The Timing of Teacher Hires and Teacher Qualifications: Is There an Association?

Dec. 01, 2012

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 14, No. 12, December 2012, p. 1-29.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examines the pervasiveness of late teacher hiring in urban and suburban school districts and explores the association between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications, including certification, master’s degree, and selectivity of undergraduate institution.

The author used data on school districts, public schools, and public school teachers from the 1999–2000 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) to describe the timing of teacher hires and to examine the relationship between timing and teacher qualifications.


This study provides the first quantitative evidence on the association between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications.

Descriptive results indicate that across the nation, districts hire a large portion of teachers during the second half of summer or once school has already begun.
On average, districts hire 45% of their new teachers late—during the second half of summer and once the school year has already begun.

Results indicate no association between the proportion of teachers hired at various time points and the teacher qualifications, including selectivity of teachers’ undergraduate institutions and whether teachers are certified or have master’s degrees.
Late hiring is more pervasive in urban and low-socioeconomic-status districts where over half of new hires take place during this late period.
In urban districts, fully one fifth of new hires are made once the school year has already begun.

Implications for Policy and Practice

Hires made late in the summer, and particularly those hires made after school has already begun, are likely to disrupt the beginning of the school year in a number of ways.
Evidence indicates that teachers who participate in induction activities are less likely to attrit, and the opportunity to participate in these activities is diminished for late hires.
Importantly, results presented here confirm that late hires are substantially more likely to occur in urban and low-SES districts.

Further, that late hiring is more prevalent in disadvantaged and urban districts indicates that any problems or disruptions that result from late hires will be more pronounced in these already beleaguered schools.
Thus, schools and districts should make efforts, whenever possible, to minimize late hiring.

The article finds that teachers with the credentials advocated in federal and district education policy—certification and master’s degrees—are not hired earlier.

Updated: Jun. 23, 2014