Teachers hired in recessions get better results, says US study

The BBC is reporting a new study that suggests teachers recruited during a recession and a tougher jobs market are more likely to get better results for their pupils.

The researchers say in an economic decline, with pressure on employment, teaching attracts more talented staff.

Academics analysed results in more than 30,000 schools in Florida in the US and found higher scores in classes taught by teachers hired in the recession.

They also say it shows higher pay “would improve teacher quality”.

The study from the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US examines how the recession and a tighter jobs market affected the quality of recruits into teaching.

The analysis, to be presented at the the European Economic Association in Mannheim in Germany, found that teaching attracted more talented graduates at times when other employment opportunities were worsening.

And when looking at exam results, pupils on average did better in classes taught by teachers hired during a recession.

This compared 5,200 teachers in Florida state schools who started during a recession and 27,800 teachers who started in non-recessionary times.

“Teachers who entered the profession during recessions are significantly more effective than teachers who entered the profession during non-recessionary periods,” concluded the study.

During a recession, other careers could seem more insecure, offered fewer opportunities or could have reduced pay, which would push a higher number of “able individuals” towards teaching.

This economic analysis argues that this suggests that increasing teachers pay would attract higher-quality recruits, which is linked to higher results…

More at: Teachers hired in recessions get better results, says US study


This is obviously US research, but would you say these findings are consistent with your own experiences of recruitment into the profession in this country too?

If valid, and if we continue to experience an improving economy, it doesn’t bode well for the recruitment crisis we are facing but suggests better pay should have a meaningful impact on improving the situation.

Your thoughts and reactions? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


Will more targeting of pay help or hinder teacher recruitment issues?


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  1. NBER is a respected research institute but it doesn’t take research to discover increasing pay for teachers would increase recruitment.  Why take a demanding job like teaching if other professions pay more?
    That said, the report (which isn’t yet in the public domain) said teaching attracted better graduates during a recession (suggesting less job ops elsewhere)  but there’s actually a teacher shortage in USA despite the recession and there have been teacher lay offs  https://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2015-08-11/teacher-shortages-across-the-u-s

    The report claims pupils taught by these higher-calibre graduates had higher test scores.  This is based on just one state, Florida, so the conclusion might not apply elsewhere.  In the US, responsibility for education is devolved to states.  In 2012, Florida lowered the pass threshold for third graders which allowed more students to ‘pass’.    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/florida-lowers-passing-fc_n_1539675.html.  Critics suggested this was to deflect criticism of Florida’s education system which had been ‘reformed’ by presidential hopeful, Jeb Bush (brother of GW).

  2. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove makes sense in that there will be larger pool to choose from – as opposed to no pool at all at the moment

  3. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove Our govt’s response would be to lower entry requirements to attract more applicants rather than pay more to improve quality.

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