Making a Difference?

Research Report

Making a Difference?

The Effect of Teach for America on Student Performance in High School


Teach for America (TFA) selects and places graduates from the most competitive colleges as teachers in the lowest-performing schools in the country. This paper is the first study that examines TFA effects in high school. We use rich longitudinal data from North Carolina and estimate TFA effects through cross-subject student and school fixed-effects models. We find that TFA teachers tend to have a positive effect on high school student test scores relative to non-TFA teachers, including those who are certified in-field. Such effects exceed the impact of additional years of experience and are particularly strong in math and science.

Research Area: 
To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.