What Does the Research Say?

Additional resources for Recruiting and Retaining Teachers
Closeup view of a stack of books.

Updated, May 2013

Why do so many teachers leave the profession? What encourages them to stay?

Not surprising, a fair amount of research has been conducted to answers these critical questions. We’ve listed quick links to much of that research below.


Special education teacher retention and attrition.
A 47-page critical analysis of the literature prepared for the Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education (COPSSE).

And the journal article on the same.
And here’s the 2004 analysis of the same (above resource) that appeared in the Journal of Special Education.

A review of 91 studies in teacher recruitment and retention.
From the Education Commission of the States.

The lowdown on the supply and demand for special educators.
Subtitled “Regarding the Nature of the Chronic Shortage in Special Education,” this article describes teacher shortages, trends in supply and demand, and polices that address shortages.

How teacher turnover harms student achievement.
This 2012 article appeared in the American Educational Research Journal and estimates the effects of teacher turnover on over 850,000 New York City 4th and 5th student observations over 8 years.

Who leaves? Teacher attrition and student achievement.
This 2007 paper considers patterns of attrition and retention among teachers in New York City elementary and middle schools and explores the crucial question as to whether teachers who transfer among schools or leave teaching entirely are more or less effective than those who remain. Findings raise questions about current retention and transfer policies.

What stays in teaching–and why?

More on why good teachers stay.
What Keeps Good Teachers in the Classroom? Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover is a policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education.

A review of the research literature.
A 2004 comprehensive examination of research published since 1980 on  teacher recruitment and retention.

The impact of mentoring on teacher retention: What the research says.
This 2004 report’s primary objective is to provide policymakers, educators, and researchers with a reliable assessment of what is known, and not known, about the effectiveness of teacher induction programs, especially its impact on teacher retention.

Developing a special education workforce that’s culturally and linguistically diverse.
A synthesis of research findings on the current demographics of diverse teachers and the impact on student outcomes.

On minority teacher recruitment, development, and retention. 
The Northeast and Islands REL at Brown University prepared this review of promising research to identify the most effective programs and practices that encourage more minorities to choose teaching as a career, develop expertise as teachers, and remain in the profession. http://www.alliance.brown.edu/pubs/minority_teacher/minteachrcrt.pdf

How changes in entry requirements alter the teacher workforce and affect student achievement.

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