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EA15-536-2

Evaluation of Teach For America:


2014-2015
Department of Evaluation and Assessment

Mike Miles
Superintendent of Schools

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Evaluation of Teach For America:


2014-2015
Approved Report of the
Department of Evaluation and Assessment
EA15-536-2
January 2015
This report was originally prepared for Commit! and the Texas Instruments Foundation. The report has been
updated to add abstract and summary/recommendation sections.

Nolan Rett Mickelson


Amber McEnturff

Joan Bush

Nancy Kihneman, Ph.D.

Manager Program Evaluation

Director Program Evaluation

Cecilia Oakeley, Ph.D.


Assistant Superintendent Evaluation and Assessment

Mike Miles
Superintendent of Schools

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Table of Contents
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................................... 1
PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE EVALUATION ........................................................................................ 1
MAJOR EVALUATION QUESTIONS AND RESULTS ................................................................................. 2
How many first-year teachers were in the Dallas ISD each year, and how many of these were TFA
teachers? ................................................................................................................................................... 2
Methodology .......................................................................................................................................... 2
How does classroom effectiveness of TFA teachers compare with other first-year teachers in the
district? ...................................................................................................................................................... 3
Methodology .......................................................................................................................................... 3
Results ................................................................................................................................................... 4
How does the STAAR performance of students of TFA teachers compare with students of other
teachers in the district?.............................................................................................................................. 7
Methodology .......................................................................................................................................... 7
Results ................................................................................................................................................... 8
How does the retention of TFA teachers compare with non-TFA teachers in the district over time? ..... 25
Methodology ........................................................................................................................................ 25
Results ................................................................................................................................................. 25
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................................................................................... 28
Summary .............................................................................................................................................. 28
Recommendation ................................................................................................................................. 29

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

List of Tables
Table

Page

Number of First-Year Teachers and TFA teachers by School Year Cohort .............. 2

Number of Teachers with Valid CEI Scores by Cohort and Subject ......................... 4

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Mathematics


Grades 4 to 5 .......................................................................................................... 12

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Mathematics


Grades 6 to 8 .......................................................................................................... 13

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Algebra I


End-of-Course Exam ............................................................................................... 13

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Reading


Grades 4 to 5 .......................................................................................................... 17

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Reading Grades 6 to 8 ......... 17

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR English I


End-of-Course Exam ............................................................................................... 18

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR English II


End-of-Course Exam ............................................................................................... 19

10

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Science Grade 5 .................. 22

11

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Science Grade 8 .................. 22

12

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Biology


End-of-Course Exam ............................................................................................... 23

13

Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Social Studies


Grade 8 ................................................................................................................... 25

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

List of Figures
Figure

Page

Average CEIs by Cohort and Content Area for TFA vs. Non-TFA Teachers ............ 5

Percentage That Met Expectations on Spring 2014 STAAR for Students of


First-Year TFA and Non-TFA Teachers .................................................................... 9

Percentage That Met Expectations on Spring 2014 STAAR for Students of


Second-Year TFA and Non-TFA Teachers. 9

Percentage That Met Expectations on Spring 2014 STAAR for Students of


Third- through Fifth-Year TFA and Non-TFA Teachers 9

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Mathematics for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grades 3 to 5) 10

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Mathematics for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grades 6 to 8) .......................................................... 11

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Algebra 1 EOC for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers. 11

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Reading for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grades 3 to 5) .......................................................... 14

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Reading for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grades 6 to 8) .......................................................... 15

10

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR English 1 EOC for Students


of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers.... 15

11

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR English 2 EOC for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers ................................................................................... 16

12

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Science for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grade 5) ..... 20

13

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Science for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grade 8).. 20

14

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Biology EOC for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers. 21

15

Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Social Studies for Students of


TFA and Non-TFA Teachers (Grade 8) .................................................................. 24

16

2009-10 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began ..................................................... 26

17

2010-11 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began ..................................................... 27

18

2011-12 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began ..................................................... 27


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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

19

2013-14 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began ..................................................... 28

20

2014-15 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began ..................................................... 28

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

EVALUATION OF TEACH FOR AMERICA:


2014-2015
Project Evaluators: Nolan Rett Mickelson
Amber McEnturff

ABSTRACT
Teach For America (TFA) is a program that recruits recent college graduates and prepares them
to teach for two years in public schools. Since the 2009-2010 school year, 563 TFA teachers have
worked in the Dallas Independent School District (ISD). Analyses of variance comparing the effectiveness
of each cohort of TFA teachers in their first and second years to other teachers in their first or second
years with the Dallas ISD indicated that most TFA cohorts were more effective, on average, than the
comparison groups for both years. Several differences were statistically significant in mathematics and
science. Using data from the 2013-14 school year in a series of logistic regressions, the evaluators
assessed the impact of various teacher and student characteristics on students mathematics, reading,
science, and social studies STAAR passing rates. For mathematics, having a TFA teacher was
associated with significantly higher odds of passing across all grade levels after adjusting for student
characteristics and teacher experience; results varied for other subjects and grade levels. TFA interns
have returned to teach in the Dallas ISD for a second year at very high rates. As expected, a greater
proportion of non-TFA than TFA teachers remained in district classrooms for three years or longer.

PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE EVALUATION


Teach For America (TFA) is a program that recruits high-achieving recent college graduates and
prepares them to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. TFA teachers have worked in the
Dallas Independent School District (ISD) since the 2009-2010 school year. The purpose of this report is to
summarize the classroom effectiveness and retention of TFA teachers compared with other teachers in
the district and to review the performance of their students on the State of Texas Assessments of
Academic Readiness (STAAR). This report was originally produced for Commit! and the Texas
Instruments Foundation. It has been updated to include abstract and summary/recommendation sections.

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

MAJOR EVALUATION QUESTIONS AND RESULTS


How many first-year teachers were in the Dallas ISD each year, and how many
of these were TFA teachers?
Methodology
The Dallas ISDs Human Capital Management Department provided a list of TFA teachers with
their hire dates. The group of first-year non-TFA teachers included: alternative certification (AC) interns
who were part of the Dallas ISDs AC program, AC interns who were part of AC programs outside the
district, certified teachers who had recently graduated from a traditional college or university program, and
certified teachers with prior experience teaching in other Texas districts. Cohort was defined as the first
school year an employee was a teacher with the Dallas ISD.1

Limitations
Sample size in subgroups was a limitation throughout the analyses. In some cases, comparisons
between TFA and non-TFA teachers were not possible due to insufficient sample sizes. For analyses of
student outcomes, only subgroups with at least two teachers were included. Though student sample sizes
were typically large enough to make statistical conclusions, a large number of students sometimes
represented a very small number of teachers. Therefore, results of subgroup analyses with small teacher
sample sizes should be interpreted with caution.
Upon consultation with representatives from TFA, 22 TFA teachers were discovered that were not
included in the Dallas ISDs list of first-year teachers. These teachers were evenly distributed across
content areas and grade levels, therefore not representing a large portion of any particular subgroup. The
corrections from TFA were not received in time to update the current analysis but were documented to
include in future TFA analyses.

Results
Table 1 shows the number of first-year teachers in the Dallas ISD by school year cohort. The
number of first-year teachers and first-year TFA teachers increased over time.
Table 1: Number of First-Year Teachers and TFA Teachers by School Year Cohort
Total Number of
Number of 1st Year
Percentage
st
School Year
1 Year Teachers
TFA Teachers
(%) of Total
2009-10
566
68
12.0
2010-11
707
97
13.7
2011-12
496
43
8.7
2012-13
1,363
84
6.2
2013-14
1,898
168
8.9
2014-15
1,124
103
9.2
Note: Number of TFA teachers included only TFA teachers found in the list of first-year teachers.
1

Cohort was determined using the teachers hire date into the Dallas ISD. For example, a teacher hired during the
summer preceding the 2013-14 school year or anytime during the 2013-14 school year would be included in the
2013-14 cohort.

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

How does classroom effectiveness of TFA teachers compare with other


first-year teachers in the district?
Methodology
The evaluator conducted a series of Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) to determine if differences
in teaching effectiveness existed between TFA interns and all other teachers new to the Dallas ISD each
year from 2009-10 to 2013-14. Analyses were conducted separately for Classroom Effectiveness Indices
(CEIs) in Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science for both the first and second years of teaching.2 CEIs
indicate the relative effectiveness of a teacher after adjusting for student ethnicity, language proficiency,
gender, socio-economic status, and academic performance from the previous year. Each year, CEIs are
calculated to have a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10. Because the first four cohorts year 1 and
year 2 effectiveness comparisons were discrete and included the same teachers in both comparisons
increasing the likelihood of finding a significant result when one may not exist the evaluator selected a
statistical significance level of .025 for each statistical test (.05/2). The last cohort, 2013-14, had one year
of CEIs available and maintained a significance level of .05. The evaluator measured effect size by
calculating Eta-squared (2), a measure of the practical influence that the type of teacher (TFA or
non-TFA) had on relative classroom effectiveness. Table 2 shows the number of TFA and Non-TFA
first-year teachers with a valid CEI score for the first and second years of teaching by subject and cohort.3

2 CEI scores are available for Foreign Language and Computer Science, but the extremely low number of teachers
with scores on those indices would not allow for valid comparisons.
3 CEI scores measure teachers effectiveness relative to other teachers in the district each year and cannot be
compared from year to year. Year 1 and year 2 CEIs were available for each cohort except the 2013-14 cohort, which
had recently begun a second year in the Dallas ISD.

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Table 2: Number of Teachers with Valid CEI Scores by Cohort and Subject
Year 1
Year 2
Cohort and
Subject
TFA
Non-TFA
TFA
Non-TFA
2009-10
Language Arts
23
93
25
107
Mathematics
18
110
21
132
Science
5
32
5
34
2010-11
Language Arts
33
110
30
127
Mathematics
31
109
28
140
Science
10
53
14
50
2011-12
Language Arts
12
68
10
78
Mathematics
14
67
13
76
Science
11
21
10
28
2012-13
Language Arts
24
179
28
218
Mathematics
25
173
23
225
Science
22
85
26
141
2013-14
Language Arts
60
447
--Mathematics
59
379
--Science
44
236
--Note: The number of teachers receiving CEI scores may vary from
year 1 to year 2 within each cohort due to teacher attrition and the
number of teachers meeting the criteria for CEI calculation.

Results
The results from all 27 CEI comparisons are found in Figure 1. In general, TFA teachers were
more effective than non-TFA teachers in teaching language arts, mathematics, and science in both their
first and second years. No differences among teacher-types were statistically significant in language arts.
For all three subjects, the average effectiveness of both TFA and non-TFA teachers in the first four
cohorts (2009-10 through 2012-13) improved relative to all other teachers in the district during the second
year of teaching.

Language Arts
In Language Arts, first-year TFA teachers generally received slightly higher first-year CEI scores
than their non-TFA counterparts across all cohorts except the most recent, 2013-14 cohort (see Figure 1).
None of the comparisons were statistically significant. No first-year TFA or non-TFA average scores
eclipsed 50, the average for all district teachers.
Second-year TFA teachers had slightly higher CEI scores than non-TFA second-year teachers
with one exception: Non-TFA teachers in the 2009-10 cohort scored higher, on average, in their second
year than TFA teachers (M = 49.9 and M = 48.9, respectively). The TFA second-year teachers from the
2011-12 (M = 50.0) and 2012-13 (M = 50.6) cohorts scored at or above the district mean of 50. As with
the first year, differences among second-year teachers average Language Arts CEIs were not statistically
significant.
4

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 1: Average CEIs by Cohort and Content Area for TFA vs. Non-TFA Teachers

Mean CEI Score


(2009-10)

Language Arts

Mathematics

60
47.7

48.9 49.9

Science
55.7

55.7

51.5

50.0
46.7

46.3

45.8

47.6

48.2

36
First

Second

First

Second*

First

Second

Mean CEI Score


(2010-11)

60
53.2
47.9 47.1

48.9 48.4

First

Second

52.7

49.9

55.5

52.6

47.8

47.0

46.2

36
First*

Second

First

Second*

Mean CEI Score


(2011-12)

60

57.7
50.0
46.2 45.0

47.1

49.7

52.2

48.4

46.9

46.6
39.6

36
First

Second

First

Second

60
Mean CEI Score
(2012-13)

50.8

55.5
49.4

50.6
46.5

48.8

50.2

First*

Second*
56.6

54.8

51.1

49.4

46.6

44.9

36
First

Second

First

Second*

First*

Second*

Mean CEI Score


(2013-14)

60

45.0

46.5

50.8

49.8
46.1

46.4

36
First

First*
TFA

First*

Non-TFA

Year Teaching (First or Second)


Note: *Difference between TFA and non-TFA teachers was statistically significant (p < .025).

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Mathematics
As indicated in Figure 1, TFA teachers mean CEI scores in Mathematics were consistently higher
than other first-year teachers across all five cohorts, ranging from 49.7 in 2011-12 to 53.2 in 2010-11.
During the 2010-11 school year, the average Mathematics CEI score for TFA interns was 7.0 points
higher than the average CEI score for other teachers. This result was statistically significant,
F(1, 138) = 10.58, p = .001, and of medium effect (2 = .07). TFA interns who began teaching during the
2013-14 school year averaged 3.7 points higher than other first-year teachers, also a statistically
significant result, F(1, 136) = 7.75, p = .006. The effect of teacher-type on effectiveness was small in this
instance (2 = .02).
The average Mathematics CEI scores for TFA interns in their second year were higher than other
second-year teachers across all cohorts. The results were statistically significant for the 2009-10 cohort,
F(1, 151) = 5.11, p = .025. The effect size, calculated as 2, was equal to .03. This indicated that the type
of second-year teacher (TFA or non-TFA) had a small to moderate effect on effectiveness. Results for the
2012-13 cohorts second year were also statistically significant, F(1, 246) = 8.35, p = .004, indicating a
small to moderate effect (2 = .03). Every TFA cohorts average CEI score was above the overall districts
average teacher score of 50, ranging from 52.2 in 2012-13 to 55.7 in 2009-10.

Science
TFA interns were generally more effective teaching science in their first year than other types of
teachers new to the Dallas ISD, especially in the three most recent cohorts. All cohorts except the first,
2009-10 TFA cohort, averaged CEI scores above 50, meaning they were, as a group, more effective than
most teachers in the Dallas ISD. With the exception of the 2009-10 cohort, TFA interns received higher
Science CEIs on average than non-TFA teachers in their first year (see Figure 1).4 First-year ANOVA
results were statistically significant for the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 cohorts. During the 2011-12
cohorts first year, TFA interns averaged 11.2 points higher than non-TFA teachers, F(1, 30) = 9.10,
p = .005. This difference indicated a large teacher-type effect (2 = .23) on classroom effectiveness. TFA
interns who began teaching with the 2012-13 cohort scored 9.9 points higher than other first-year
teachers on average, F(1, 105) = 20.09, p < .001, with the effect size (2) again indicative of a large
teacher-type effect by accounting for over 16 percent of the variance in effectiveness. The most recent
2013-14 cohort averaged 4.4 points higher in science than other teachers beginning that year,
F(1, 278) = 7.54, p = .006. The influence of teacher-type on effectiveness, for this cohort, could be
considered small to moderate (2 = .03).
The second year of teaching for these cohorts yielded results similar to the first year. Across the
four second-year TFA cohorts, average Science CEI scores were above the district overall average of 50,
ranging from 55.5 to 57.7. The three most recent TFA cohorts to complete a second year 2010-11,
2011-12, and 2012-13 averaged effectiveness scores in science that were statistically significantly
4 It should be noted that the number of interns with valid Science CEIs in the 2009-10 cohort was small (n = 5); the
difference was not statistically significant and should be reviewed with caution (see Table 2).

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


higher than their non-TFA second-year counterparts. The 2010-11 TFA interns averaged 7.7 points
higher than other teachers, F(1, 62) = 7.79, p = .007, a result that is associated with a medium to large
effect size (2 = .11). The 2011-12 TFA interns scored, on average, 11.1 points higher than other
second-year teachers, F(1, 36) = 6.88, p = .013. The large effect size (2 = .16) indicated that type of
second-year teacher accounted for over 16 percent of the variance in science classroom effectiveness.
During the 2012-13 cohorts second year, TFA interns averaged 5.5 points higher than other teachers,
F(1, 165) = 6.07, p = .015. Teacher-type, in this cohorts second year, had a moderate effect on
effectiveness (2 = .04).

How does the STAAR performance of students of TFA teachers compare with
students of other teachers in the district?
Methodology
Students in grades three through eleven completed STAAR assessments in mathematics,
reading, science, and social studies, and STAAR End-of-Course (EOC) assessments in Algebra I,
English I and II, U.S. History, and Biology.5 Students were linked to teachers using the Dallas ISDs
course files, which listed the courses each student takes and the employee ID of the teacher. The
employee ID of each students teacher was used to label which 2013-14 students had teachers in their
first five years of service and whether those teachers were TFA or not.6 The course file was then merged
with STAAR results to determine if there were differences in STAAR performance between students of
TFA teachers and students of non-TFA teachers.7
Two analyses were completed for each subject area and grade level. First, the percentage of
students achieving a met expectations rating on STAAR was compared between TFA teachers and
non-TFA teachers in their first, second, or third- through fifth-years of teaching.8 A chi-square test of
independence was used to assess whether the difference in the percentages was statistically significant.
Second, hierarchical logistic regression was used to statistically test the impact of having a TFA teacher
on achieving a met expectations rating on STAAR. The dependent variable was a dichotomous indicator
of 1 if a student achieved a met expectations rating on 2013-14 STAAR and 0 if not. The predictor
variables included prior achievement (met expectations rating on 2012-13 STAAR), ethnicity, sex,
5

The general STAAR testing schedule is available here: http://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/STAAR/


Only teachers in the first five years of service were included because that is how long TFA teachers have been
employed in the district.
7 To control for the possibility that TFA teachers were placed in lower-performing schools than non-TFA teachers,
only campuses with TFA teachers were included in each analysis. For example, if elementary mathematics TFA
teachers were found in five campuses, the comparison group was composed of non-TFA teachers at those same
campuses.
8 TFA and non-TFA teachers were compared at different levels of experience: first-year teachers, second-year
teachers, and third- through fifth-year teachers. Teachers in the third- through fifth-years of experience were grouped
together due to small sample sizes. Subgroups were composed of different samples of teachers, not one group of
teachers tracked over time. STAAR results came from the 2013-14 school year, so results were divided among those
who were first-year teachers in 2013-14, those who were second-year teachers in 2013-14, etc. Therefore, use
caution not to interpret differences between first-year and second-year teachers as improvement because the two
groups are not composed of the same teachers.
6

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


socioeconomic status (SES), teacher level of experience, and whether the teacher participated in TFA.
There were three models tested. In the first model, 2013-14 STAAR performance was predicted using
only student characteristics. In the second model, teacher years of experience was included to see if
including years of experience significantly improved the prediction of 2013-14 STAAR performance. In the
third model, TFA was included. If the model including TFA did a significantly better job predicting 2013-14
STAAR performance, that indicated that having a TFA teacher made a difference over and above all the
other factors considered (student characteristics, prior achievement, and teacher level of experience).

Results
STAAR Performance Overview
Figures 2 through 4 show STAAR performance for students of TFA teachers at various levels of
experience compared with students of non-TFA teachers. These percentages were further compared to
passing rates across all teachers at TFA campuses to offer perspective on how students of these
early-career TFA and non-TFA teachers performed relative to students of all teachers at the same
campuses.
Comparing across the three levels of experience and content areas, students of second-year TFA
teachers had higher passing percentages than students of first-year TFA teachers. For mathematics,
there was a trend of TFA teachers outperforming non-TFA teachers in the second year of experience.
This was also true for elementary science. However, this trend was less apparent in reading/language
arts. Small sample sizes resulted in missing data and precluded comparisons in many subgroups,
impeding trend detection. More detailed analyses of STAAR performance data by grade level and content
area follow.

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Percent That Met Expectations


on STAAR

Figure 2: Percentage That Met Expectations on Spring 2014 STAAR for Students of First-Year TFA and Non-TFA
Teachers
93 90 92
74
55

54

78 78

55 55 56

51 50

56

60 60

64
55

ES

MS

Alg I

ES

Mathematics

MS

54

45

48

Eng I

Eng II

41

42

59

52
49 51

ES

Reading/Language Arts
TFA

Non-TFA

59 61

65

63

MS

56 53

Bio

Science

MS
Social
Studies

All

Percent That Met Expectations


on STAAR

Figure 3: Percentage That Met Expectations on Spring 2014 STAAR for Students of Second-Year TFA and
Non-TFA Teachers
95 95 92

86
64

78

75 70
56

55 55

81

55

61 57

56

65 67 64

63

55

69

63

54

62

52

53

36

ES

MS

Alg I

ES

Mathematics

MS

Eng I

Eng II

ES

Reading/Language Arts
TFA

Non-TFA

MS

Bio

Science

MS
Social
Studies

All

Percent That Met Expectations


on STAAR

Figure 4: Percentage That Met Expectations on Spring 2014 STAAR for Students of Third- through Fifth-Year
TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
92
79 78 78

76
62

55

ES

48

59 56

56

MS
Mathematics

75

70

64 64 64

71
54

55
44

Alg I

ES

MS

Eng I

Eng II

Reading/Language Arts
TFA

Non-TFA

63
53

53 52

ES

MS
Science

Bio

MS
Social
Studies

All

Note: Some subgroups were excluded from these figures due to small teacher sample sizes (n < 2). District
percentages reflect students only in schools with TFA teachers in each subgroup. ES = Elementary School.
MS = Middle School.

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Mathematics
Figure 5 shows the percentages of elementary students that met expectations on STAAR
mathematics. Percentages were compared between first-year, second-year, and third- through fifth-year
TFA and non-TFA teachers. For all levels of experience, a statistically significant higher percentage of
elementary students of TFA teachers than non-TFA teachers passed STAAR mathematics.
Figure 5: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Mathematics for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
(Grades 3 to 5)
76%
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
64%
62%
TFA
Non-TFA
55%
54%
1st year teachers
42%
Teachers
12
22
Students
349
814

1st year teachers**

2nd year teachers* 3rd-5th year teachers*


TFA

Non-TFA

2nd year teachers


Teachers
6
Students
261

9
254

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
4
Students
115

10
265

Note: Asterisks indicate level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .05 and **p <.001.

Figure 6 shows the percentages of middle school students passing STAAR mathematics. For
first-year teachers, there was no difference between TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage
of students passing (55%). For second-year teachers, a higher percentage of students of TFA teachers
(75%) passed STAAR mathematics compared with students of non-TFA teachers (70%), but this
difference was not statistically significant. Passing percentages could not be compared for third- through
fifth-year teachers because only one TFA teacher was represented in that subgroup.

10

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 6: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Mathematics for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
(Grades 6 to 8)
75%
Number of Teachers and Students
70%
Represented in the Analysis
TFA
Non-TFA
55% 55%
48%
1st year teachers
Teachers
10
14
Students
1,053
1,346

n/a
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers

Non-TFA

2nd year teachers


Teachers
6
Students
525

6
519

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
1
9
Students
5
693

Note: These differences were not statistically significant. Percentage was not reported for students of third- through
fifth-year TFA teachers because there was only one teacher represented in this subgroup.

At the high school level, Figure 7 shows passing percentages on the STAAR Algebra I EOC
exam. For first-year and third- through fifth-year teacher subgroups, there was no statistically significant
difference between TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage of students passing. For
second-year teachers, a higher percentage of students of TFA teachers (86%) passed STAAR
mathematics compared with students of non-TFA teachers (55%). The difference was statistically
significant.
Figure 7: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Algebra 1 EOC for Students of TFA and Non-TFA
Teachers
86%
Number of Teachers and Students
79% 78%
78%
Represented in the Analysis
74%
TFA
Non-TFA
55%
1st year teachers
Teachers
14
4
Students
1,038
248
2nd year teachers
Teachers
6
Students
472
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers*


TFA

Non-TFA

3rd-5th year teachers

3
152

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
2
3
Students
191
235

Note: Asterisk indicates level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .001.

Logistic regression results for elementary STAAR mathematics are shown in Table 3. The results
indicated that prior achievement, teacher experience level, and TFA status were associated with

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


significantly greater likelihood of passing STAAR mathematics.9 The odds ratio for TFA status indicated
that elementary students of TFA teachers were 3.228 times more likely to pass STAAR mathematics than
students of non-TFA teachers when accounting for teacher experience and student characteristics. The
addition of TFA status in Model 3 resulted in a statistically significant improvement in overall model fit,10
indicating that TFA status had an impact on STAAR performance over and above other student and
teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), compared with Hispanic students, students who were
African American (odds ratio = 0.540) or Other Ethnicity (odds ratio = 0.159) were significantly less likely
to pass STAAR. According to the odds ratio, students who passed STAAR mathematics in 2012-13 were
13.112 times more likely to pass STAAR in 2013-14. Compared with first-year teachers, students of
second-year teachers were 2.179 times more likely to pass STAAR, and students of third- through
fifth-year teachers were 2.645 times more likely to pass STAAR.
Table 3: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Mathematics Grades 4 to 5
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
2.574
282.910**
13.112
STAAR Mathematics Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.615
12.898**
0.540
African American
-1.838
4.048*
0.159
Other Ethnicity
0.084
0.344
Male
-0.712
2.671
Low SES
0.779
19.067**
2.179
Second-year teacher
0.973
25.003**
2.645
Third- through fifth-year teacher
1.172
48.693**
3.228
TFA
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.431. *p < .05 and **p <.001. Grade 3 students in 2013-14 were
omitted because they have no prior STAAR achievement rating.

Logistic regression results for middle school STAAR mathematics are shown in Table 4. The
results indicated that prior achievement, teacher experience level, and TFA participation were associated
with significantly greater likelihood of passing STAAR mathematics. The odds ratio for TFA status
indicated that middle school students of TFA teachers were 1.230 times more likely to pass STAAR
mathematics than students of non-TFA teachers when teacher experience and student characteristics
were held constant. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 resulted in a statistically significant
improvement in overall model fit,11 indicating that TFA status had an impact on STAAR performance over
and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), compared with Hispanic students, students who were
African American were significantly less likely to pass STAAR (about half as likely; odds ratio = 0.476)
after holding teacher experience and student characteristics constant. According to the odds ratio,
students who passed STAAR mathematics in 2012-13 were 8.205 times more likely to pass STAAR in
9

Odds ratios greater than one indicated the predictor was associated with greater likelihood of passing STAAR. Odds
ratios less than one indicated the predictor was associated with less likelihood of passing STAAR.
10 Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .392 (Model 2) to .431. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p < .001).
11 Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .331 (Model 2) to .332. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p = .015).

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


2013-14 when teacher experience and student characteristics were held constant. Compared with firstyear teachers, students of second-year teachers were 2.169 times more likely pass STAAR. However,
students of third- through fifth-year teachers were less likely than students of first-year teachers to pass
STAAR (odds ratio = 0.765) when teacher experience and student characteristics were held constant.
Table 4: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Mathematics Grades 6 to 8
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
2.105
739.687**
8.205
STAAR Mathematics Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.743
65.277**
0.476
African American
-0.189
0.356
Other Ethnicity
-0.054
0.501
Male
-0.006
0.001
Low SES
0.774
65.241**
2.169
Second-year teacher
-0.269
6.036*
0.765
Third- through fifth-year teacher
0.207
5.906*
1.230
TFA
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.332. *p < .05 and **p <.001.

Logistic regression results for STAAR Algebra I EOC are shown in Table 5. The results indicated
that prior achievement and TFA status were associated with significantly greater likelihood of passing
STAAR Algebra I EOC. The odds ratio for TFA status indicated that Algebra I students of TFA teachers
were 1.630 times more likely to pass the Algebra I EOC exam than students of non-TFA teachers when
teacher experience and student characteristics were held constant. The addition of TFA status in Model 3
resulted in a statistically significant improvement in overall model fit,12 indicating that TFA status had an
impact on STAAR performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed STAAR mathematics in 2012-13
were 3.951 times more likely to pass STAAR in 2013-14 after holding teacher experience and student
characteristics constant. Compared with Hispanic students, students who were African American were
significantly less likely to pass the STAAR EOC (odds ratio = 0.719) when teacher experience and
student characteristics were held constant. No other student or teacher characteristics were significant
predictors of passing STAAR.
Table 5: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Algebra I End-of-Course Exam
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
1.374
128.348**
3.951
STAAR Mathematics Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.330
5.460*
0.719
African American
0.136
0.128
Other Ethnicity
-0.185
2.370
Male
0.104
0.329
Low SES
0.180
1.532
Second-year teacher
0.303
2.919
Third- through fifth-year teacher
0.488
12.491**
1.630
TFA
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.125. *p < .05 and **p <.001.

12 Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .116 (Model 2) to .125. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p < .001).

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Mathematics Results Summary
At the elementary school level, a greater percentage of students of TFA teachers of all
experience levels passed the STAAR mathematics test. For Algebra I students, a greater percentage of
students of second-year TFA teachers passed the Algebra I EOC exam. There were no other significant
differences in passing rates between TFA and non-TFA teachers. According to the logistic regression
results, having a TFA teacher significantly improved the odds of a student passing STAAR mathematics,
ranging from odds 1.2 times higher for middle school students to more than three times higher for
elementary students after holding teacher experience and student characteristics constant. Students of
non-TFA teachers did not statistically significantly outperform students of TFA teachers in any of the
comparisons reported above.

Reading/Language Arts
Figure 8 shows passing percentages on STAAR reading for students in grades three through five.
For first-year and second-year teacher subgroups, there was no statistically significant difference
between TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage of students passing. For third- through
fifth-year teachers, a statistically significant higher percentage of students of TFA teachers (70%) passed
STAAR reading compared with students of non-TFA teachers (59%).
Figure 8: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Reading for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
(Grades 3 to 5)
Number of Teachers and Students
70%
Represented in the Analysis
61%
59%
57%
TFA
Non-TFA
51% 50%
1st year teachers
Teachers
19
33
Students
662
1,058
2nd year teachers
Teachers
4
Students
173
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers*

Non-TFA

15
481

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
4
14
Students
91
437

Note: Asterisks indicate level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .05.

Figure 9 shows passing percentages on STAAR reading for students in grades six through eight.
For all teacher subgroups, there was no statistically significant difference between TFA teachers and
non-TFA teachers in percentage of students passing.

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 9: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Reading for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
(Grades 6 to 8)
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
TFA
Non-TFA
65% 67%
64% 64%
60% 60%
1st year teachers
Teachers
9
33
Students
621
2,807
2nd year teachers
Teachers
13
Students
1,020
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers

Non-TFA

14
767

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
4
12
Students
301
689

Note: These differences were not statistically significant.

Figure 10 shows passing percentages on the STAAR English I EOC assessment. There was no
statistically significant difference between first-year TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage of
students passing. However, the percentage of students passing was statistically significantly higher for
students of third- through fifth-year non-TFA teachers (75%) than students of TFA teachers (44%).
Figure 10: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR English 1 EOC for Students of TFA and Non-TFA
Teachers
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
75%
TFA
Non-TFA
1st year teachers
Teachers
4
5
45%
44%
41%
Students
363
274
2nd year teachers
Teachers
0
Students
0

n/a
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers*

Non-TFA

1
133

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
2
2
Students
200
201

Note: Asterisks indicate level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .001. Percentage is not
reported for students of second-year teachers because there was only one non-TFA teacher and no TFA teachers
represented in this subgroup.

Figure 11 shows passing percentages on the STAAR English II EOC assessment. A significantly
greater percentage of students of first-year TFA teachers passed the English II EOC (59%) than students
of non-TFA teachers (48%). Sixty-three percent of students of non-TFA second-year teachers passed the
English II EOC. Comparisons between TFA and non-TFA were not possible for second- or third- through
fifth-year teachers due to small teacher sample sizes.
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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Figure 11: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR English 2 EOC for Students of TFA and Non-TFA
Teachers
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
TFA
Non-TFA
63%
1st year teachers
59%
48%
Teachers
4
5
Students
354
302

n/a

n/a
1st year teachers*

2nd year teachers


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers

Non-TFA

2nd year teachers


Teachers
1
Students
93

2
209

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
1
1
Students
52
118

Note: Asterisks indicate level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .05. Some percentages were
not reported due to small sample sizes.

Logistic regression results for elementary STAAR reading are shown in Table 6. The results
indicated that prior achievement, teacher experience level, and TFA participation were associated with
significantly greater likelihood of passing STAAR reading.13 Elementary students of TFA teachers had
1.607 times higher odds of passing STAAR reading than students of non-TFA teachers after holding
teacher experience and student characteristics constant. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 resulted
in a statistically significant improvement in overall model fit,14 indicating that TFA status had an impact on
STAAR performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed STAAR reading in 2012-13 were
11.869 times more likely to pass STAAR reading in 2013-14 when teacher experience and student
characteristics were held constant. The odds of students of second-year teachers passing the STAAR
were 1.585 times higher than the students of first-year teachers, but students of third- through fifth-year
teachers were not significantly more or less likely to pass STAAR when holding teacher experience and
student characteristics constant. Compared with Hispanic students, students who were African American
were significantly less likely to pass STAAR (odds ratio = 0.623).

13

Odds ratios greater than one indicated the predictor is associated with greater likelihood of passing STAAR. Odds
ratios less than one indicated the predictor is associated with less likelihood of passing STAAR.
14 Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .376 (Model 2) to .383. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p < .001).

16

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Table 6: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Reading Grades 4 to 5
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
2.474
413.799**
11.869
STAAR Reading Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.474
13.533**
0.623
African American
0.765
2.087
Other Ethnicity
-0.222
3.498
Male
-0.270
0.621
Low SES
0.460
8.259*
1.585
Second-year teacher
-0.022
0.019
Third- through fifth-year teacher
0.474
12.222**
1.607
TFA
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.383. *p < .05 and **p <.001. Grade 3 students in 2013-14 were
omitted because they have no prior STAAR achievement rating.

Logistic regression results for middle school STAAR reading are shown in Table 7. The results
indicated that prior achievement and teacher experience level were associated with significantly greater
likelihood of passing STAAR reading, while being classified as male and low SES were associated with
less likelihood of passing. Having a TFA teacher was not a significant predictor of passing STAAR
reading for middle school students. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 did not result in a statistically
significant improvement in overall model fit, indicating that TFA status did not have an impact on STAAR
performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA) and with teacher experience and student characteristics
held constant, students who passed STAAR reading in 2012-13 were 9.298 times more likely to pass
STAAR reading in 2013-14. Compared with first-year teachers, the odds of students of second-year
teachers passing the STAAR were 1.324 times higher, and students of third- through fifth-year teachers
were 1.249 more likely to pass STAAR when student characteristics were held constant. Middle school
males were significantly less likely than females to pass STAAR reading (odds ratio = 0.655).
Furthermore, students with low SES were less likely to pass STAAR reading (odds ratio = 0.621) when
holding teacher experience and other student characteristics constant.
Table 7: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Reading Grades 6 to 8

Predictor
STAAR Reading Met Expectations 2012-13
African American
Other Ethnicity
Male
Low SES
Second-year teacher
Third- through fifth-year teacher

Odds Ratio

2.230
1,232.991**
9.298
-0.119
1.628
0.294
2.425
-0.423
44.136**
0.655
-0.476
15.498**
0.621
0.280
14.591**
1.324
0.223
6.083*
1.249
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.322. *p < .05 and **p <.001. TFA was not a significant predictor
and was not included in the final model.

Logistic regression results for the STAAR English I EOC exam are shown in Table 8. The results
indicated that prior achievement and teacher experience level were associated with significantly greater
likelihood of passing the STAAR English I EOC, while having a TFA teacher was associated with less
likelihood of passing. The odds ratio indicated that students of TFA teachers were about half as likely to
pass the English I EOC as students of non-TFA teachers (odds ratio = 0.491) when holding teacher
17

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


experience and student characteristics constant. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 resulted in a
statistically significant improvement in overall model fit,15 indicating that TFA status had an impact on
STAAR performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed STAAR reading in 2012-13 had
9.537 times higher odds of passing the STAAR English I EOC in 2013-14. Compared with first-year
teachers, students of third- through fifth-year teachers were 1.463 times more likely pass STAAR when
student characteristics were held constant. No other student or teacher characteristics were significantly
associated with passing the English I EOC.
Table 8: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR English I End-of-Course Exam
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
2.255
138.101**
9.537
STAAR Reading Met Expectations 2012-13
0.085
0.220
African American
-0.250
0.371
Other Ethnicity
-0.229
2.671
Male
-0.101
0.211
Low SES
-0.093
0.150
Second-year teacher
0.380
5.694*
1.463
Third- through fifth-year teacher
-0.711
21.421**
0.491
TFA
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.273. *p < .05 and **p <.001.

Logistic regression results for the STAAR English II EOC exam are shown in Table 9. The results
indicated that prior achievement and teacher experience level were associated with significantly greater
likelihood of passing the STAAR English II EOC, while being African American or male were associated
with less likelihood of passing. Having a TFA teacher was not a significant predictor of passing the
STAAR English II EOC exam. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 did not result in a statistically
significant improvement in overall model fit, indicating that TFA status did not have an impact on STAAR
performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed the STAAR Reading I EOC in
2012-13 were 10.056 times more likely to pass STAAR English II EOC in 2013-14 after holding other
student characteristics and teacher experience constant. Compared with students of first-year teachers,
students of third- through fifth-year teachers were 1.781 times more likely to pass STAAR. Students who
were African American had lower odds of passing than students who were Hispanic (odds ratio = 0.417),
and students who were male were about half as likely to pass as females (odds ratio = 0.563) when
holding constant teacher experience and other student characteristics. No other student or teacher
characteristics were significantly associated with passing the English II EOC.

15 Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .250 (Model 2) to .273. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p < .001).

18

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Table 9: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR English II End-of-Course Exam
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
2.308
234.116**
10.056
STAAR EOC Reading I Met Expectations 2012-13
-.876
22.356**
0.417
African American
.116
0.039
Other Ethnicity
-.575
14.942**
0.563
Male
.285
1.588
Low SES
.241
1.931
Second-year teacher
.577
6.892*
1.781
Third- through fifth-year teacher
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.363. *p < .05 and **p <.001.

Reading Results Summary


At the elementary school level, students of third- through fifth-year TFA teachers had significantly
higher passing rates than students of non-TFA teachers. In middle school, there were no significant
differences between TFA and non-TFA teachers. Results were mixed on English I and II EOC exams.
Students of first-year TFA teachers had better passing rates on English II, but students of third- through
fifth-year non-TFA teachers had better passing rates on English I. Logistic regression results were also
mixed. Having a TFA teacher improved the odds of passing STAAR reading for elementary and middle
school students (odds ratios of 1.607 and 1.249, respectively) when controlling for teacher experience
and certain student characteristics. However, there was no relationship between having a TFA teacher
and passing the English II EOC, and students of TFA teachers were half as likely to pass the English I
EOC as students of non-TFA teachers.

Science
Figure 12 shows passing percentages on STAAR science for students in grade five. There was
no statistically significant difference between first-year TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage
of students passing. However, the percentage of students passing was statistically significantly higher for
students of second-year TFA teachers (69%) than students of non-TFA teachers (36%). Though 53
percent of students of third- through fifth-year non-TFA teachers passed STAAR science, there were no
students of TFA teachers in this subgroup with which to compare.

19

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 12: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Science for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
(Grade 5)
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
TFA
Non-TFA
69%
1st year teachers
53%
49% 51%
Teachers
5
6
36%
Students
179
231
n/a
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers*


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers

Non-TFA

2nd year teachers


Teachers
2
Students
109

4
139

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
0
5
Students
0
146

Note: Asterisks indicate level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .05. Some percentages were
not reported due to small sample sizes.

Figure 13 shows passing percentages on STAAR science for students in grade eight. There was
no statistically significant difference between first-year TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage
of students passing. For second-year TFA teachers, 81 percent of students passed STAAR science,
while 71 percent of third- through fifth-year TFA teachers passed. There were no non-TFA second or
third- through fifth-year teachers.
Figure 13: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Science for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
(Grade 8)
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
81%
TFA
Non-TFA
71%
59% 61%
1st year teachers
Teachers
4
2
Students
422
209

n/a
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers


TFA

Non-TFA

n/a
3rd-5th year teachers

2nd year teachers


Teachers
2
Students
260

0
0

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
2
Students
257

0
0

Note: These differences are not statistically significant. Some percentages were not reported due to small sample
sizes.

Figure 14 shows passing percentages on the STAAR Biology EOC. There was no statistically
significant difference for first-year or second-year TFA teachers and non-TFA teachers in percentage of
students passing. There were no non-TFA third- through fifth-year teachers to compare with TFA
teachers.
20

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015

Figure 14: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Biology EOC for Students of TFA and Non-TFA Teachers
95% 95%
93% 90%
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
TFA
Non-TFA
1st year teachers
Teachers
6
7
Students
660
586

n/a
1st year teachers

2nd year teachers


TFA

3rd-5th year teachers

Non-TFA

2nd year teachers


Teachers
7
Students
595
3rd-5th year teachers
Teachers
1
Students
79

4
408
0
0

Note: These differences are not statistically significant. Some percentages were not reported due to small sample
sizes.

Logistic regression results for STAAR science for grade five are shown in Table 10. The results
indicated that prior achievement, teacher experience level, and TFA status were associated with
significantly greater likelihood of passing STAAR science, while no predictors were associated with less
likelihood of passing. The odds ratio for TFA status indicated that fifth-grade students of TFA teachers
had 1.684 times higher odds of passing STAAR science than students of non-TFA teachers when holding
teacher experience and student characteristics constant. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 resulted
in a statistically significant improvement in overall model fit,16 indicating that TFA status had an impact on
STAAR performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed STAAR mathematics in 2012-1317
were 6.158 times more likely to pass STAAR science in 2013-14. Compared with first-year teachers,
students of third- through fifth-year teachers were 1.632 times more likely pass STAAR when student
characteristics were held constant. No other student or teacher characteristics were significantly
associated with passing STAAR science at grade five.

16

Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .226 (Model 2) to .238. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p < .01).
17 STAAR mathematics was used as an indicator of prior achievement for STAAR science in grades five and eight
because no STAAR science assessment was administered to students in grades four and seven to serve as prior
achievement. For Biology EOC, which is administered primarily to students in grade nine, grade eight STAAR science
was used as prior achievement.

21

Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Table 10: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Science Grade 5
Predictor
B
z
1.818
120.019**
STAAR Mathematics Met Expectations 2012-13
0.153
0.591
African American
2.245
3.776
Other Ethnicity
0.037
0.052
Male
-0.613
1.642
Low SES
0.059
0.101
Second-year teacher
0.490
4.152*
Third- through fifth-year teacher
0.521
8.215*
TFA

Odds Ratio

6.158
1.632
1.684
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.238. *p < .05 and **p <.001. STAAR Mathematics used as prior
achievement due to absence of 2012-13 science assessment results for grade four.

Logistic regression results for STAAR science for grade eight are shown in Table 11. The results
indicated that prior achievement, being male, and teacher experience level were associated with
significantly greater likelihood of passing STAAR science, while being African American was associated
with less likelihood of passing. Having a TFA teacher was not a significant predictor of passing STAAR
science in grade eight. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 did not result in a statistically significant
improvement in overall model fit, indicating that TFA status did not have an impact on STAAR
performance over and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed STAAR mathematics in 2012-13
were 6.574 times more likely to pass STAAR science in 2013-14. Compared with females, males were
1.389 times more likely to pass STAAR science. Compared with first-year teachers, students of secondyear teachers were 2.441 times more likely pass STAAR. Students who were African American were less
likely than Hispanic students to pass (odds ratio = 0.680). No other student or teacher characteristics
were significantly associated with passing STAAR science.
Table 11: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Science Grade 8
Predictor
B
z
1.883
154.419**
STAAR Mathematics Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.385
4.032*
African American
0.540
1.341
Other Ethnicity
0.328
4.796*
Male
-0.026
0.011
Low SES
0.892
18.771**
Second-year teacher
0.140
0.538
Third- through fifth-year teacher

Odds Ratio

6.574
0.680
1.389
2.441
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.272. *p < .05 and **p <.001. TFA was not a significant predictor and
was not included in the final model. STAAR Mathematics used as prior achievement due to absence of
2012-13 science assessment results for grade seven.

Logistic regression results for the STAAR Biology EOC exam are shown in Table 12. The results
indicated that prior achievement and teacher experience level were associated with significantly greater
likelihood of passing STAAR science, while being male was associated with less likelihood of passing.
Having a TFA teacher was not a significant predictor of passing the Biology EOC exam. The addition of
TFA status in Model 3 did not result in a statistically significant improvement in overall model fit, indicating

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


that TFA status did not have an impact on STAAR performance over and above other student and
teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), the odds of students who passed STAAR science in
2012-13 also passing the STAAR Biology EOC in 2013-14 were 6.099 times higher than those who did
not pass STAAR science in 2012-13 when student characteristics and teacher experience were held
constant. Compared with females, males were less likely to pass the Biology EOC exam
(odds ratio = 0.651). Holding student characteristics constant, students of second-year teachers were
1.732 times more likely to pass STAAR when compared with students of first-year teachers, No other
student or teacher characteristics were significantly associated with passing STAAR science.
Table 12: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Biology End-of-Course Exam
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
1.808
72.425**
6.099
STAAR Science Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.034
0.018
African American
-0.542
1.801
Other Ethnicity
-0.429
5.233*
0.651
Male
-0.065
0.056
Low SES
0.549
7.673*
1.732
Second-year teacher
18.178
.000
Third- through fifth-year teacher
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.135. *p < .05 and **p <.001. TFA was not a significant predictor
and was not included in the final model.

Science Results Summary


Students of second-year TFA teachers had significantly higher passing rates than students of
non-TFA teachers on grade five STAAR science. There were no other significant differences in passing
rates for students at all grade levels, though small sample sizes prohibited comparisons for four of the
nine subgroups in science. When accounting for teacher experience and student characteristics, having a
TFA teacher increased the odds of passing STAAR science for fifth graders by 1.6. However, TFA was
not a significant predictor of passing rates for the grade eight science or Biology EOC exams.

Social Studies
Figure 15 shows passing percentages on STAAR social studies for students in grade eight. A
statistically significant higher percentage of students of first-year TFA teachers passed STAAR social
studies than students of non-TFA teachers. Sixty-two percent of students of second-year TFA teachers
passed STAAR social studies, but the sample size of teachers for non-TFA second-year teachers and all
third- through fifth-grade teachers was insufficient for any further comparisons.

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 15: Percentage That Met Expectations on STAAR Social Studies for Students of TFA and Non-TFA
Teachers (Grade 8)
Number of Teachers and Students
Represented in the Analysis
TFA
Non-TFA
65%
62%
1st year teachers
56%
Teachers
4
6
Students
382
577

n/a
1st year teachers*

2nd year teachers


TFA

n/a
3rd-5th year teachers

Non-TFA

2nd year teachers


Teachers
2
Students
252

1
115

3rd-5th year teachers


Teachers
0
1
Students
0
129

Note: Asterisks indicate level of significance for chi-square test of independence *p < .01.

Logistic regression results for STAAR social studies for grade eight are shown in Table 13. The
results indicated that prior achievement, being an ethnicity other than Hispanic or African American, being
male, and TFA status were associated with significantly greater likelihood of passing STAAR social
studies, while teacher experience level was associated with less likelihood of passing. The odds ratio for
TFA status indicated that eighth grade students of TFA teachers had 1.622 times higher odds of passing
STAAR social studies than students of non-TFA teachers when controlling for teacher experience and
certain student characteristics. The addition of TFA status in Model 3 resulted in a statistically significant
improvement in overall model fit,18 indicating that TFA status had an impact on STAAR performance over
and above other student and teacher characteristics in the model.
Across all teachers (TFA and non-TFA), students who passed STAAR reading in 2012-1319 were
9.307 times more likely to pass STAAR social studies in 2013-14. Students of ethnicity other than
Hispanic or African American were 2.363 times more likely to pass STAAR social studies. Males were
1.391 times as likely as females to pass STAAR social studies. Compared with first-year teachers,
students of second-year teachers were less likely to pass STAAR social studies (odds ratio = 0.726)
when student characteristics were held constant. No other student or teacher characteristics were
significantly associated with passing STAAR social studies at grade eight.

18

Addition of TFA status in Model 3 increased Nagelkerke R2 from .283 (Model 2) to .292. Model fit improvement as
measured by -2 log likelihood was statistically significant (p < .001).
19 STAAR reading was used as an indicator of prior achievement for STAAR social studies in grade eight because no
STAAR social studies assessment is administered to students in grade seven to serve as prior achievement.

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Table 13: Logistic Regression Final Model Results for STAAR Social Studies Grade 8
Predictor
Odds Ratio
B
z
2.231
227.777**
9.307
STAAR Reading Met Expectations 2012-13
-0.103
0.327
African American
0.860
8.369*
2.363
Other Ethnicity
0.330
6.691*
1.391
Male
-0.244
1.737
Low SES
-0.320
4.456*
0.726
Second-year teacher
-0.425
3.562
Third- through fifth-year teacher
0.483
12.273**
1.622
TFA
Note: Final model Nagelkerke R2=.292. *p < .05 and **p <.001.

U.S. History students completed the U.S. History STAAR EOC exam. There was only one TFA
teacher teaching U.S. History. The campus where this teacher taught (L. G. Pinkston High School) had
no other first-year teachers with which to form a comparison group for STAAR passing rates on U.S.
History EOC. Therefore, no results for U.S. History STAAR EOC were included in this report.
Social Studies Results Summary
A significantly higher percentage of students of first-year TFA teachers passed STAAR social
studies in grade eight than students of first-year non-TFA teachers. Furthermore, the logistic regression
results indicated that students of TFA teachers had 1.6 times higher odds of passing STAAR social
studies in grade eight than students of non-TFA teachers when holding teacher experience and student
characteristics constant. Small sample sizes prohibited comparisons for second- and third- through
fifth-year teachers.

How does the retention of TFA teachers compare with non-TFA teachers in the
district over time?
Methodology
The evaluator compared the percentage of Dallas ISD TFA interns and other first-year teachers
retained over time by cohort. A teacher was defined as retained if he or she began the following school
year as a teacher. Teachers listed in district databases as On Leave were considered as retained.
Members of the 2009-10 cohort could have potentially taught in the district at the beginning of six years,
while the 2013-14 cohort had only begun their second year of teaching. For each year of each cohort, the
evaluator calculated the percentage of TFA and non-TFA teachers remaining with the district. Because
TFA requests a two-year commitment from its teachers, it should be expected that lower proportions of
TFA teachers than non-TFA teachers would return for a third year of teaching.

Results
Across all cohorts, TFA teachers returned to teach a second school year in the Dallas ISD at
higher rates than non-TFA teachers (see Figures 16-20). For all cohorts, non-TFA teachers returned to
teach a third year at higher rates than TFA teachers. This result was expected, as TFA requests a
two-year commitment from the interns it recruits. TFA cohorts second-year retention rates ranged from
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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


90.7 percent for the 2011-12 cohort to 100.0 percent of the first, 2009-10 cohort. Of the four TFA cohorts
with at least three school years in the district, third-year retention rates ranged from 33.0 percent for the
2010-11 cohort to 51.5 percent for the 2009-10 cohort. As for non-TFA cohorts, third-year retention rates
have dropped each year since 2009-10. Over 74 percent of the 2009-10 first-year non-TFA teachers
began a third year. The 2012-13 cohort returned 57.6 percent of its non-TFA members. Specific cohort
results follow.
The first cohort of TFA interns began teaching during the 2009-10 school year. Figure 16 shows
the percentage of TFA and non-TFA first-year teachers in the 2009-10 cohort who began the subsequent
school year as a teacher with the Dallas ISD. Every TFA intern (n = 68) returned for a second year
compared with 86.7 percent of other first-year teachers (n = 432). Precisely 51.5 percent of the TFA
teachers began a third year (n = 35) while 74.5 percent of other teachers did so (n = 371). The trend
continued through the beginning of the sixth year, with 14.7 percent of the original TFA teachers still with
the Dallas ISD (n = 10). Exactly 39.4 percent (n = 196) of other teachers continued teaching with the
Dallas ISD.
Figure 16: 2009-10 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Percent Retained

TFA
Non-TFA

2nd

3rd

4th
5th
Year Began

6th

Figure 17 illustrates the retention rates for the 2010-11 TFA and non-TFA teachers beginning a
second through fifth year with the Dallas ISD. TFA teachers returned for a second year at slightly higher
rates than other second-year teachers (n = 92, 94.8% and n = 525, 86.0%, respectively). Of the original
610 non-TFA teachers starting with the 2010-11 cohort, 414 (67.9%) began a third year as a teacher with
the Dallas ISD. Comparatively, 33.0 percent (n = 32) of the TFA teachers began a third year.

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 17: 2010-11 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

TFA

Percent Retained

Non-TFA

2nd

3rd
4th
Year Began

5th

As is shown in Figure 18, the trend of TFA teachers returning for a second year at higher rates
(n = 39, 90.7%) than other teachers was also true for the 2011-12 cohort (n = 367, 81.0%). However, as
with the previous cohorts, a lower proportion of TFA teachers (n = 17, 39.5%) than other types of
teachers (n = 269, 59.4%) began a third year in the classroom.
Figure 18: 2011-12 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Percent Retained

TFA
Non-TFA

2nd

3rd
Year Began

4th

After their first year as teachers in the Dallas ISD during the 2011-12 school year, 95.2 percent of the TFA
teachers returned a second year (n = 80); 37 of the original 84 interns 44.0 percent began a third year
(see Figure 19). Whereas 1,279 non-TFA teachers started with the Dallas ISD during the 2011-12 school
year, exactly 946 (73.4%) returned a second year, a proportion lower than previous cohorts; 57.6 percent
of non-TFA teachers returned a third year (n = 737).

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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


Figure 19: 2012-13 Cohort Retention Rate by Year Began
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

TFA

Percent Retained

Non-TFA

2nd

3rd
Year Began

As shown in Figure 20, of the 168 TFA interns who began teaching during the 2013-14 school
year, 157 returned to teach a second year (93.5%). Comparatively, 73.6 percent of the 1,730 non-TFA
teachers returned to Dallas ISD classrooms (n = 1,274).
Figure 20: 2013-14 Cohort Second-Year Retention
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

TFA

Percent Retained

Non-TFA

2nd
Year Began

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Summary
Since the first cohort of TFA interns began with the 2009-10 school year, 563 interns have taught
in Dallas ISD schools. The number of teachers in each cohort has increased over time.

Classroom Effectiveness Indices


The results of a series of ANOVAs determined that TFA teachers were generally more effective,
on average, than non-TFA teachers in teaching language arts, mathematics, and science for both their
first and second years. The differences in average mathematics and science effectiveness were
statistically significant for most cohorts in either their first year, second year, or both years teaching. All
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Evaluation of Teach For America: 2014-2015


TFA cohorts averaged effectiveness ratings above 50 in their second year teaching, which was higher
than the average for all teachers in the Dallas ISD.

Student STAAR Performance


To determine the impact of having a TFA teacher on students meeting the STAAR passing
standards, a series of hierarchical logistic regressions was conducted for mathematics, reading/language
arts, science, and social studies. Analyses were conducted separately for elementary, middle, and high
school students.
For mathematics, students of TFA teachers statistically significantly outperformed students of
non-TFA teachers across all levels when teacher experience and student characteristics were held
constant. Odds ratios indicated that elementary students of TFA teachers were 3.23 times more likely
than students of non-TFA teachers to meet expectations. Middle school students of TFA teachers were
1.23 times more likely, and Algebra I students of TFA teachers were 1.63 times more likely than students
of non-TFA teachers to meet STAAR passing standards.
The results for reading/language arts were mixed. Having a TFA teacher positively impacted the
odds of elementary students passing the STAAR, had no impact for middle school and English II
students, and negatively impacted the odds of English I students meeting the minimum standard. Science
results were also mixed. After accounting for student characteristics and teacher experience, having a
TFA teacher increased the odds of passing the fifth-grade science STAAR by 1.6. TFA was not a
predictor of passing rates for grade 8 science or the Biology EOC exams. Grade 8 social studies students
with a TFA teacher were 1.62 times more likely to meet STAAR expectations than students with a
non-TFA teacher.

Teacher Retention
TFA interns in each cohort have returned to teach a second year with the Dallas ISD at rates
ranging from 90.7 to 100.0 percent. For each cohort, these rates were higher than the rates of non-TFA
teachers. Because TFA requires a two-year teaching commitment, smaller proportions of TFA teachers
returned for a third year when compared to non-TFA teachers. Overall, the proportion of all beginning
TFA and non-TFA teachers returning for a third year has declined with each cohort since 2009-10.

Recommendation
Find ways to encourage TFA teachers to stay in the Dallas ISD classrooms beyond their
two-year commitment. TFA teachers in the Dallas ISD have historically been effective classroom
teachers. Results from the CEI analyses indicated that second-year TFA teachers have been, on
average, more effective teaching mathematics and science than other teachers in the district. The logistic
regression analyses revealed that mathematics students of TFA teachers at all grade levels had
increased odds of meeting the 2013-14 STAAR standards when accounting for student characteristics
and teacher experience. The district should encourage TFA teachers to return to the classroom for a third
year and beyond.

29