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Research Questions

  1. How prevalent is teachers' use of AI tools for their work?
  2. What types of AI tools do teachers use and for what purposes?
  3. What share of districts are training teachers or issuing guidance about generative AI?
  4. To what extent are districts developing AI policies?

The release of such generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools as ChatGPT in 2022 was a major advancement in the field of AI. Two burning questions for kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) educators are to what extent new generative AI tools will change teaching and whether they will improve learning.

The answers to these questions are not yet clear and likely will not be for some time. But to learn firsthand from educators the ways in which AI is beginning to affect teaching and learning in K–12 public schools, the authors surveyed and interviewed educators across the United States. Specifically, the authors surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,020 teachers using RAND's American Teacher Panel in fall 2023. They also surveyed a nationally representative sample of 231 districts in fall 2023 and interviewed 11 leaders from these districts in December 2023 and January 2024. The districts the authors surveyed and the leaders they interviewed are members of the American School District Panel (ASDP). The ASDP is a research partnership between RAND and the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

The authors combine the perspectives of K–12 teachers and district leaders in this report to construct the most comprehensive picture to date of how educators are engaging with AI products and tools for teaching. Teachers reported how they actually use AI tools in their practices, and district leaders reported whether and how they are providing policies, guidance, and training on the use of AI tools.

Key Findings

  • As of fall 2023, 18 percent of K–12 teachers reported using AI for teaching and another 15 percent have tried AI at least once.
  • Middle and high school teachers and those who taught English language arts or social studies were more likely to be AI users.
  • Among those teachers who use AI for teaching, most were using virtual learning platforms, adaptive learning systems, and chatbots on a weekly basis.
  • The most common ways that teachers used AI tools were to adapt instructional content to fit the level of their students and to generate materials.
  • By the end of the 2023–2024 school year, 60 percent of districts plan to have trained teachers about AI use. Urban districts were the least likely to deliver such training.
  • In interviews, leaders described focusing more on increasing teachers' AI use and less on crafting student use policy, primarily because they saw the potential for AI to make teachers' jobs easier.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 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.

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