A Review of the Research
Research from 2016 by Tara Kini and Anne Podolsky looked at the question; Do teachers continue to improve in their effectiveness as they gain experience in the teaching profession? This paper aims to answer that question by critically reviewing recent literature that analyzes the effect of teaching experience on student outcomes in k-12 public schools in the United States. The goal of this paper is to provide researchers and policymakers with a comprehensive and timely review of this body of work. By including teacher fixed effects in their analyses, researchers have been able to compare a teacher with multiple years of experience to that same teacher when he or she had fewer years of experience. Source; Learning policy institute.
Based on their review of 30 studies published within the last 15 years that analyze the effect of teaching experience on student outcomes in the United States and met specific methodological criteria, the authors found that:
- Teaching experience is positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career. Gains in teacher effectiveness associated with experience are most steep in teachers’ initial years, but continue to be significant as teachers reach the second, and often third, decades of their careers.
- As teachers gain experience, their students not only learn more, as measured by standardized tests, they are also more likely to do better on other measures of success, such as school attendance.
- Teachers’ effectiveness increases at a greater rate when they teach in a supportive and collegial working environment, and when they accumulate experience in the same grade level, subject, or district.
- More-experienced teachers support greater student learning for their colleagues and the school as a whole, as well as for their own students.
1. Increase stability in teacher job assignments. Research shows that teachers who have repeated experience teaching the same grade level or subject area improve more rapidly than those whose experience is in varied grade levels or subjects. School leaders should be made aware of the increased benefits of specific teaching experiences and consider this in their decisions about teaching assignments.
2. Create conditions for strong collegial relationships among school staff and a positive and professional working environment. Among the most common reasons teachers give for leaving the classroom is an unsupportive principal or a lack of collegial support among the staff. In contrast, teachers who have chosen to stay in the profession cite the quality of relationships among staff, a supportive principal, and opportunities to collaborate as among their most important reasons for continuing to teach. Collegiality is hard to legislate, but nonetheless, there are concrete steps that policymakers can take. District and school leaders can facilitate scheduling changes to allow for regular blocks of time for teachers who teach the same subject or who share groups of students to collaborate and plan curriculums together. Federal and state policymakers can promote principal career pathways, in which talented teachers are proactively recruited and intensively trained by an expert principal. Increasing opportunities for collaboration and a more productive working environment is smart policy both because of the promise it holds for increased teacher retention and because the benefits of experience are greater for teachers in strong professional working environments.
3. Strengthen policies to encourage the equitable distribution of more experienced teachers and discourage the concentration of novice teachers in high-needs schools.