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Research & Data

Our best-in-class research team

Upbeat’s groundbreaking research is designed by Dr. Matthew Kraft, one of the top education and data analysts in the country. Dr. Kraft, an associate professor of education and economics at Brown University, is a national expert on teacher retention and organizational effectiveness in K–12 public schools. In his role as our director of research, Dr. Kraft analyzes Upbeat's global data to understand key trends, and makes recommendations to ensure Upbeat's survey tool is up-to-date with the most recent research from the field.

Read the analysis of teacher retention data>

Best Practices

Upbeat surveys have been rigorously developed and tested following best practices in survey research. Each Upbeat survey category and item was informed by prior academic research. Survey questions were written by domain experts, validated through practitioner feedback, and piloted at scale for validity and reliability. The Upbeat survey is periodically reviewed and refined by Upbeat's education research team.

National Trends

With data from a global cluster of 33,000 teachers in 25 states across the country, Upbeat has a bird’s eye view of national trends in K-12 schools and teacher retention. 

In 2023, the Upbeat survey data show that teachers responded most positively in these three categories:

  • Self-efficacy (90%) with 87% of teachers surveyed agreeing that "I feel successful as a teacher," 
  • Care & Commitment (92%); and 
  • Instructional Leadership (88%) with 84% of teachers surveyed agreeing "The principal at my school is an effective instructional leader."
Self-efficacy & Success
Care & Commitment
Instructional Leadership

The categories with the lowest rankings from teachers in 2023 were: 

  • Compensation & Career Path (54%) with 50% of teacher respondents agreeing "Teachers are compensated fairly for taking on extra responsibilities at my school." 
  • Work/Life Balance (65%) with 59% of teacher respondents agreeing "The workload expected of teachers at my school is reasonable."
  • Professional Development (72%) with 64% of teacher respondents agreeing "The professional development available to me is a good use of my time."
Compensation & Career Path
Work/Life Balance
Professional Development

National Teacher Retention Working Group

Together with AAEE (American Association for Employment in Education), Upbeat facilitates the National Working Group on Teacher Retention. This group of school, district, and state education leaders comes together - both in-person and online — to share best practices and ideas for increasing teacher engagement and retention.

Learn more about how to join our National Teacher Retention Working Group >

Research & White Papers

Upbeat periodically publishes research reports and white papers to contribute to the national discourse on teacher retention in K-12 schools. All of our surveys are rooted in this teacher retention research — with Upbeat, everything is created for, and focused on, the K-12 environment. 

Belonging and Wellbeing, Key Pieces of the Retention Puzzle, January 2024

Interested in understanding the strongest category impacting teacher retention? Read this new research report by Havala Hanson and Dr. Matthew A. Kraft to better understand how Belonging & Wellbeing impacts teacher retention.

Download the survey report >

Research Report:
Teacher Retention in Public Schools: A Review of the Research on

Teacher Retention in Public Schools, February 2021

Maleka I. Donaldson, Ed.D. | Smith College 
Matthew A. Kraft, Ed.D. | Brown University 
Nicole S. Simon, Ed.D. | Harvard University

What does it take to keep teachers engaged and energized? What are the key factors influencing teacher satisfaction and retention? Read this analysis of national teacher retention research by Dr. Maleka L. Donaldson Upbeat’s director of research and Brown University professor, Dr. Matthew A. Kraft, and Dr. Nicole S. Simon to understand the reasoning behind each category of the Upbeat survey in depth.

Download the research report >

White Paper:
The Urgency of Retaining Black Teachers: Using Working Conditions Data to Diagnose and Respond, 2021

Dr. Megan Conklin and Dr. Matthew A. Kraft share critical new findings regarding Black teachers’ experiences. This research memo analyzes the differences in how Black and white teachers experience their working conditions in order to illustrate how district and school administrators can better understand why Black teachers might leave their teaching positions.

Download the white paper >

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