Research Roundup: 6 Interesting Facts About the Effect of Teachers

Teachers & Principals | 04/10/2015

Lauren Sandherr
National Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Lauren manages the execution of Stand's marketing projects and hopes to bring needed attention to education issues.

It’s well-known that there are large disparities in achievement between various groups of students of different socioeconomic backgrounds, races and ethnicities, and locations.

While the overall national graduation rate is the highest it’s ever been, many groups of students still struggle to reach that goal and fall well short of the national average. This 2014 Washington Post article highlights many of the differences.

Another thing that’s well-known is that the greatest in-school influence on student success is the quality of the teacher in front of the classroom. Teaching is an art and a science, and the impact that a strong teacher can have on children's lives, especially low-income students, is incredible. How incredible? Let the research show you:

The Facts

  1. Teacher influence on student achievement has shown to be 20 times greater than other variables, such as class size and poverty.
  2. A great educator can increase a single classroom’s lifetime earnings by about $266,000.
  3. Three years with a good teacher increases student learning, but just one year with an ineffective teacher actually decreases it. 
  4. Students achieve about three times the academic gains with effective teachers than they make with less effective teachers, regardless of their backgrounds. In other words, in one school year, students get about one and a half years' worth of learning from the strongest teachers and only about a half a year's worth from the weakest. 
  5. Four consecutive years with effective teachers can erase the racial black-white testing gap
  6. The least qualified teachers are most likely to go to the students most in need. High-poverty and high-minority schools are much more likely to have lower teacher quality.

At Stand, we work to ensure that all children, regardless of background, graduate high school prepared for, and with access to, a college education. We know that for many, many American students, this means breaking the cycle and starting a new beginning for themselves, their families, and their communities. This is why we value the strong teachers out there doing great work in classrooms day in and day out. The difference it makes in ensuring all children have access to a successful future is not one that goes unnoticed.

THE Research

(1) Fallon, Daniel. (2003). Case study of a paradigm shift (The value of focusing on instruction). Education Research Summit: Establishing Linkages. University of North Carolina.

(2) Chetty, R.; Friedman, J.N.; & Rockoff, J. (2014). The Long Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood. Pub. American Economic Review.

(3) Bembry, K.; Jordan, H.; Gomez, E.; Anderson, M.; & Mendro, R. (1998). Policy implications of long-term teacher effects on student achievement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Diego, CA.

(4) Hanushek, Eric A. 2010. "The Difference is Teacher Quality." In Waiting for “Superman”: How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools, Karl Weber, ed. New York: Public Affairs.

(5) Gordon, Robert, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger. (2006). Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution.

(6) Presley, J., White, B., and Gong, Y. (2005). Examining the distribution and impact of teacher quality in Illinois. Policy Research Report: IERC 2005-2. Illinois Education Research Council.


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