Strategic Data Project Releases New Findings on LAUSD Teachers

November 14, 2012

Report highlights impacts of teacher placement and development on Los Angeles student achievement

Los Angeles, CA. (November 14, 2012) – Findings released today by researchers at the Strategic Data Project (SDP), based at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, illuminate patterns of teacher effects in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Using analysis of student achievement data to measure teacher effectiveness, SDP researchers uncovered a number of important findings about practices in teacher assignment, recruitment and retention.

Key SDP findings include: novice teachers are too often assigned to students who are already behind academically—perpetuating the achievement gap, teachers recruited through Career Ladder and Teach For America are more effective than the typical novice teacher, and National Board Certification is a stronger indicator of effectiveness than an advanced degree. Researchers also observe that LAUSD has a wide variance in teacher effectiveness, implying that there is a substantial opportunity for improving student outcomes in LAUSD by employing a host of strategies to enhance teacher effectiveness.

“As a system, we perform at our best when we effectively use data to work toward a common set of goals,” said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. “The findings of this study will help us be more strategic about how we maximize the impact of our greatest resource—the educators who are in front of youth each day.”

“We believe these findings will allow district leaders, educators, parents, and other stakeholders new insights into the educator workforce,” said Jon Fullerton, executive director of the Center for Education Policy Research. “We hope these analyses prompt district leadership to explore in more detail how teachers improve during their careers and how students and teachers get matched.”

For this report, entitled The LAUSD Human Capital Diagnostic, SDP studied LAUSD teacher and student data from the 2004-5 school year through the 2010-11 school year. The report addresses a broad range of topics about teachers in LAUSD, including the placement of students to teachers, the usage of extended substitutes, the impact of layoffs based on seniority, the relative success of novice teachers recruited from alternative pathways, and the improved effectiveness of teachers as they gain experience, degrees and certification.

The Strategic Data Project partners with school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies to bring high quality research methods and data analysis to bear on strategic management and policy decisions. The analyses presented today comprise the LAUSD Human Capital Diagnostic, which is the result of a two-year study conducted by SDP in partnership with LAUSD. It is one in a series of diagnostics conducted by SDP with partner districts across the country. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Findings will be presented today at a Los Angeles Education Research Institute (LAERI) Research Symposium, co-hosted by SDP, LAERI, LAUSD, and the UCLA Department of Public Policy, Luskin School of Public Affairs. The symposium will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at UCLA with introductory remarks by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. Please contact Julia Bloom for event and registration information.

SDP will also be releasing an LAUSD College-Readiness Diagnostic in the coming months on academic progress of high school students in the District. Diagnostic reports for other districts can be found at []


Contact: Julia Bloom
Tel: (617) 233-7905