GSE Publications

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

8-10-2016

Abstract

Ambient positional instability (API) here refers to any type of shift teachers may experience in their assigned position, including changes in school, grade, or subject assignment. API is a factor which has major research design and educational implications. Research designs which do not consider the instability of teaching positions may fail to obtain representative samples due to attrition. Controlled experiments must be designed to account for these potential shifts in teacher positions. Some evidence suggests a notable correlation between teacher turnover and poorer academic achievement among students. Finally, districts, organizations, and DOEs that create teacher training programs will have less impact if teachers leave their positions after training.

Despite the importance of teacher positional stability, little research has been conducted to determine the prevalence of ambient positional instability in schools and to determine if there are any differing patterns of ambient positional instability across states and school districts. This study on which this report is based was funded through the National Science Foundation. Through the assistance of the Arkansas Department of Education, public records of all public school teachers and staff were acquired from the 2010-2011 to the 2014-2015 school years. This report presents results of analyses of Arkansas API and its six largest districts.

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Date Posted: 28 September 2016