Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research
Palo Alto, Calif. — Do teachers plateau early in their career or do they continue to grow and improve as they gain experience? Our report reexamines this critical question in light of recent research using advanced research methods. Based on a review of 30 studies published within the last 15 years, the authors find that as teachers gain experience throughout their careers, their students’ achievement gains increase. Although the steepest gains in effectiveness are in the first few years of teaching, this improvement continues in the second and often third decade of their careers, especially when they work in collegial work environments.
Other findings include:
- Experienced teachers have a positive impact on the performance of their peers.
- As teachers gain experience, their students are more likely to do better on other measures of success beyond test scores, such as school attendance.
- Teachers make greater gains in their effectiveness when they accumulate experience in the same grade level, subject, or district.
- More experienced teachers confer benefits to their colleagues, their students, and to the school as a whole.
The report has important implications for policymakers who are seeking to improve learning and close achievement gaps. Its findings highlight the value of retaining experienced teachers and offer strategies to improve their effectiveness. The report also raises equity concerns, since inexperienced teachers tend to be highly concentrated in underserved schools serving high-need students. Correcting this problem is a goal of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which requires districts and states to monitor and address teacher equity gaps, including the distribution of effective and experienced teachers.
Read the report at learningpolicyinstitute.org.