Collaboration and Reflection to Enhance Atlanta Teacher Effectiveness



Teacher residencies are surfacing as a promising model for teacher preparation. One such residency program—Collaboration and Reflection to Enhance Atlanta Teacher Effectiveness (CREATE)—seeks to raise student achievement in local high‐needs schools by increasing the effectiveness and retention of both new and veteran educators. CREATE aims to achieve this by developing critically-conscious, compassionate, and skilled educators who are committed to teaching practices that prioritize racial justice and interrupt inequities. This quasi-experiment, funded by an Investing in Innovations (i3) grant, follows two staggered cohorts of study participants (CREATE and comparison teachers) for three years per cohort, starting with the first cohort in 2015–16. Confirmatory analyses found no statistically significant effects of CREATE on two Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) ratings for Instructional Strategies (p = .221) and Positive Learning Environment (p = .192), or on student achievement on ELA (p = .454), math (p = .569), and general achievement (p = .234). However, exploratory analyses (pre-registered) found very promising results showing undisrupted retention over a three-year time period (spanning graduation from Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development, entering teaching, and retention into the second year of teaching) for the CREATE group, relative to the comparison group (p =.038). We also observed that the favorable impact is driven largely by higher continuous retention among Black educators in CREATE relative to those in the comparison group (p = .021). The percentages of teachers in CREATE, as averaged across the two study cohorts, who maintain an uninterrupted trajectory of graduating from GSU-CEHD, and taught in their first and second year are 94.8%, 87.4% and 84.6%, respectively. In the matched comparison group the corresponding values are 87.9%, 72.9%, and 68.0%. Among Black teachers in CREATE, the values are 98.6%, 96.3% and 95.5%, respectively. In the matched comparison group of Black teachers, the corresponding values are 85.7%, 68.5%, and 62.8%..

These results are further corroborated by statistically significant or marginally statistically significant differential impacts favoring Black teachers on several potential mediators of impact: resilience, self-efficacy, and stress management and empathy related to teaching. The positive findings on retention, particularly for Black educators, is important given that 44% of teachers in Georgia leave the profession within the first five years, with evidence in the literature indicating that in the South, Black teachers experience higher turnover rates than non-Black teachers (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond, 2017). The authors discuss a number of factors that could have led to null impacts on confirmatory outcomes. The lack of variation in teacher performance ratings, which is a known issue in Georgia and in the literature at large (Weisberg et al., 2009; Kraft & Gilmour, 2017) could have contributed to the results for the TAPS ratings. Studies of teacher residency programs also suggest that impact on student achievement might not be present or detected in earlier years of teaching. Additionally, analyses of student achievement in this study were limited by small sample sizes of teachers in tested grades and subjects. The authors hope to address these limitations and to investigate the promising outcomes on retention, especially for Black educators, in current and future studies of CREATE, for which we have secured funding for programming and research through the eighth cohort.

This study was presented at the 2020 virtual conferences for the American Educational Research Association and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) in September 2020. Download the slide deck or watch the video recording of the virtual presentation.