Evaluation of the Teach For America Investing in Innovation Scale-Up
Last registered on December 28, 2013


Trial Information
General Information
Evaluation of the Teach For America Investing in Innovation Scale-Up
Initial registration date
Not yet registered
Last updated
December 28, 2013 4:20 PM EST
Primary Investigator
Mathematica Policy Research
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Mathematica Policy Research
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This evaluation will examine TFA’s efforts to scale up their program under an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Under the scale-up initiative, TFA plans to increase the size of its teacher corps by more than 80 percent by September 2014, placing 28,000 TFA teachers in high-need classrooms. The evaluation will include an implementation analysis of the scale-up efforts as well as an analysis of the impact of the scaled-up program on student achievement at the elementary school level. The impact analysis will be based on an experimental design, under which students in a given school and grade will be randomly assigned to a class taught by a TFA teacher or a class taught by a non-TFA teacher. Information on program implementation will be collected from interviews with TFA staff and TFA-collected data on both successful and unsuccessful applicants to its program. Data on student achievement for the impact analysis will be obtained from a study-administered assessment for students in grades kindergarten through 2 and from state or district records for students in grades 3 through 5. We will also survey teachers in the impact analysis sample on their backgrounds, attitudes, and classroom practices.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Clark, Melissa and Eric Isenberg. 2013. "Evaluation of the Teach For America Investing in Innovation Scale-Up." AEA RCT Registry. December 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.184-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Teach For America (TFA) is a program that strives to reduce educational inequities through the provision of high–quality teachers to low–income schools. The program recruits and trains college graduates with strong academic backgrounds and leadership capabilities to commit to teach for two years in public schools in low–income communities. These teachers, called corps members, typically have no formal training in education but receive an intensive five–week training from TFA before beginning their first teaching job. They also receive ongoing support from TFA throughout their two–year commitment.

In 2010, TFA launched a major expansion effort, funded in part by a five–year Investing in Innovation (i3) Scale–Up grant of $50 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII). This was one of four i3 scale–up grants, which were awarded to fund expansion of programs with rigorous evidence of prior effectiveness in improving student achievement. Through the i3 scale–up project, TFA plans to increase the size of its teacher corps by more than 80 percent by September 2014, with the goal of placing 13,500 first– and second–year corps members in classrooms by the 2014–2015 school year, expanding from 39 to 52 to 54 regions across the country, and accounting for more than 20 percent of new hires in high–poverty schools in these regions.

TFA has contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the i3 scale–up project’s effectiveness. This evaluation will include an analysis of the scale–up’s implementation as well as an analysis of the impact of elementary school TFA teachers recruited in the first and second years of the scale–up.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Student reading and math test scores
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Students in grades pre-kindergarten-2: Study-administered Woodcock-Johnson III Normative Update (NU) Tests of Achievement: Letter-Word Identification (grades prekindergarten–2), Passage Comprehension (grades kindergarten–2) subtests, Applied Problems (grades prekindergarten–2) and Calculation (grades 1–2) subtests.

Students in grades 3-5: Spring 2013 state reading and math assessment scores from district records

All scores converted to z-scores using control group means and standard deviations.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Random assignment of students to class taught by TFA teacher or class taught by teacher from some other teacher preparation program in the same grade and school.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization conducted by researchers using computer program.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
4,466 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
4,466 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
2,233 students assigned to TFA teachers, 2,233 assigned to teachers from other programs.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.10 standard deviations of test scores
IRB Name
New England IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers