Where You Come From, or Where You Go?

A challenge with measuring the Match teacher prep program has been this very question.  Our tiny internal data set shows that our graduates go on to have spectacular -- unprecedented to my knowledge -- Value-Added Gains as teachers. 

However, there is a GIGANTIC caveat.  Our teacher trainees get scooped up and hired by many top charter schools.  So when the kids learn a ton in the classroom of one of our teacher alumni -- is it "us" (selecting, training that teacher) or is it "them" (the awesome peers and school leader who create the conditions/climate for our alum to succeed)?  Teacher prep effect, or school effect?  

That's exactly the question asked by a new Calder Center scholarly paper.   

Where You Come From or Where You Go? Distinguishing Between School Quality and the Effectiveness of Teacher Preparation Program Graduates

The result? 

We show that the ranking of preparation programs varies significantly depending on whether or not school environment is taken into account via school fixed effects.

Also this:

Using statewide data from Florida, we show that teachers tend to teach in schools near the programs in which they received their training, but there is still sufficient overlap across schools to identify preparation program effects.

Finally, we find significant variance inflation in the estimated program effects when controlling for school fixed effects, and that the size of the variance inflation factor depends crucially on the length of the window used to compare graduates teaching in the same schools.

For Match, we wonder if the only way to answer this definitively would be the first-ever randomized trial of a Graduate School of Education. 

We could then isolate selection and school effect, and leave just "teacher preparation effect." 

We lined up some great scholars who'd handle all the measurement.  However, this would be really complex and expensive.