As a data-driven organization, we use internal and external reviews to learn, evolve, and strengthen our work and impact.
At Teach For America, we operate with curiosity and embrace new ideas in order to constantly learn and improve. We work with corps members, alumni, and staff to gather data across all levels of our organization, and we partner with highly regarded researchers in order to critically examine our work and impact through rigorous, high-quality studies and research.
We take pride in being one of the most researched nonprofits in the country, and we continue to support independent research and reviews that help us gain a better understanding of our impact on students and strengthen our work and results.
Partner With Us to Conduct Research
As part of our effort to learn and continuously improve, we collect extensive data and statistics internally. We also support independent research and evaluations that assess our impact, with the firm belief that a diversity of research methodologies ensures the most complete understanding of our work.
If you would like to partner with us to conduct research, please fill out our preliminary research inquiry form. If you have questions about research on Teach For America, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Findings From Research on TFA
Our Impact on Students
A large and growing body of independent, rigorous research shows that our corps members and alumni are as effective, and in many instances more effective, in promoting student achievement growth compared with classically trained teachers in the same schools.
- A 2015 evaluation found that corps members produce an additional 1.3 months of progress in reading in pre-K through second grade classrooms, when compared to other teachers.
- A 2013 study found that corps members’ students achieve 2.6 months or more additional progress in math in a given year than those taught by other teachers at the same school.
- In a 2015 paper, researchers found suggestive evidence that corps members had an impact on several non-tested outcomes. Students taught by corps members in elementary and middle school were less likely to miss school because of unexcused absences and suspensions than students taught by non-Teach For America teachers in the same school.
Our Impact on Schools and Communities
We strive to not only have a positive impact on the students we teach, but on the schools they attend and the communities in which they live, as well. For the past two decades, we have commissioned the biennial National Principal Survey (NPS), an independent, external survey of our partner principals, to evaluate the performance of our corps members in their schools.
- 86 percent of principals strongly agreed (37 percent), moderately agreed (28 percent) or somewhat agreed (21 percent) with the statement, “I am satisfied with the corps members in my school.”
- Of the survey respondents, 82 percent would hire a corps member in the future, while 88 percent responded that they would recommend hiring corps members to other principals.
For even more information, read the 2017 RAND study for school leader perspectives on induction, support, and school partnership.
Our Impact on Corps Members and Alumni
While Teach For America involves a two-year commitment to teach, approximately three-fifths of our corps members teach for at least a third year, and many more stay in the education field. Among alumni, teaching is the most common profession. Other alumni go on to push for educational equity through leadership in other career fields, such as policy, law, and social entrepreneurship. There is no shortage of inspiring Teach For America alumni leadership stories, and more appear as our alumni base grows and matures.
- One study published in 2011 examined the work histories of founders and top management team members of 49 nationally prominent entrepreneurial education organizations. It concluded that more founders and top leaders started their careers with Teach For America than anywhere else.
- A 2015 study found that those who have gone through Teach For America are more likely to work in education compared to those who applied and were close to being admitted but did not complete Teach For America. It also found that Teach For America alumni were more racially tolerant and more optimistic about life prospects of low-income children.
For more information, read this quasi-experimental study by Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and Vanderbilt University.