NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Matthew Ronfeldt

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Working Papers

June 2011How Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement
with Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, James Wyckoff: w17176
Researchers and policymakers often assume that teacher turnover harms student achievement, but recent evidence calls into question this assumption. Using a unique identification strategy that employs grade-level turnover and two classes of fixed-effects models, this study estimates the effects of teacher turnover on over 600,000 New York City 4th and 5th grade student observations over 5 years. The results indicate that students in grade-levels with higher turnover score lower in both ELA and math and that this effect is particularly strong in schools with more low-performing and black students. Moreover, the results suggest that there is a disruptive effect of turnover beyond changing the composition in teacher quality.
May 2010Recruiting Effective Math Teachers: How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare?: Evidence from New York City
with Donald Boyd, Pam Grossman, Karen Hammerness, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, James Wyckoff: w16017
School districts often struggle to recruit and retain effective math teachers. Alternative-route certification programs aim to expand the pool of teachers available; however, many alternate routes have not been able to attract large numbers of teacher candidates with undergraduate degrees in math. In response, some districts, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City, have developed alternative programs with a math immersion component to recruit candidates who do not have undergraduate majors in math. Such programs provide potential math teachers with intensive math preparation to meet state certification requirements while, at the same time maintaining an early-entry approach in which individuals who have not completed a teacher preparation program can beco...
The Role of Teacher Quality in Retention and Hiring: Using Applications-to-Transfer to Uncover Preferences of Teachers and Schools
with Donald Boyd, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, James Wyckoff: w15966
Many large urban school districts are rethinking their personnel management strategies, often giving increased control to schools in the hiring of teachers, reducing, for example, the importance of seniority. If school hiring authorities are able to make good decisions about whom to hire, these reforms have the potential to benefit schools and students. Prior research on teacher transfers uses career history data, identifying the school in which a teacher teaches in each year. When this data is used to see which teachers transfer, it is unclear the extent to which the patterns are driven by teacher preferences or school preferences, since the matching of teachers to schools is a two-sided choice. This study uses applications-to-transfer data to examine separately which teachers apply for...

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