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Impact Evaluation of Teacher Induction Programs

Contract Information

Current Status:

This study has been completed.

Duration:

September 2004 – June 2010

Cost:

$17,869,969

Contract Number:

ED-04-CO-0112/001

Contractor(s):

Mathematica Policy Research
WestEd
Center for Education Leadership

Contact:

Title II, Part A, the Improving Teacher State Formula Grants program, is the primary federal funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to support a high-quality teacher in every classroom. The program, funded at $2.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2010, targets high-poverty districts and funds a broad array of allowable activities such as support for certification including alternative certification, teacher mentoring and induction, intensive professional development, recruitment, retention, and merit-based teacher and principal pay strategies as well as class size reduction. This study focused on evaluating teacher induction programs and thus provides an important source of information for the Title II program.

An estimated 14 percent of teachers leave teaching after one year, 33 percent after three years, and nearly 50 percent after just five years. Even those teachers who persist can find themselves struggling if they are not adequately supported early in their careers. One policy response to the problems of turnover and inadequate support among beginning teachers is to support them with a comprehensive induction program. Such programs include weekly mentoring from a full-time mentor (who provides services such as observations of the beginning teacher with feedback) and opportunities for the beginning teacher to observe veteran teachers teaching. This evaluation aimed to fill the knowledge gap on the effectiveness of comprehensive induction programs, for which little rigorous evidence exists.

  • Were elementary school teachers who were provided a comprehensive induction program more likely to be retained in their district? In the teaching profession?
  • Were there impacts on teacher practices?
  • Were there impacts on student achievement?

Two nationally known induction providers were included in the study–the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the New Teacher Center (NTC). During the 2005–06 school year, approximately 24 elementary schools within each of 17 districts were randomly assigned to receive either the program provided by ETS or NTC (based upon district preference) or the novice teacher supports normally offered by the district. In 7 districts, teachers in schools assigned to receive the comprehensive induction program continued to receive the ETS/NTC program for a second year during the 2006–07 school year. Approximately 1,000 beginning teachers participated in the study. Data collection included measures of teacher retention rates assessed annually, measurement of teacher practices, and student achievement in reading and math.

  • In their first year in the classroom, teachers assigned to receive comprehensive induction were more likely to receive a variety of supports compared to control teachers. In the second year, teachers assigned to receive a second year of comprehensive induction continued to receive more support than their counterparts in the control condition. In their second year, teachers assigned to receive one year of induction received less support than control teachers. In the third and fourth years of teaching, treatment and control teachers received similar levels of support.
  • No differences were found between teachers in the comprehensive induction condition and control teachers on measured classroom practices or on teacher retention rates in the school, district, or profession.
  • For teachers who received one year of comprehensive induction, there was no impact on student achievement. 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 for a subset of teachers.

The final report, titled Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Final Results from a Randomized Controlled Study, was released in June 2010.

Other publications from this study are listed below.

Reports

A restricted-use file containing de-identified data is available for the purposes of replicating study findings and secondary analysis.