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Teacher Workforce

September 2019


What is the impact of new teacher mentor programs?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles to help answer the question. The resources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. We have not evaluated the quality of the references provided in this response, and we offer them only for your information. Also, we compiled the references from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant sources may exist.

Research References

Bang, E. (2013). Hybrid-mentoring programs for beginning elementary science teachers. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 1(1), 1–15. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This study examines four induction models and teacher changes in science teaching practices, as a result of several mentoring programs. It explores three different computer-mediated mentoring programs, and a traditional offline induction program--in terms of interactivity, inquiry-based teaching, and topics of knowledge. Fifteen elementary science teachers--eleven new teachers and four experienced science teachers--were assigned to and participated in, one of the four induction programs for five months: a Virtual Reality (VRG), a Wiki (WKG), a hand-held digital device (HDG), and a general group (GG). Data was collected by archiving written dialogues, snapshots and field notes of avatar interactions, monthly open-ended questionnaires, weekly journal reflections, science lesson plans, mentor/teacher field notes, student artifacts, and video-recording science teaching in classrooms. Using a case study through a time-order display strategy and utilizing situated learning framework, the findings indicate that the beginning teachers in each induction program had their own unique way of professionally interacting with their mentors. Except for the teachers in the GG, the new teachers were able to establish their own platforms for inquiry-based, student-centered teaching, improving not only their pedagogical content knowledge but also their confidence in teaching science. This study further discusses the importance of meaningful social engagements between mentors and mentees, as well as how these social engagements benefit new teachers becoming inquiry-based teachers and developing healthy communities of practice.”

DeCesare, D., McClelland, A., & Randel, B. (2017). Impacts of the retired mentors for new teachers program (REL 2017-225). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center of Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Central. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract:

“This study evaluates the impact of the Retired Mentors for New Teachers program, a two-year mentoring program at the elementary school level developed by Aurora Public Schools in Colorado. Many of the district’s schools serve a large percentage of economically disadvantaged children, experience high teacher turnover, and hire newer, less experienced teachers. The program addresses these challenges using master educators who recently retired from the district to provide tailored one-on-one mentoring to new teachers. The program requires mentees to meet weekly one-on-one with their mentor and monthly in school-level groups over the course of two years. This study was undertaken by Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central in collaboration with Aurora Public Schools. It used a randomized controlled trial to assess the impacts of the Retired Mentors for New Teachers program on student achievement, teacher retention, and teacher evaluation ratings during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 school years. As part of the study, the district’s elementary school teachers were randomly assigned to either a group that received only the district’s typical mentoring support (the business-as-usual group) or a group that received both typical mentoring support and added support from a retired mentor under the Retired Mentors for New Teachers program (the program group). The business-as-usual support involved first-year teachers being assigned to work with a more experienced “buddy” teacher for about 15 hours over one school year. The study team collected data on resources and costs associated with running the program and generated a return on investment estimate. The study team also used teacher and mentor surveys and focus groups to investigate whether the program was implemented with fidelity to its model. The following key findings emerged from the study. The first four are causal findings; the last four are exploratory findings from exploratory analyses: (1) At the end of the first year math achievement was significantly higher among students taught by teachers in the program group than among students taught by teachers in the business-as-usual group; (2) While the differences were not statistically significant, reading achievement was also higher among students taught by teachers in the program group than among students taught by teachers in the business-as-usual group; (3) The program had no effect on teacher evaluation outcomes; (4) Although more teachers in the program group than teachers in the business-as-usual group left the district after two years, the effect of the program on teacher retention was not significant; (5) Increased hours of mentoring were associated with higher teacher retention in the second year among teachers who participated in the program; (6) The program had an average annual local cost of approximately $171 per student; (7) Exploratory analysis suggested that the program could yield a return on investment that may pay back the annual cost of the program more than 15 times over through increased student earnings over time; (8) Overall, the program was implemented with fidelity to its intended model.”

Glazerman, S., Isenberg, E., Dolfin, S., Bleeker, M., Johnson, A., Grider, M., & Jacobus, M. (2010). Impacts of comprehensive teacher induction: Final results from a randomized controlled study (NCEE 2010-4027). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“In 2004, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct a large-scale evaluation of comprehensive teacher induction. The purpose of the study was to determine whether augmenting the set of services districts usually provide to support beginning teachers with a more comprehensive program improves teacher and student outcomes. This is the study’s third and final report on the program’s impacts. This report compares retention, achievement, and classroom practices of teachers who were offered comprehensive induction services to teachers who were offered the support normally offered by the school. Teachers assigned to receive comprehensive induction for either one or two years were supported by a full-time mentor who received ongoing training and materials to support the teachers’ development. The teachers also were offered monthly professional development sessions and opportunities to observe veteran teachers. The teachers were followed for three years. Data was collected from 1,009 beginning teachers in 418 schools in 17 districts. Districts included in the study were not already offering comprehensive induction services, including paying for full-time mentors. Novice teachers in approximately half of the schools were assigned by lottery to receive comprehensive induction services. In 10 of the districts, these teachers were provided one year of comprehensive induction services; in the remaining 7 districts, the teachers were provided two years of services. Teachers in the schools not assigned to receive comprehensive induction services were provided the support normally offered to novice teachers by the school. Teacher practices were measured via classroom observations conducted in the spring of 2006. Data on teacher retention were collected via surveys administered in the fall of 2006, 2007, and 2008. Student test scores were collected from district administrative records for the 2005–06, 2006–07, and 2007–08 school years. Key findings include: (1) During the comprehensive induction program, treatment teachers received more support than control teachers; (2) The extra induction support for treatment teachers did not translate into impacts on classroom practices in the first year; (3) For teachers who received one year of comprehensive induction, there was no impact on student achievement; (4) For teachers who received two years of comprehensive induction, there was no impact on student achievement in the first two years. In the third year, there was a positive and statistically significant impact on student achievement; and (5) Neither exposure to one year nor exposure to two years of comprehensive induction had a positive impact on retention or other teacher workforce outcomes. The following are appended: (1) Supplemental Information for Chapters II and III; (2) Supplemental Information for Chapter IV; (3) Sensitivity Analyses and Supplemental Information for Chapter V; and (4) Sensitivity Analyses and Supplemental Information for Chapter VI.”

Hudson, P. (2013). Mentoring as professional development: “Growth for both” mentor and mentee. Professional Development in Education, 39(5), 771–783. Retrieved from
Full text available at

From the abstract:

“Teachers need professional development to keep current with teaching practices; although costs for extensive professional development can be prohibitive across an education system. Mentoring provides one way for embedding cost-effective professional development. This mixed method study includes surveying mentor teachers (n = 101) on a five part Likert scale and interviews with experienced mentors (n = 10) to investigate professional development for mentors as a result of the mentoring process. Quantitative data were analysed through a pedagogical knowledge framework and qualitative data were collated into themes. Survey data showed that although mentoring of pedagogical knowledge was variable, mentoring pedagogical knowledge practices occurs with the majority of mentors, which requires mentors to evaluate and articulate teaching practices. Qualitative data showed that mentoring acted as professional development and lead towards enhancing communication skills, developing leadership roles (problem solving and building capacity), and advancing pedagogical knowledge. Providing professional development to teachers on mentoring can help to build capacity in two ways: (1) quality mentoring of preservice teachers through explicit mentoring practices, and (2) reflecting and deconstructing teaching practices for mentors’ own pedagogical advancements.”

Ingersoll, R., & Strong, M. (2011). The impact of induction and mentoring programs for beginning teachers: A critical review of the research. Review of Education Research, 81(2), 201–233. Retrieved from
Full text available at

From the abstract:

“This review critically examines 15 empirical studies, conducted since the mid 1980s, on the effects of support, guidance, and orientation programs–collectively known as induction–for beginning teachers. Most of the studies reviewed provide empirical support for the claim that support and assistance for beginning teachers have a positive impact on three sets of outcomes: teacher commitment and retention, teacher classroom instructional practices, and student achievement. Of the studies on commitment and retention, most showed that beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction had higher job satisfaction, commitment, or retention. For classroom instructional practices, the majority of studies reviewed showed that beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction performed better at various aspects of teaching, such as keeping students on task, developing workable lesson plans, using effective student questioning practices, adjusting classroom activities to meet students’ interests, maintaining a positive classroom atmosphere, and demonstrating successful classroom management. For student achievement, almost all of the studies showed that students of beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction had higher scores, or gains, on academic achievement tests. There were, however, exceptions to this overall pattern–in particular a large randomized controlled trial of induction in a sample of large, urban, low-income schools–which found significant positive effects on student achievement, but no effects on either teacher retention or teachers’ classroom practices. Our review closes by attempting to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings and also by identifying gaps in the research base, and relevant questions that have not been addressed and warrant further research.”

Renbarger, R., & Davis, B. K. (2019). Mentors, self-efficacy, or professional development: Which mediate job satisfaction for new teachers? A regression examination. Journal of Teacher Education and Educators, 8(1), 21–34. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Research has shown that new teachers have struggles in the classroom, leading to high attrition rates for this population. Factors such as job satisfaction, self-efficacy, and mentorship programs have all been found to impact teacher attrition. This study aims to examine the relationship between these variables along with another common issue teachers face: barriers to professional development (i.e., cost, time). This study utilized the Teaching and Learning International Survey of beginning teachers in the United States. Using multiple regression, results indicated there was a positive relationship between job satisfaction and self-efficacy and the presence of a mentor. There was a negative relationship between barriers to professional development and job satisfaction. Limitations, implications, and areas for future research are discussed.”

Wechsler, M. E., Caspary, K., Humphrey, D. C., & Matsko, K. K. (2012). Examining the effects of new teacher induction. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 111(2), 387–416. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract:

“The objective of this research is to explore comprehensively the effect of induction on new teachers. Through a mixed-method design, the authors examine both the inputs of induction (i.e., the types of support provided for new teachers, its content, and frequency) and a variety of outcomes (i.e., teacher efficacy, teacher-reported growth, teacher retention, and student achievement). The authors also pay particular attention to the school context in which new teachers teach because their previous research identified school context as an important factor in induction supports and outcomes (Wechsler, Caspary, & Humphrey, 2008). The focus for this research is the state-funded induction programs in Illinois. In 2006, Illinois established the State-Funded Mentoring and Induction Program, funding 10 pilot programs to provide targeted support to first- and second-year teachers. Since then, the state has supported 63 new teacher induction programs (funded by 67 individual grants) that collectively serve more than 4,500 first- and second-year teachers in over 1,500 schools statewide (Illinois New Teacher Collaborative, 2010). A variety of organizations, including school districts, regional offices of education, colleges and universities, and other professional development organizations operate these induction programs. The programs in Illinois provide a package of supports for new teachers. This research strongly suggests that teacher induction makes important contributions to new teachers’ sense of efficacy and their professional growth. However, this research did not reveal a link between induction and improved teacher retention or between induction and student achievement. Further, the influence of school context was ubiquitous.”


Keywords and Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • New AND teacher AND mentor
  • Teacher AND mentor
  • Teacher AND mentor AND induction

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and EBSCOhost.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published between 2009 and 2019 were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar, then EBSCOhost.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive analyses, literature reviews; and (b) target population and sample.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.