Testing, Teacher Turnover and the Distribution of Teachers across Grades and Schools

Research Rundown Issue: February '20
Publisher: National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research
Date Published: January '20


Over the last decade, Georgia has implemented four different student testing regimes with variation in both the subjects and grade levels tested. This presented a unique opportunity for researchers to look at the relationship between standardized assessments and teacher retention in isolation, whereas previous studies on the topic have been based in situations where testing was simultaneously instituted alongside other changes to school accountability.

Overall, the analysis found that the removal of statewide achievement tests had no effect on the likelihood that the teacher would leave the profession, change schools within a district, or move between districts, but a slight impact on the retention of early-career teachers. This study is unique because it looks more directly at the question of eliminating tests, and finds little direct connection to turnover.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

Teacher turnover in an ongoing policy topic in Minnesota. Last year, the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) released a report which found that 53% of licensed Minnesota teachers were no longer working in a classroom, but also noted a lack of data around why. A recent study by Minneapolis Public Schools found that teachers of color leave the profession because of persistent negative interactions, racial isolation, and job security. Nationally, the biggest reasons teachers report leaving the profession are personal life factors and deciding to pursue a different position. For those who have considered leaving the profession, the biggest factors cited are burnout, stress, inadequate pay, and lack of feeling valued. About 1% report testing requirements as a factor, which aligns with the findings from this new analysis.

Read the analysis