literature review of teacher retention, including both quantitative and qualitative studies found: (1) The issue of retaining teachers is one of retaining quality teachers who positively influence student learning, not just retaining all teachers; (2) Teachers who feel effective with their students are more likely to stay; (3) Teachers in collaborative, collegial environments are more likely to stay; (4) Increased pay is positively associated with retention; (5) Turnover is highest among high poverty, high minority schools; (6) Teachers entering the classroom through Alternative Certification Programs are more likely to leave the classroom; (7) Teachers teaching out-of-field and teaching courses requiring many different preps have lower job satisfaction; (8) Late hiring and lack of information in the hiring process can negatively influence retention; and (9) Poor facilities are associated with increased turnover. The review concludes that many factors contribute to increasing teacher retention, so single-pronged approaches will have much less chance of success. [This report was produced by SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the North Carolina Education Research Data Center at the Center for Child and Family Policy.]

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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