Examining the Early Impacts of the Leading Educators Fellowship on Student Achievement and Teacher Retention

by Kata Mihaly, Benjamin Master, Cate Yoon

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Research Questions

  1. How has the Leading Educators Fellowship program affected student achievement in Missouri and Louisiana in the 2011–2012 through 2013–2014 school years?
  2. How has the Leading Educators Fellowship program affected teacher retention in Missouri and Louisiana in the 2011–2012 through 2013–2014 school years?

The Leading Educators Fellowship program selects promising mid-career teachers through a competitive application process and develops their skills as leaders of school improvement efforts. The specific objectives of the program are to (1) increase the leadership skills and capacity of teacher leaders in order to improve student achievement in high-need schools and (2) retain highly effective teachers in high-need schools by encouraging commitment to the schools and improving the school leadership pipeline. This report presents findings from preliminary analyses of the program's impacts on student achievement and teacher retention in both Louisiana and Missouri in the 2011–2012 through 2013–2014 school years for teachers who are program fellows and for the teachers mentored by fellows.

The findings from this early analysis of the program impacts of fellows are promising but mixed, and overall do not conclusively demonstrate that the program has affected student achievement. For mentees, the findings show some positive effects on student achievement among mentees who teach math and social studies in Louisiana. The findings do not point to a consistent pattern of retention impacts across cohorts or states. Future analyses with larger samples of both fellows and mentees will provide greater statistical power for more reliably detecting any true program effects.

Key Findings

Preliminary Findings on the Effects of the Leading Educators Fellowship Program Are Mixed

  • Among fellows, there are both some statistically significant positive and negative program effects on student achievement, with results that vary across states, subject areas, and model specifications. The estimates of student achievement effect for fellows are based on very small samples and do not point to any clear positive or negative impacts, so we recommend caution in interpreting these results.
  • Among mentee teachers, for whom sample sizes are larger, there are some suggestive evidence of impacts on student achievement — in particular, marginally significant and significant positive program effects among mentees who teach math and social studies, respectively, in Louisiana.
  • The impact of the program on teacher retention is unclear, with no consistent pattern of retention impacts across cohorts or states.
  • Future analyses with larger samples of both fellows and mentees will provide greater statistical power for more reliably detecting any true program effects.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Background

  • Chapter Three

    Description of the Leading Educators Fellowship Program

  • Chapter Four

    Data

  • Chapter Five

    Analytic Methods

  • Chapter Six

    Results

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Discussion

  • Appendix A

    Propensity Score Matching and Power Analyses

Research conducted by

This research has been conducted in RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation.

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