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Research Questions

  1. Are principals in schools that employ Teach For America (TFA) corps members satisfied with corps members' performance?
  2. Would those principals be willing to hire corps members in the future? Would they recommend hiring them?
  3. How do principals feel about TFA support?
  4. How do they feel about TFA alumni working in their schools?

Teach For America's (TFA's) mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by developing leaders for U.S. schools who are committed to providing to low-income children the same access to a great education that their wealthier peers have. The 2015 National Principal Survey is the tenth in a series to provide answers regarding how TFA is doing in providing high-quality, appropriately prepared corps members to schools in an effort to support and improve progress toward this mission. The results of this survey show the context and conditions in which corps members are working, how principals perceive corps members, and how principals perceive their interactions with TFA. These findings offer insights that TFA staff can consider as they try to provide more-tailored supports to corps members, inform professional development to meet the needs of corps members and the schools they staff, and continue to build relationships with the principals of schools in which corps members serve.

Key Findings

Respondents Reported Being Highly Satisfied with Corps Members

  • Most responding principals indicated satisfaction with the corps members at their schools.
  • Most principals agreed that corps members made a positive impact on their schools in multiple areas.
  • Most principals indicated that corps members were equally or more proficient than other novice teachers at their schools across a range of skills.
  • Most principals considered corps members' level of involvement in school activities to be typical of involvement for novice teachers.
  • Principals who were Teach For America (TFA) alumni and those who led charter schools were significantly less likely to report positive feelings about corps members. Principals with more years of experience teaching and those with more years of experience as principals were significantly more likely to do so.

Respondents Were Willing to Hire or Recommend Hiring Corps Members

  • Most responding principals indicated willingness to hire another corps member.
  • Most responded that they "definitely would recommend" hiring corps members.
  • About half of principals identified classroom management and the fact that corps members teach for only a two-year commitment as reasons they would not hire additional corps members.

Respondents Had Positive Feedback About TFA Support

  • Most principals indicated satisfaction with the support that TFA provides corps members.
  • Most respondents indicated that the support that corps members receive complements their schools' induction or training.

Principals Reported Positive Feelings About Alumni Working in Their Schools

  • Most principals felt that the alumni working in their schools made positive contributions to their schools in a variety of areas.

The research described in this report was sponsored by Teach For America (TFA) and conducted by RAND Education, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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