In 2010, Teach For America (TFA) launched a major expansion effort, funded in part by a five-year Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up grant of $50 million from the U.S. Department of Education.
A new study by Mathematica's education experts examines the effectiveness of TFA elementary school teachers in the second year of the scale-up, relative to other teachers in the same grades and schools. The study found that, on average, TFA corps members hired in the first two years of the scale-up period were as effective as other teachers in the same high-poverty schools in both reading and math. TFA teachers in lower elementary grades (prekindergarten through grade 2) had a positive, statistically significant effect on students' reading achievement relative to other teachers in the same schools. Similarly, TFA teachers in grades 1 and 2 had a positive effect on students’ math achievement of 0.16 standard deviations, or about 1.5 additional months of learning. This difference was almost statistically significant at conventional levels (p-value = 0.054). We did not find statistically significant impacts for TFA teachers in upper elementary grades (3 through 5) in reading or math.