GSE Publications

Document Type

Working Paper

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This work is a preliminary investigation as part of a larger project on Ambient Positional Instability (API) among teachers in public schools in the United States, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and undertaken by the University of Pennsylvania. API tracks the number of teachers who change school, grade and subject(s) they teach, as well as those who leave the profession. In this paper, API is analyzed through teacher retention and churn. Retention is defined as the proportion of teachers who remain in the system each year over the period covered in analysis, whereas churn is the ratio of the newcomers and leavers to the total numbers of teachers in the system in the previous year. Detailed formulae are provided later in this paper.

The purpose of this paper is to examine teacher retention and churn in the state of Minnesota from 2010 to 2015. Specifically, this paper examines 1) the retention of full-time public school teachers at the state level, district level, and school level, 2) teacher cohort retention trends in different subjects and grade levels, and finally, 3) teacher retention in the 5 largest districts of Minnesota. To analyze these issues, publicly-accessible administrative data on education staff in Minnesota from 2010 to 2015 was used.

This paper proceeds as follows. First, the rationale of the API project is described. Some of the reasons for teacher retention and churn are explored and the consequences of high teacher churn and turnover are explained. Next, detailed description of the data structure, our considerations in deciding how to reconfigure the data, and the process of data reconfiguration are described. Here, we also explain the challenges we faced while working with the data files. Thereafter, the findings regarding the three issues mentioned above are summarized. Finally, the conclusions drawn from the analysis and our next steps are presented.



Date Posted: 07 December 2016