Working Papers, Policy Briefs & Reports

Forecasting the Supply and Demand of Diverse Educators

Authors: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Olivia Chi​ Project Summary The increasing diversity of students in Massachusetts makes growing a diverse educator workforce a critical policy goal for the Commonwealth. In recent years, state and local leaders have responded to this challenge with a variety of programs and policy changes. This report details these efforts and their considerable impact to date. However, the findings show the racial and ethnic differences between the state’s students and teachers...

Who Benefits from Remote Schooling?

Authors: Jesse Bruhn, Christopher Campos, Eric Chyn  Project Summary At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts around the country quickly transitioned to providing full- or part-time remote learning options for students who had otherwise been attending school completely in person. These unusual and unprecedented circumstances meant that families suddenly had an opportunity to assess the suitability of remote learning for their children over an extended time. Although there is...

Comparing Turnover Intentions and Actual Turnover in the Public Sector Workforce

Authors: Tuan D. Nguyen, Elizabeth Bettini, Christopher Redding, Allison F. Gilmour Project Summary When teachers choose to leave their jobs, it can be disruptive and costly for their school and district, affecting everything from student learning to the experiences of other teachers and staff. For this reason, policymakers have been worried by indications that many teachers are thinking about leaving the profession. But just how reliable are these warning signs that teachers are thinking of...

Examining the Supply of New Special Educators

Authors: Tuan D. Nguyen, Elizabeth Bettini, Allison F. Gilmour, Christopher Redding Project Summary Special education teacher shortages have been a consistent problem around the U.S. for decades and have only grown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, reports of declining interest in special education among prospective teachers are especially concerning. The authors of this study examined the supply of new special education teachers into the workforce and the institutions...

Licensure Tests and Teacher Supply in Connecticut

Authors: Alexis Orellana and Marcus A. Winters Project Summary Traditional entry into the public-school teacher workforce requires individuals to pass at least one standardized test demonstrating their mastery of a particular subject and/or grade-level content area. Amid concerns about teacher shortages, policymakers are seeking to better understand whether licensure tests are serving their intended purpose and whether there are unintended consequences associated with these screening...

Deconstructing the EL Gap

Authors: Marcus A. Winters & Yasuko Kanno Project SummaryAcross U.S. schools, students classified as English learners (ELs) tend to achieve lower educational outcomes than their non-EL peers. What explains these differences? Are they a product of ELs’ developing English language proficiency and/or the services they receive at school, or do other factors play a role? The authors of this study attempt to deconstruct the "EL gap" in Massachusetts by examining the extent to which differences...

Disparate Teacher Effects, Comparative Advantage, and Match Quality

Author: Wiliam Delgado This reflects work completed in coordination with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. Project Summary This study uses data from the Chicago Public Schools to examine differences in student performance and experiences relative to varying measures of teacher quality and seeks to ask: Is the best teacher the best for everyone? The analysis explores the extent to which "highly effective" teachers are differentially effective for different groups of...

The Stickiness of Pandemic-Driven Disenrollment from Public Schools

Authors: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Tareena Musaddiq, Joshua Goodman, & Kevin Stange This reflects joint work with colleagues at the Education Policy Initiative at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy. Project Summary This study builds upon the authors’ prior research on enrollment shifts across school sectors during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and examines whether these patterns persisted into the subsequent school year. The authors use longitudinal...

Evaluating Emergency Licensure in Massachusetts

Authors: Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Olivia Chi, Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, Sidrah Baloch Project Summary Between 2021-2023 researchers with Boston University's Wheelock Educational Policy Center were contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to conduct an evaluation of the emergency license policy, a pandemic-induced change to entry requirements to the profession, on the composition and quality of the workforce in Massachusetts. This research effort spanned...

The Effect of Retention Under Mississippi’s Test-Based Promotion Policy

Authors: Kirsten Slungaard Mumma and Marcus A Winters Project Summary This study examines the impact of Mississippi’s test-based promotion policy, adopted in 2013 as part of a comprehensive statewide effort to improve early literacy. The authors employ a research design that allows them to estimate the causal impact of third-grade retention under the policy on test scores and non-test-score outcomes in the sixth grade. The findings contribute to our growing knowledge of how elementary-level...