Metro Atlanta Policy Lab for Education
Improving Teacher Quality Through The Hiring Process
How can principals hire teachers who will be successful?
Hiring quality teachers is an efficient and important lever in ensuring positive outcomes for students. The quality of hired teachers, however, depends on the quality of the available candidates and school leaders’ ability to select the best candidate from the applicant pool. To understand how principals make hiring decisions, we partner with a public school district in the metro-Atlanta area and analyze rich teacher applicant data. We find a mismatch between factors that influence hiring decisions and those correlated with teacher quality. We explore the possibility that hiring outcomes may appear less than ideal if candidate pools differ across schools, but we find no systematic differences in the size or quality of applicant pools. Moreover, no observable principal characteristics were associated with selecting a high-quality candidate. We discuss the policy implications of our findings, including how targeted messaging or pre-screening candidates could improve teacher quality overall.
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