Hiring and Assignment

Teachers are schools' most important asset. Absent the contribution of teachers, no other curriculum, pilot, or intervention stands much of a chance of working. That's why schools not only need to hire great teachers, they also need to place them strategically--in ways that are fair to teachers and students alike--and enact policies that encourage them to stay in the classroom.

How Moving Teachers Between Grade Levels Impacts Student Learning

Feb 2018

A great deal of attention has been given to the learning loss that can take place under brand new teachers, but there is a growing body of research that shows moving teachers between grade levels, or “grade switching,” can actually be harmful to student achievement too. While grade switching is a common practice for many reasons (about a quarter of all teachers in a school have switched grades any given year), here are a few things to consider when determining teacher assignments for the coming year.

The National Landscape

Across the country, more than 80,000 newly minted teachers are hired each year. Nearly as many teachers are moving between schools or districts, in addition to 40,000 who are returning to teaching after some period away.

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Great districts value their great teachers, putting policies and practices in place to keep these teachers thriving. 

Districts like Boston, D.C., and Denver have all earned "Great District for Great Teachers" status from NCTQ, because they take a comprehensive approach to talent management.

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Mutual Consent

When it comes to teachers transferring in a district, principals and teachers alike should have the right of refusal. That's call mutual consent. 

Most districts still "force place" teachers in schools. They do so because of state laws that require districts to keep teachers on the payroll, even if they have no teaching position.

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We need to keep our best teachers in the classroom. 

Just 20 states require districts to take teachers' performance into account when cutting staff due to reductions in force. 

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Can grade switching teachers actually harm student achievement? 

Research shows that teachers who switch grades are 40 percent more likely to leave the school the next year than teachers who stay teaching the same grade. How can district leaders guard against this issue? 

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