Exploring ECS Teacher Persistence and Attrition in Chicago Public Schools

August 3, 2021


Toni M. Shub

Vanderbilt University

Ken R. Maaz

Vanderbilt University

This ECS teacher persistence study was conducted in collaboration with Vanderbilt University doctoral students and the Chicago Alliance for Equity in Computer Science (CAFÉCS). This research-practice partnership (RPP) includes Chicago Public Schools (CPS), The Learning Partnership, and Computer Science Faculty from University of Illinois, Chicago, DePaul University, and Loyola University. This study was made possible by a data sharing agreement between CAFÉCS and CPS to use collaboration and research to further the mission to provide engaging and equitable Computer Science to all CPS high school students.

As part of the Computer Science for All initiative, Chicago Public Schools mandated a computer science class for high school graduation in the 2015-2016 school year. They adopted the Exploring Computer Science curriculum because it was designed to expand participation among young women and traditionally under-represented computer science students. Previous research has reported increases in computer science achievement in ECS courses regardless of gender or race.

The CAFECS problem solving cycle provided the context for collaboratively identifying the problem facing the Computer Science Department of CPS.  The Computer Science Department of CPS expressed concern to CAFÉCS that as many as 60% of ECS teachers had discontinued teaching ECS since 2015. CPS Computer Science wanted a better understanding of the scope of the problem of teacher attrition and to understand any relationships between ECS teacher persistence and teacher, student, and/or school factors for which they had data. Teacher attrition in a program with intensive PD and teacher endorsements can both have financial ramifications and cause instability and discontinuity to the ECS program, negatively affecting student performance and interfering with the ability to assess program impact. 

Using both descriptive statistics and logistic regression models, we made the following key findings:

Following the CAFÉCS problem-solving cycle, we shared and discussed study findings with the CAFÉCS leadership team to clarify the problem and determine how the findings could be used to address the problem of ECS teacher attrition. The following recommendations were made using feedback from CAFÉCS leadership team and information gathered from research:

We also recommended areas to consider furthering the CAFÉCS research agenda:


Suggested Citation

Shub, T.M. & Maaz, K.R. (2021, August). Exploring ECS Teacher Persistence and Attrition in Chicago Public School [Report]. The Learning  Partnership. https://doi.org/10.51420/report.2021.3

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