Education Opinion

Data: Low-Performing Students Disproportionately Assigned to Novice Teachers

By Sara Mead — September 24, 2012 1 min read

Per this and this, the Strategic Data Project at Harvard School of Education recently looked at whether or not low-performing students are more likely to be assigned to novice (first year) teachers--and found strong evidence that the answer is yes. Check out this very cool infographic they put together explaining their findings.

On average, students assigned to novice teachers had scored .31 standard deviations lower on math tests the previous year (before they were assigned to a novice teacher) than students assigned to non-novice teachers. That’s a meaningful difference. This difference reflected patterns of inequitable distribution both across schools (novice teachers are more likely to be assigned to lower-performing schools) and within them. In fact, within individual schools, students assigned to novice teachers averaged prior year math scores .18 standard deviations lower than other students. In other words, there is strong evidence that both between and within school teacher assignment decisions result in a situation where the students who most need good instruction are disproportionately assigned to brand-new teachers, and where brand-new teachers are disproportionately assigned to struggling students.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.