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Making the Cut: The Effectiveness of Teacher Screening and Hiring in the Los Angeles Unified School District
Despite evidence that many schools and districts have considerable discretion when hiring teachers and the existence of an extensive literature on teacher quality, little is known about how best to hire teachers. This is, in part, because predicting teacher quality using readily-observable teacher characteristics has proven difficult and there is very little evidence linking information collected during the teacher hiring process to teachers’ outcomes once they are hired. We contribute to this literature using data from a recently-adopted teacher screening system in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that allows applicant records to be linked to student- and teacher-level data for those teachers who are subsequently employed in the district. We find that performance during screening, and especially performance on specific screening assessments, is significantly predictive of applicants’ eventual employment in LAUSD and teachers’ later contributions to student achievement, evaluation outcomes, and attendance, but not to teacher mobility or retention. However, applicants’ performance on individual components of the screening process are differentially predictive of different teacher outcomes, highlighting potential trade-offs faced by districts during screening. In addition, we find suggestive evidence across time and between districts that the shift to the new teacher screening system improved hiring outcomes in LAUSD relative to other similar districts and schools.
Citation: Paul Bruno, Katharine O. Strunk (2018). Making the Cut: The Effectiveness of Teacher Screening and Hiring in the Los Angeles Unified School District. CALDER Working Paper No. 184