Teach for America impact studied

Teachers from a nonprofit that deploys recent college graduates to teach in some of the neediest public schools in the U.S. are outperforming traditional teachers, a new study says.

High school students taught by Teach for America teachers perform better on end-of-course exams than those taught by traditional teachers, says an evaluation by the Urban Institute.

That finding holds true even when comparing Teach for America’s teachers to more experienced educators, and even though the nonprofit’s teachers are assigned to more academically-challenged classrooms.

And while gains are seen across all subject areas, math and science see particular benefits from the Teach for America program.

“Evidence shows that, in terms of test scores, TFA teachers are able to more than offset their lack of teaching experience, either due to their better academic preparation in particular subject areas or due to other unmeasured factors such as motivation,” the report says.

The 2009 report updates a 2007 report using a larger sample size and additional comparisons.

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