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Research Questions

  1. What is the effect of TFN teachers on student academic achievement and social and emotional learning (SEL), students' perceptions of teaching quality, and students' and teachers' perceptions of school climate? How do impacts vary by characteristics of schools, teachers, and students?
  2. What are teachers' and head teachers' perceptions of school climate in the second year of the program?
  3. How do various stakeholders perceive (1) the contribution of TFN teachers on whole child development, (2) the teaching quality and the classroom environments created by TFN teachers, and (3) the contribution of TFN teachers to the school community, including relationships with stakeholders?

This report summarizes the findings from a two-year mixed methods evaluation of the effect of the Teach For Nigeria (TFN) teacher training program on whole child development, perceptions of teaching quality, and the school community. This report contributes to a growing body of research on Teach For All organizations across the globe and the extent to which such leadership development and teacher training initiatives can enhance teaching and support whole child development, particularly in the context of a developing country.

Key Findings

  • Student academic achievement improved more for students of TFN teachers compared with students of non-TFN teachers. Students in treatment classrooms scored approximately 0.07 standard deviations higher than students in comparison classrooms on literacy assessments and approximately 0.11 standard deviations higher than students in comparison classrooms on math assessments.
  • There was no evidence that student social and emotional learning improved more for students of TFN teachers compared with students of non-TFN teachers. Similarly, quantitative estimates did not reveal meaningful effects of the TFN program on perceptions of teaching quality and the quality of the learning environment, nor did the authors detect any significant impacts on school climate by TFN teachers.
  • Our results indicate that second-year TFN teachers are more effective than first-year TFN teachers. These results are statistically significant for mathematics achievement.
  • Parents and other stakeholders suggested that TFN teachers supported the development of students' self-confidence and other qualities. TFN teachers demonstrated care for students and communicated frequently with parents, regarding them as partners in students' academic progress and social and emotional development. TFN teachers foster growth-orientation toward learning and greater diligence toward schoolwork.
  • Focus group participants and interviewees indicated that TFN teachers challenged students by holding them to high expectations while establishing an environment that was conducive to learning and growth. TFN teachers achieved this balance by delivering lessons that engaged students, aimed to leave no students behind, and encouraged risk-taking.
  • TFN teachers developed positive relationships with other educators. TFN teachers engaged in initiatives to make school- or community-level impacts.


  • TFN should consider adjusting its placement strategy to pair first- and second-year TFN teachers in the same schools so that more schools can employ TFN teachers who are more effective.
  • TFN should consider implementing targeted SEL interventions and curricula with explicit instructions on SEL to improve the skills identified in its theory of change. Prior research shows that explicit instruction is the most effective way to improve SEL skills, although TFN might wish to pilot test such an intervention to ensure that it is appropriate for Nigeria.
  • Consistent with existing practices, TFN should continue to encourage its teachers to engage in key practices, such as fostering students' sense of self, teaching students to collaborate, engaging students through interactive lessons, providing supports to ensure that every student learns, and building positive relationship with parents and students. These practices were identified by multiple stakeholders as notable for improving whole child outcomes.
  • If TFN aims to improve school climate, it should take more-direct actions, such as training and supporting school leaders whose main job responsibility is to oversee the entire school, placing TFN alumni as school leaders, or grouping many TFN teachers in a single school.
  • TFN should use multiple modes to measure student outcomes in order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of their progress. Although surveys provide an opportunity for students to lend their voice, self-reporting on SEL measures has known limitations. TFN might consider alternative data collection.

Research conducted by

This study was sponsored by Teach For All and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.