- A study by CALDER, the education policy arm of the American Institutes for Research, indicates that school districts are likely to choose better teacher candidates if their prescreening tools align closely with classroom experiences and expectations in their district, District Administration reports.
- The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation and one that grants tenure comparatively early, uses a district-developed rubric to screen candidates based on eight components: an interview, professional references, a sample lesson, a timed writing sample, their undergrad GPA, subject matter licensure test scores, a background check, and teaching preparation and credentials.
- Spokane Public Schools uses a similar approach in hiring, with a 60-point rubric that focuses on 10 key components that include classroom management skills and cultural competency.
The teacher hiring process in one of the most important responsibilities of district leadership. Not only can bad or ineffective teachers cause harm in the classroom, the cost of replacing teachers adds up. Teacher turnover costs school districts about $2.2 billion each year as the cost of recruiting, hiring and processing a new teacher ranges from $4,300 to more than $17,000, depending on the area of the country.
School and district leaders need to have a good process in place for choosing teachers in order to ensure the best fit for their district, to reduce teacher absenteeism, and to retain those effective teachers for many years to come. However, the decision is not always easy. Factors such as likability, which seem to be obvious factors, are not always the best predictors for success, researchers have found.
Some school districts are relying more heavily on analytics than in the past, while others are creating hiring teams to make the decisions rather than leaving the choice to one person, such as the principal. As school districts better understand the qualities that best work in their school districts, they can be better prepared to look for teachers with those qualities. The struggle will then be to retain those teachers so that the process will not have to begin again.