New Research Shows Educator Confidence Inching Up; Positive Impacts of Tech and Increased Attention to Student Needs Emerging as Bright Spots

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BOSTON – Today, learning technology company HMH released part one of the 2023 Educator Confidence Report, which reveals findings from HMH’s annual barometer for how educators in schools across the country are feeling about the state of teaching and learning.

Outlook on Teaching and AI, the first of three focused reports to be released over the course of the back-to-school season, found an improvement in both educator confidence in the K-12 education industry and sentiment toward the state of the teaching profession, offering some early signs of stabilization. In a special section dedicated to new technology, teachers expressed cautious optimism regarding the use of generative AI in K-12 classrooms. While only 10% of educators reported using generative AI in their classrooms during the 2022-23 school, 38% expect to adopt AI tools in the upcoming 2023-24 year and 57% feel that AI tools should be harnessed positively.

“As we embark on a new school year, we are entering an exciting and pivotal moment in the evolution of edtech,” said Jack Lynch, CEO, HMH. “As educator confidence rises, I am heartened to see that teachers are eager to learn more about generative AI’s potential and to harness its benefits. At HMH, we remain focused on applying technology with purpose to save educators time and create more space for the human connections that accelerate learning outcomes.”

Research was conducted between May and June of 2023 in partnership with MarketCast and surveyed 1,000 K-12 classroom teachers and 200+ administrators.

State of the Profession: Signs of Hope

This year, the report’s Educator Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence (out of 100), increased slightly to 42.0 from 40.0 in 2022, showing a small improvement from last year – a hopeful sign of potential stabilization following what has been a challenging period for educators.

While many educators still feel negatively about the profession coming out of the pandemic, optimism is growing in key areas. Post-pandemic, educators identified several bright spots, including the use of digital platforms to improve student engagement (31% in 2023 v. 14% in 2019) and increased attention to the social and emotional needs of students (50% in 2023 v. 33% in 2019).

Educators feel there is more to be done to improve the profession; such improvements include raising salaries and continuing to support both student and teacher well-being. These areas will be explored in more detail in subsequent reports to be released by HMH this fall.

A Spotlight on Generative AI: Cautious Optimism

With generative AI emerging throughout all areas of society as a potentially disruptive force, this first report dives deeper into educator sentiment toward the tool. Although edtech has become the norm in classrooms across the country, generative AI presents a new and unfamiliar landscape for many.

In fact, less than 20% of educators say they feel equipped to use tools like ChatGPT in their classroom or school. However, more than half of the educators surveyed (57%) agreed that generative AI is inevitable and should be harnessed positively in the classroom, with students taught to use the tools ethically. More than half (58%) of educators noted that they would be interested in professional development and coaching around AI.

While the majority of educators (90%) are not yet actively integrating AI in their classrooms, the early adopters of AI (10%) are eager for more. For those who did use it, 74% said they expect to increase usage this coming school year. And 41% of all educators agreed that AI tools had potential to be used as personalized tutors for students.

Finally, although responses around how helpful AI-generated content is as part of curriculum specifically were mixed, there was interest in AI as a support for educator workflow. When asked for which activities AI-generated content could accelerate achievement, 51% said AI could support worksheet creation, 48% noted assistance with lesson plans and 41% said ideating on writing prompts.

“It’s encouraging to see that educators are beginning to transition out of survival mode and toward regaining confidence in their profession. We hope that last year was the low point, and that we are turning the corner,” said Francie Alexander, Senior Vice president, Research at HMH. “Connection has always been key for educators, and we will continue to focus on helping teachers collaborate with one another and strengthen relationships between themselves and their students’ families.”

This fall, HMH will release Part 2 and Part 3 of the Educator Confidence Report to further expand upon educators’ thoughts on key topics impacting the profession. Download the full Part 1: Outlook on Teaching & AI report here.

About the Educator Confidence Report
The Educator Confidence Report is an annual independent study, distributed to a diverse national cross section. The ninth annual Educator Confidence Report, underwritten by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and conducted between May-June 2023 with MarketCast, surveyed more than 1,200 educators, including 1,000 teachers and 215 administrators.

Learn more about the 2023 Educator Confidence Report here.

About HMH

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions, and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students’ potential and extend teachers’ capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 4 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit

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