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Do Teach For America corps members and alumni positively impact students’ educational experiences?

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 experienced teachers in the same schools.

Three randomized, controlled trial studies, or “gold standard” studies, have been completed to date. Additionally, numerous quasi-experimental studies using administrative data sets drawn from states and districts have been completed, which offer results consistent with the gold standard studies.

Among the results are a 2015 evaluation that 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 that 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; and a 2004 study that found that students of TFA teachers receive close to an extra month of instruction in mathematics, but found no TFA advantage in reading.

The federal What Works Clearinghouse reviewed the research on TFA in 2016 and found similar evidence of impact on student achievement growth. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies that tested the effects of different teacher preparation programs on student achievement growth across a number of rigorous impact studies found that students of TFA teachers demonstrated gains that were, on average, equal to roughly 36 additional days of instruction compared to traditionally prepared teachers. And most recently, a Teach For America analysis using data from the Stanford Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that large charter school networks with TFA classroom, school, and system leaders were among the most effective.

For even more information, see our compiled list of studies regarding the impact of corps members.