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Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8
Where Did the Questions Come From?
How Were the Questions Answered?

This report focuses on eight key questions (and a number of related questions) concerning teacher recruitment and retention:

Question 1:

What are the characteristics of those individuals who enter teaching?

Related Questions:

How do the characteristics of individuals who are currently teaching differ from the characteristics of those who are not? What accounts for the demographics of the current population of teachers? What are the characteristics of the reserve pool of licensed teachers who currently are not teaching?

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Question 2:

How do those individuals who remain in teaching compare with those who leave?

Related Questions:

What relationship do the following characteristics have to retention in teaching: age and teaching experience; gender, family and socioeconomic status; race and ethnicity; academic qualifications; intellectual proficiency; demonstrated teaching ability; subject taught; and beliefs, values and attitudes? How does the turnover rate in teaching compare to that in other professions?

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Question 3:

What are the characteristics of schools and districts most likely to be successful in recruiting and retaining teachers?

Related Questions:

Do schools differ in their success at recruiting and retaining teachers based on the following characteristics: geography — urban, suburban or rural; grade level; school type — elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, public versus private? Do student-body composition and performance have an impact on the ability of schools to recruit and retain teachers?

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Question 4:

What impact do the working conditions in schools have on their ability to recruit and retain teachers?

Related Questions:

How important are teacher autonomy and administrative support? How important is class size? How important are student characteristics and attitudes?

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Question 5:

What impact does compensation have on the recruitment and retention of teachers?

Related Questions:

Does offering higher salaries increase the quality of teachers who are recruited and retained? How important is teacher compensation in teacher recruitment and retention as compared to other factors?

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Question 6:

What impact do various strategies related to teacher preparation have on teacher recruitment and retention?

Related Questions:

Is there any significant difference between alternative route and traditional route programs in retention rates of the teachers they prepare? What impact does raising preparation program entrance or completion requirements have on the recruitment and retention of teachers?

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Question 7:

What impact do induction and mentoring have on teacher retention?

Related Question:

What are the characteristics of effective induction and mentoring programs?

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Question 8:

What is the efficacy of particular recruitment strategies and policies in bringing new teachers into the profession, including specifically targeted populations?

Related Questions:

Are programs that seek to recruit middle school, high school or community college students into teaching effective in increasing the number of students who enter teaching or the subsequent success of these teachers and their rate of retention in the profession? How effective are programs that offer scholarships or forgivable loans to college students who commit to going into teaching? What kinds of recruitment policies and programs are particularly successful in recruiting minority teachers?

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Where Did the Questions Come From?

ECS synthesized the questions from: (1) five focus groups conducted with policymakers in 2000-01, (2) an ECS review of legislation introduced in all 50 states during the 2000 and 2001 sessions, and (3) the experience and insight of ECS staff. While there are other questions policymakers and education leaders have concerning teacher preparation, ECS believes the eight questions addressed here are currently the most important.

How Are the Questions Answered?

The response to each question consists of four sections: Quick Answer, Significance of the Question, What the Research Says and What It Means for Policy.

The Quick Answer provides the briefest, most direct answer possible to the question posed. It goes without saying that such a brief answer cannot do justice to the complexity of the question and the nuances of the evidence. Moreover, the policy implications summarized in this section can be understood only in the context of the more detailed discussion.

The Significance of the Question outlines the debates or controversies that surround the question, provides a sense of what is at stake and gives examples of the kinds of policies that hinge on the answer.

What the Research Says is a detailed examination of the research on the question (and, in some cases, related questions) posed. This section is divided into two parts. The first part gives a general summary of the relevant research. Depending on the strength of the evidence provided as judged by the author of this report, research is said either to be inconclusive, provide limited support or evidence, moderate support or evidence, or strong support or evidence.

The second part provides brief summaries of every work reviewed that relates to the question under consideration. Frequently, the same work is summarized more than once under a question, and not always in identical detail, because specific findings may be relevant to different sub-questions. When a work is included more than once, the general summary information about the work appears only the first time.

The discussion in this section draws significantly on a review of the research by RAND that was specifically commissioned by ECS for this report, A Review of the Research Literature on Teacher Recruitment and Retention. The RAND review was written by Cassandra Guarino, Lucrecia Santibañez, Glenn Dailey and Dominic Brewer.

What It Means for Policy discusses the extent to which the research findings provide guidance for developing policies or programs. The discussion here is generally more substantive than the policy recommendations summarized in the Quick Answer. Conclusions in this section do not take into consideration the potential costs of implementing a given policy, and it is not ECS' intent to recommend that certain policies be implemented. Rather, the conclusions only indicate that specific policies, or kinds of policies, are consistent with the research evidence.

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© 2005 Education Commission of the States