Teacher Quality and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities
More than one out of eight students have an identified disability, and students with disabilities tend to lag behind their typical peers on a variety of outcomes. It has been well established that teacher quality is an important determinant of student success, and there are persistent shortages of special education teachers. The available evidence suggests that, on average, students with disabilities are not being assigned to teachers of different quality in comparison to students without disabilities. However, there are many challenges to studying the quality of the teachers who instruct special education students. As a result, we know relatively little about the quality of special education teachers and what factors determine special education teacher quality. One existing study suggests that the determinants of teacher effectiveness for students with disabilities may be rather different than for teachers of nondisabled students; certification status and advanced degree attainment are positively correlated with a teacher’s ability to increase achievement for students with disabilities, but not so for the general student population. Given the difficulty that districts face in hiring and retaining special education teachers, more research on special education teacher quality would be valuable when assessing potential policies such as recruiting bonuses, loan forgiveness, or differential pay.
CALDER Policy Brief No. 11-0918-1
Citation: Curran Prettyman, Tim Sass (2018). Teacher Quality and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities. CALDER Working Paper No.