Gary Rubinstein noticed a burst of TFA tweets making dramatic claims. They said that a new study found that students of TFA teachers gained one year more than teachers with same experience, and that middle students gained a half year more from TFA teachers than from other new teachers.

Gary read the study and found that these dramatic claims were over hyped.

In eight comparisons, five showed no statistically significant difference.

In the middle school study, the students in TFA classrooms got two extra questions right on a 40 question test. The amazing one-year of alleged gains were based on three more questions right.

Gary concludes:

“I think that TFA needs to back off on the miracle stories. The fact is that new TFA teachers are not much better, if they even are any better, than new non-TFA teachers. Neither are that good, really. Teaching has a big learning curve, but by the time you figure it out, you generally have to wait until next year to have a fresh start with a new group. As far as alumni teachers, yes, I think they are generally pretty good. I’d let an alum teach my kids. But as good as they might be, to ignore the fact that most of the comparisons were pretty neutral and then buy into the idea that when one group of students learns a year more than another group, they will only get, on average, three more questions correct on a multiple choice math test, well that’s the kind of thing that is going to keep me investigating these kinds of claims and spreading the word.”