NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

How Teacher Turnover Harms Student Achievement

Matthew Ronfeldt, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, James Wyckoff

NBER Working Paper No. 17176
Issued in June 2011
NBER Program(s):   ED

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17176

Published: How teacher turnover harms student achievement (with Matthew Ronfeldt, and James Wyckoff). American Educational Research Journal, 50(1), pp. 4-36. 2013 .

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