2018 DFW Teacher Survey Summary

Learning from teachers’ experiences and expertise is a critical component of creating a quality education for all students. With this in mind, Best in Class collaborated with the consulting firm Bain & Company for a third year to conduct a survey of 4,600+ teachers across the DFW region.

The survey ensures that teacher voice is at the forefront of the work of school districts, teacher prep programs, policy makers and other members of the Best in Class coalition. By leveraging this data-driven insight, stakeholders can work together to boost teacher effectiveness and satisfaction in the profession, greatly benefiting students and teachers. Simply put, teacher voice is at the core of the Best in Class work.

Key themes to be aware of from the survey results across the region:

  • Satisfaction scores (as measured by the Net Promoter System) are related to retention, so many of the insights below ultimately impact teacher retention
  • The following factors have strong relationships to teacher satisfaction:
    • Teacher-reported quality of on-boarding
    • Teacher-reported quality of professional development
    • Teacher’s level of interest to teach high-needs students - further we saw that teachers of color were more likely to be interested in teaching high-needs students and more likely to be satisfied in their role
  • Teachers that are planning to leave the district say they would consider staying for:
    • Improved school culture
    • More supports with student behavior challenges
    • A raise
    • School leadership showing more appreciation towards them

Aggregate, completely anonymous results for the 2018 Teacher Survey are now available for you to view here. A summary of key takeaways that mark important insights are included here and will inform the Best in Class strategy to attract, prepare, develop and retain effective teachers and school leaders for every child.

Things to know before you read

What is NPS?

The 2018 DFW Teacher Survey asks teachers a variety of “Net Promoter Score” questions. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric widely used in a variety of industries to estimate customer satisfaction and loyalty. It represents the likelihood, on a zero to ten scale, for respondents to recommend a product, service, place of employment or profession (in this case, teaching as a profession or their school) to a friend or colleague.

Those who respond with a score of nine or ten are called promoters, those who respond with seven or eight are labeled passives, and those who respond with six or below are called detractors. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are detractors from the percentage of respondents who are promoters.

Why does NPS matter?

Teacher satisfaction is highly correlated with teacher retention. Albeit intuitive, this correlation demonstrates that teacher retention, one of the four key levers of the Best in Class strategy, may be improved by identifying the specific factors that influence teacher satisfaction, and this survey helps us do just that.

Additionally, satisfied teachers are more likely to aspire to become school leaders, indicating a strong pipeline to principalship. If we increase teacher satisfaction, it is likely that we would see a deeper pool for our region’s principal pipeline.

Furthermore, employees that are promoters of their company or entity are more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth to their connections and recommend it as a place to work. Just as in any industry, promoters of teaching will be more likely to encourage their students to pursue the profession and to support aspiring educators. Given declining interest in the teaching profession among students, bolstering teacher satisfaction represents a significant lever for ensuring that the teacher pipeline remains strong and healthy.

Survey logistics

This year, the survey was distributed by six partner districts: Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Richardson ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Mesquite ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD in the last week of school and first two weeks of summer for the 2017-2018 year.

Key takeaways from the 2018 Teacher Survey

Before you look through the whole presentation, it might be helpful to take a look at the insights that we found most significant and likely to impact the practice of school administrators and other education professionals.

One of the first things we noticed in the results was that Hispanic and African American teachers in our survey had a much higher NPS of the teaching profession than other groups...

...In an effort to understand this variation, we explored potential reasons why satisfaction could be so different by race/ethnicity. Our results demonstrate a correlation between a teacher’s preference to teach high-needs students and his or her race/ethnicity. Teachers of color are more likely to prefer to teach high-needs students compared to their counterparts. Recall that teachers of color have a higher overall NPS for the teaching profession than other teachers do. Could this mean that a preference to teach high-needs students is associated with a higher NPS of the teaching job?

Our data supports that. Teachers who prefer to teach high-needs students are significantly more likely to be satisfied with teaching and with their current school than those who do not. Respondents who agree that they prefer to teach high-needs students have a NPS of 29% (which is much higher than the overall average of -9%), while those who disagree have a NPS of -36%.

These results help us understand the motivation behind the teachers who are most satisfied with their current roles and likely feel successful in their profession. The relationship between preference to teach high-needs students and satisfaction demonstrates a potential angle for recruiting and retaining teachers: the ability to make an impact on high-needs student populations. Attracting candidates who are motivated by the opportunity to serve in high-needs schools, and screening for those who are not motivated by serving in high-needs schools, could produce greater job satisfaction as well as success and retention for teachers and students in high-needs schools.

Recruiting teachers is only one piece of the teacher pipeline. New teachers must be sufficiently prepared for success in the classroom. In 2017, teachers who participated in student teaching were 16% more likely to feel very prepared for their first year of teaching than teachers who had no student teaching experience. In 2018, the data reaffirms that student teaching is a significant contributor to the preparedness of teachers. Respondents to the 2018 survey who participated in student teaching were 14% more likely to feel very prepared for their first year of teaching than their counterparts.


However, it is important to note that there is a wider range in feeling of preparedness between individual programs than between different types of programs (i.e. higher education, alternative certification). That is, teachers from the same type of teacher preparation program demonstrate a wider range in levels of preparedness than teachers from different types of programs. Accordingly, district and school administrators would find success in considering each teacher pipeline unique, studying results from individual programs rather than categorizing by type of program.

Another contributing factor to teacher satisfaction is a high-quality onboarding/induction process for teachers who enter into their first role in the district. Teachers in our survey who said they experienced successful induction processes that prepared them for their first year of teaching have an NPS of 32%, which is significantly higher than the -14% NPS demonstrated by teachers who stated they did not experience an effective onboarding program.

Given that satisfaction is linked to retention, it is no question that the feeling of preparedness of a teacher significantly impacts his or her decision to stay and ability to succeed in the profession. Effort must be taken to ensure that every teacher experiences an effective preparation and onboarding process, as it is a critical component of retaining an effective teaching force.

Now, the processes to successfully get a teacher to his/her classroom door are certainly not the only district- and school-based resources that contribute to teacher efficacy, satisfaction, and retention. You can’t expect employees of a company to grow in their ability to contribute to their organization’s goals or feel very satisfied with their work if they aren’t provided meaningful development opportunities. Similarly, teacher satisfaction is highly correlated with ongoing differentiated and effective professional development (PD): Teachers’ NPS for the profession and for their district increases significantly when teachers receive development opportunities that provide actionable ways to improve their practice. School and district administrators should also be aware that simply providing PD is not enough. Quality matters. Teachers who did not receive PD at all were more likely to be satisfied than those who felt their PD was not supportive and helpful (as demonstrated in their 40-point difference of NPS scores). Providing all teachers with high-quality professional development should boost teacher satisfaction and retention in addition to increasing their efficacy.

It is important to gain an understanding of not only what drives teacher satisfaction, but also why teachers are leaving the profession. Most unsatisfied teachers say that the following things would help them consider staying in the profession.

These factors of teacher attrition are consistent with results from the 2017 survey as well as with our previously-gleaned insights regarding teacher satisfaction. These results show that supportive school leadership is essential for teacher satisfaction and retention. Additionally, it is clear from these results that compensation is a significant concern that must be addressed, whether through strategic compensation models or other strategies to financially reward teachers.

Next steps

Survey results and data, including anonymized free-response comments, will be shared in feedback sessions with the participating school districts and educator prep programs. Through the generosity of philanthropy and Bain & Company, we are able to provide these insights at no cost to participating districts and educator preparation programs. These regional results inform the strategies and work of the organizations that make up the Best in Class Coalition and open up areas of continued research and exploration. We thank all of the teachers who contributed their voice and expertise to the work of Best in Class.

Interested in having the 2019 DFW Teacher Survey distributed through your ISD? Contact Ana.Hernandez@CommitPartnership.org.

You can find results of the 2017 survey here.