May 21, 2007

Indulging in number-crunching on teacher flows

A friend and I have been batting some research on teacher demographics back and forth over a few years, and it's my turn this month to do some number-crunching involving the Current Population Survey (CPS) and simulations of what would happen to those entering and leaving teaching assuming a stationery population (as if the numbers of a population and all the age-specific rates remained constant). This is a way to check Richard Ingersoll's claims about early attrition against some national data (putting School and Staffing Survey and CPS together).

To put it briefly, what we're going to come up with is going to be a very different look at the flow into and out of teaching, based on age rather than time in the profession. There are some very good reasons to use this approach rather than what one might assume is the "natural" way of asking what happens after one enters teaching. Both are perfectly fine if you have the data for it. We have the data to look at age, and the results are going to surprise a bunch of people (but probably not you, dear reader). No, no numbers to put up here, since I need to finish the work and get, uh, my co-author's feedback/vetting/check. Oh, yeah, and we're hoping to publish this in a journal. 

I did the last bit of data downloading this evening to finish up the analysis with one of the four panels of data we're working on. It's simple in concept but very detail-oriented in practice and required a few hours of uninterrupted time... at one of my regular near-home "offices" (i.e., a coffee shop). Since the last week has been incredibly fragmented, I'm treating this as indulgence.  Yes, research is indulgence. And a blast.

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Posted in Education policy on May 21, 2007 10:21 PM |