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What are principals’ perceptions of Teach For America corps members and alumni?

Conducting the Teach For America 2019 National Principal Survey

For 20+ years, Teach For America (TFA) has hired external researchers to conduct its biennial National Principal Survey, which addresses principals’ perceptions of TFA corps members and alumni.

For the 2019 survey, TFA asked Westat to redesign the survey to align it with recent changes in how TFA recruits and prepares its corps members to become effective teachers and leaders.

Westat worked with the TFA National Principal Survey Steering Committee, made up of TFA national and regional staff members, to redesign the instrument.

As part of the survey redesign, we reviewed the previous survey items to ensure they were addressing relevant concepts and were meeting TFA’s information needs. We also

  • Streamlined some existing sections of the survey
  • Inquired about new lines of analysis TFA might be interested
  • Constructed new survey items

We developed a web-based version of the newly designed survey instrument using our SurveyBuilder platform.

Westat administered the survey from March to June 2019 and achieved a 61% response rate, an increase over the previous 2 surveys.


The results show that principals were satisfied overall with corps members and alumni and the training and support provided by TFA to its corps members.

Many principals reported that corps members were better than other novice teachers at making impacts on students and other aspects of teaching, such as continuously improving their practice and demonstrating leadership in their school.

The survey results are used by TFA’s national and regional leadership to plan its activities and programming, and to reflect on its approaches with regard to recruiting, training, and supporting corps members and alumni.

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