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Boston Public Schools' New Teacher Development Program: Mentoring Practices and New Teacher Retention

Region:
Northeast & Islands
Abstract:

Description: Given that beginning teachers are often retained at lower rates and are rated as less effective than more experienced teachers, many states—including Massachusetts—have adopted mandatory teacher induction programs to help alleviate some of the challenges associated with early-career teaching. Comprehensive induction programs that include mentoring and instructional supports are associated with improved teacher retention, instructional practices, and student achievement. However, because states and districts differ with regard to the requirements of new teacher mentoring programs—including length of time, content provided, and modes of supports—there is limited research describing which specific aspects of the programs are most closely associated with teacher retention.

REL Northeast & Islands is collaborating with Boston Public Schools to examine the association between the mentoring practices of its first-year teacher mentoring program—the New Teacher Development program—and new teacher retention. To do so, REL Northeast & Islands researchers will perform a series of descriptive and correlational analyses using survey data collected by the New Teacher Development program in the 2018-/19 school year.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the dosage, content, and mode of mentoring practices that Boston Public School (BPS) first-year teachers participate in?
    1. Are there differences in the dosage, content, and mode of mentoring practices based on teacher, mentor, or school characteristics?
    2. Do teachers and their mentors differ in the dosage, content, and mode of mentoring practices they report?

  2. To what extent are teachers and their mentors similar with regards to their individual characteristics – including their race, gender, age, grade, and subject taught—and their school-level characteristics—including the school poverty level and whether or not they teach at the same school?
    1. Are there differences in the dosage, content, and mode of mentoring practices depending on whether there is similarity between teacher's and mentor's individual characteristics and their school characteristics?
  3. What is the relationship between mentoring practices and the likelihood that first-year teachers are retained in the district the following year?
Study Design: REL Northeast & Islands researchers will conduct a series of descriptive analyses indicating the dosage, content, and mode of mentoring practices for teachers in the New Teacher Development program during the 2018/19 school year. These results will be disaggregated and compared by teacher, mentor, and school-level characteristics. Additionally, the researchers will conduct a correlational analysis examining the association between dosage, content, and mode of mentoring practices for teachers in the program and the likelihood that these first-year teachers will remain in their district at the start of their second year of teaching.

Projected Release Date: Spring 2021
Partnership or Research Alliance: Professional Learning & Development Research Alliance

Related Products: Making Connections report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Meg Caven, Ph.D., Education Development Center