Working Papers, Policy Briefs & Reports

Using Classroom Observations in the Evaluation of Special Education Teachers

Authors: Nathan D. Jones, Courtney A. Bell, Mary Brownell, Yi Qi, David Peyton, Daisy Pua, Melissa Fowler, Steven Holtzman Project Summary While teacher evaluation systems and policies have evolved nationwide during the past decade, the use of structured classroom observation tools remains nearly universal. This paper examines one of the most popular observation systems in the country—Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (FFT)—and asks the question: “How well do common observation...

COVID-19 and the Composition of the Massachusetts Teacher Workforce

Authors: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Olivia Chi, and Alexis Orellana Project Summary The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented disruption for school systems, educators, and the students they serve. The pandemic-related challenges had the potential to alter both the supply of and demand for teachers, particularly in Massachusetts which was an early epicenter of the pandemic. The following analysis examines the extent to which the composition of the teacher workforce changed in Massachusetts during...

The Pandemic’s Effect on Demand for Public Schools, Homeschooling, and Private Schools

Authors: Tareena Musaddiq, Kevin Stange, Andrew Bacher-Hicks, & Joshua Goodman This reflects joint work with colleagues at the Education Policy Initiative at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy. Additional information on their website here.  Project Summary The COVID-19 pandemic drastically disrupted the functioning of U.S. public schools, potentially changing the relative appeal of alternatives such as homeschooling and private schools. Using student-level...

Teacher Time Use and Affect During COVID-19

Authors: Nathan Jones, Eric Camburn, Ben Kelcey, & Esther Quintero This research was supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences. Project Summary In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shutdown of school buildings across the United States and a subsequent unplanned nationwide transition to remote learning. For teachers, these school building closures resulted in a transformation of many facets of their work, requiring them to take on new and often...

The COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupted Both School Bullying and Cyberbullying

Author: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Joshua Goodman, Jennifer Greif Green, Melissa K. Holt Project Summary School bullying is widespread and has substantial social costs. One in five U.S. high school students report being bullied each school year and these students face greater risks of serious mental health chal-lenges that extend into adulthood. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced most students into online education, many have worried that cyberbullying prevalence would grow dramatically. We use data...

The School to Prison Pipeline: Long-Run Impacts of School Suspensions on Adult Crime

Author: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Stephen B. Billings, & David J. Deming Project Summary When faced with behavioral infractions, schools often turn to suspensions or other forms of exclusionary discipline as a means of managing student behavior and restoring a productive classroom learning environment. This paper estimates the net impact of school discipline on student achievement, educational attainment and future involvement with the criminal justice system. Using variation in school...

The Effect of Charter Schooling on Student Mobility and Classification Status

Authors: Allison Gilmour, Colin Shanks, & Marcus A. Winters Project SummaryThe characteristics of students enrolled in charter schools often differ from those of surrounding traditional public schools. Anecdotes of charter schools inappropriately discouraging unwanted students from applying (“cream skimming”) or encouraging struggling students to leave for a different school (“pushing out”) have led to the concern that such “enrollment gaps” are caused by charter schools systematically...

The Impact of Principal Attrition and Replacement on Indicators of School Quality

Authors: Marcus A. Winters, Brian Kisida, & Ikhee Cho   Project Summary This study explores whether principal transitions are inherently disruptive or if the impact of changing principals depends on the context surrounding the outgoing or incoming principal—namely, whether the new principal was hired externally or promoted from within a school. Key Findings We find that transitions to both internal and external hires negatively impact student performance. Externally hired principals also...

A Classroom Observer Like Me: The Effects of Race-congruence and Gender-congruence Between Teachers and Raters on Observation Scores

Author: Olivia Chi  Project Summary To further understand the challenges of diversifying the teacher pipeline, Olivia Chi examines how race and gender dynamics influence administrators’ subjective assessments of teachers in the context of classroom observations. Specifically, Chi asks whether teachers receive higher classroom observation scores as a result of sharing race or gender with their observers, who are typically school-based administrators. On a broad scale, if teachers benefit from...

Inequality in Household Adaptation to Schooling Shocks: COVID-19 Induced Online Learning Engagement in Real Time

Authors: Andrew Backer-Hicks, Joshua Goodman, & Christine Mulhern Project Summary In March of 2020, COVID-19 disrupted in-person education, causing both students and staff to abruptly switch to online learning models. The shift to virtual learning caused students to become reliant on technology, which raised equity concerns for lower income students who may not have access to a computer, high-speed internet, or parents with the time and training to oversee their learning. Andrew...