National Analyses of Teacher Force Development, Deployment, and Retention

Principal Investigators

Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University
Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania


Drawing on data from national databases such as the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) and the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), these analyses examined questions concerning the qualifications and quality of the teacher force, the conditions associated with developing and retaining a high quality teacher force, and the consequences of teacher qualifications in schooling and teaching practice. Analyses concentrated on the following topics (1) how teacher qualifications across states are related to student achievement patterns, in light of state policy; (2) teacher turnover, teacher shortage, and the organization of schools; and (3) inequalities in the distribution of teachers across fields and subjects. Additional work in this project addressed patterns in out-of-field teaching.

Main Research Questions

  • What are trends in the characteristics, qualifications, and type of preparation of veteran and newly hired teachers nationally, by state, and by type of district (by urbanicity, student SES, and per pupil expenditures)? Are teachers becoming better prepared? Are well-qualified teachers available to all types of students? Are high-need teachers (teachers of color and those in high-demand fields) being recruited in sufficient numbers? Do trends vary by state and/or type of district and school? Can these trends be linked to state and district policy variables, such as preparation requirements, salary levels, recruitment incentives?
  • How are teaching conditions and teacher qualifications distributed across schools, students, and courses? How are more and less-qualified teachers distributed by field, level, sector, and locale?
  • What factors—including teacher characteristics and workplace variables—influence teachers' commitment, sense of efficacy, and plans to remain in the profession?
  • Who is leaving teaching and why?
  • Are there discernible influences of such policies as beginning teacher induction programs, incentive pay schemes, school restructuring practices, or availability of professional development on teachers' qualifications, views of teaching, or retention patterns?


Regression analysis of data from NCES' Schools and Staffing Survey and the Teacher Follow-Up Survey (TFS)


Research Completed


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  1. A Different Approach to Solving the Teacher Shortage Problem
    Policy Brief 3, authored by Richard Ingersoll, January 2001.
  2. Is There Really a Teacher Shortage?
    A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, September 2003.

    In this report, Richard Ingersoll builds on his hypothesis that school staffing problems are due largely to excess demand resulting from high pre-retirement turnover and not solely or even primarily to supply-side deficits in the quantity of teachers produced. He also addresses criticisms of those who argue that concern over teacher turnover is exaggerated.

    PDFAbstractOriginal Study
  3. The Organization of Schools as an Overlooked Source of Underqualified Teaching
    Policy Brief 7, December 2002.
  4. Out-of-Field Teaching and the Limits of Teacher Policy
    A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, September 2003.

    In this report, Richard Ingersoll focuses on trends over the past decade in the level of underqualified teachers in schools and why recent reforms have failed to adequately address this problem.

    PDFAbstractOriginal Study
  5. Out-of-Field Teaching, Educational Inquality, and the Organization of Schools: An Exploratory Analysis
    A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, January 2002.

    This research report examines the practice of out-of-field teaching as a possible source of underqualified teaching in U.S. schools.

    PDFAbstractOriginal Study
  6. State Teaching Policies and Student Achievement
    Policy Brief 2, December 1999.
  7. Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence
    A Research Report by Linda Darling-Hammond, December 1999.

    This Research Report examines the ways in which teacher qualifications and other school inputs are related to student achievement across states and suggests that policies adopted by states regarding teacher education, licensing, hiring, and professional development may make important differences in the qualifications and capacities teachers bring to their work.

    PDFBriefAbstractOriginal Study
  8. Related Article: Darling-Hammond, Linda (2000). Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8(1).
  9. Related Article: Ingersoll, Richard (2001). Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 499-534.
  10. Teacher Turnover, Teacher Shortages, and the Organization of Schools
    A Research Report by Richard M. Ingersoll, January 2001.

    This Research Report provides data and a new framework for looking at the teacher shortage problem. The author shifts the focus away from the problem's two most common explanations (teacher retirement and student enrollment growth) to examine from a sociological view how certain organizational characteristics and conditions of schools lead to low teacher retention. The analysis suggests that education policies, such as teacher recruitment programs, will not solve the staffing problems of schools if they do not also address what is going on in schools that cause teachers to leave. A Policy Brief based on this report is also available.

    PDFBriefAbstractOriginal Study