Primary Sources Advance Data Cover

What is it?

Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change is a survey of more than 20,000 public school teachers from urban and rural districts in every state, and who are representative of novice and experienced professionals at all grade levels and in all specialties. The survey was conducted online in July 2013 by research firm Harrison Group Inc., a YouGov company. This edition of Primary Sources is the third report from Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation surveying America’s teachers on their views and opinions. The first report, Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America's Schools, was released in 2009 and continues to be recognized as the largest-ever national survey of teachers.

Who's It For?

The goal of Primary Sources is to ensure the voice of teachers is at the center of the dialogue surrounding education. This report is for educators, policymakers, education stakeholders and parents.

Methodology, In Brief

The findings of the third wave of Primary Sources are based on a national online survey conducted by Harrison Group, a YouGov company, among 20,157 PreK–12th grade public school classroom teachers. The survey was conducted between July 1 and July 22, 2013. The data were weighted to ensure alignment with their actual proportions in the population according to grade(s) taught, teacher gender, years of teaching experience and geography. The full methodology is available when you download the full report.

Full Report
Download the third edition with appendices (PDF)
Download the third edition without appendices (PDF)
More Information

Anne Sparkman
(212) 343-6657 

On the Web

“I love what I do. Those moments with students when they realize they’ve learned something new about themselves or their world makes every meeting or change worth it.”

—— Middle School Teacher


Press Releases



Fielded in July 2013

Teachers Bring Passion and Commitment to Their Challenging Work

  • Nearly every teacher (98%) agrees that teaching is more than a profession; it is how they make a difference in the world—one child at a time.
  • 99% of teachers see their roles extending beyond academics to include things like reinforcing good citizenship, building resilience and developing social skills.
  • Constantly changing demands on both students and teachers is the number one challenge most cited by teachers (82%).
  • Overall, 88% of teachers agree the rewards of teaching outweigh the challenges.

“When you get those mini victories and you see that a child is learning and something positive is happening as a result of your time in your classroom, that’s a big deal.” — MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER

Teachers Are Enthusiastic About the Implementation of the Common Core, Even as They Acknowledge Challenges Ahead

  • 73% of teachers who teach math, English language arts (ELA), science and/or social studies say they are enthusiastic about the implementation of the Common Core in their classrooms. These teachers are also realistic, as the same percentage (73%) reports they believe implementation is or will be challenging.
  • 74% of teachers who teach math, ELA, science and/or social studies think the standards will have a positive or very positive impact on students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills.
  • Teachers are increasingly prepared to teach the Common Core and in their efforts to properly implement the standards, math, ELA, science and/or social studies teachers report a need for additional planning time to find materials and plan lessons (76%) and quality professional development (71%).
  • When asked to identify the students they are most concerned about meeting the goals of the Common Core, teachers report the most concern for students who are currently working two or more grades below grade level and to support these students, they seek age-appropriate, leveled and high-interest instructional materials.

“I think the Common Core State Standards are definitely a step in the right direction for our children. All students need the same experiences and opportunities in learning.” — ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER

Teachers Find Evaluations Most Helpful When They Include Actionable Feedback and Multiple Measures of Teacher and Student Performance

  • Nearly all (99%) teachers are evaluated at least once every few years, with 79% evaluated at least once a year.
  • Similarly, 99% of teachers say they should receive a formal evaluation of their practice at least once every few years, with 77% saying they should receive a formal evaluation at least once a year.
  • Most teachers (78%) say they find their evaluations somewhat, very or extremely helpful in refining or improving their practice; 69% receive feedback to refine or improve their practice.
  • Teachers who do not find their evaluations very or extremely helpful share that they desire more actionable feedback (42%), increased fairness in the evaluations process (30%) and more—and better-qualified—evaluators and observers (23%).

“I wish that teachers could receive feedback on a regular basis that was a narrative of what we are doing well and where we need to grow.” — MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER

Teachers Seek to Collaborate In and Outside of School to Best Serve Students

  • Teachers say time collaborating with colleagues is most often spent exchanging/sharing resources and lesson plans (76%) and learning from each other’s successes and challenges (68%).
  • Teachers’ online collaboration often mirrors in-person collaboration, with 91% using websites to find or share lesson plans or other classroom content, 65% using websites for professional advice and support and 57% using websites to collaborate with teachers with whom they wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity.
  • To create communities of support for their students, teachers actively build school-to-home connections with families and colleagues, both in school and online, with 95% of teachers encouraging parents of their students to reach out to them with questions and concerns.
  • When asked about strategies for parents to engage in to help ensure their child succeeds in school, 98% of teachers say making sure a child misses as little school as possible is very or extremely helpful, followed closely by setting high expectations for their child (97%) and working in partnership with teachers when their child has challenges (97%).

“While some may say we can’t control out-of-school factors, we can definitely begin an educational dialogue with parents and guardians in order to get on the same page about the education of their children.” — HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER


State-by-State Data

View highlighted data by state here.



Past Reports