A working paper from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research finds evidence that teaching assistants can have positive effects on pupil outcomes.
Charles T. Clotfelter and colleagues examined the role of teaching assistants and other non-teaching staff in elementary (primary) schools in North Carolina to identify causal effects on pupils’ test scores in maths and reading.
Positive effects were identified on test scores in reading, but for maths, positive effects were only found for minority pupils’ test scores. For both reading and maths, the effects on minority pupils’ test scores were larger than the effects on the test scores for white pupils.
The report also found that more teachers (and therefore smaller class sizes) had a number of positive effects on test scores, particularly for minority pupils, and were also associated with lower absentee rates and a lower probability of high rates of in-school suspension.
Source: Teaching assistants and nonteaching staff: Do they improve student outcomes? (2016) National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER)