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Evaluation Studies of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance

Implementation Evaluation of Teaching Residency Programs

Contractors: Mathematica Policy Research, Decision Information Resources

Background/Research Questions

For many teachers, the early years represent a difficult transition period—first-year teachers tend to be less effective classroom teachers than their experienced counterparts, and newer teachers are more likely to leave the profession. These difficulties are often attributed to lack of adequate teacher preparation and support, issues that teaching residency programs (TRPs) are designed to address. TRPs involve a year-long "clinical" experience (the "residency") shadowing and co-teaching with an experienced mentor. TRPs also provide continued support and mentoring after participants become teachers of record. Before and during their residencies, participants in TRPs take coursework, usually resulting in a master's degree.

The evaluation of TRPs provides important descriptive and implementation information on TRPs, as well as information on the teacher retention outcomes of teachers who participate in TRPs. The evaluation focuses on TRPs that received grants from the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program in fall 2009 and spring 2010. The evaluation is authorized in Title II, Part A of the Higher Education Act, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315, Section 201 - 204). The TQP program, funded in FY09 at $43 million, received an additional $100 million in funds as part of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The study addresses the following key research questions:

  • What are the characteristics of Teaching Residency Programs (TRPs) (e.g., length of overall program, nature of required coursework and apprenticeship activities, criteria for selecting program participants)?
  • What are the characteristics of participants in TRPs?
  • What are the retention rates of novice TRP teachers and their novice colleagues who did not go through TRPs?


Descriptive information concerning TQP grantees operating TRPs was collected through a survey administered in Spring, 2012. More detailed implementation information was collected through TRP program director interviews and surveys of residents and mentors, conducted within a subset of TRPs during Spring 2012. Teacher mobility was tracked through district records and teacher surveys in order to examine retention in the profession, district, and school, among novice TRP and novice non-TRP teachers in a subset of six districts.

Cost/Duration: $3,708,284 over 5 years and 10 months (February 2010 – December 2015)

Current Status

A study report was released on November 18, 2014 ( An evaluation brief on teacher retention was released on August 19, 2015 (

Key Findings

The study's report provides descriptive information regarding residency programs' activities and participants. It also examines early teacher retention outcomes. It found that:

  • The residency programs provided a fieldwork experience, typically with a trained and experienced mentor teacher, along with integrated coursework. On average, teaching residents reported being fully in charge of instruction for 21 days during the first half of the residency and 37 days during the second half. Most mentor teachers had substantial teaching experience (10 years, on average), were trained by the residency program (averaging 37 hours of training), and had prior mentoring experience (an average of 3.5 semesters). The residency programs included the equivalent of 10 courses on average, and most residents (83%) reported that their fieldwork reinforced what they learned in their coursework.
  • The residency programs somewhat broadened the pool of people entering the teaching profession in the participating districts. Novice teachers from the residency programs were more likely to report having worked in a full-time job other than teaching as compared to novice teachers from other preparation programs (72 percent versus 63 percent). However, the groups had similar demographic characteristics (sex, race/ethnicity, and age).
  • Novice teachers from residency programs had similar retention rates to other novice teachers. Approximately 90% of teachers from both groups reported staying in the same district from spring 2012 to fall 2012; about 5 percent were no longer teaching.

The study's evaluation brief updates the retention findings included in the study's report. It examines the rates at which the residency teachers were retained in the same district and the same school as of fall 2013, thereby tracking two successive cohorts of teachers into their third or fourth year as a teacher of record. It found that:

  • TRP teachers were more likely to remain teaching in the same district than non-TRP teachers with similar teaching placements. Eighty-two percent of residency teachers and 72 percent of other teachers remained in the same district from spring 2012 to fall 2013.
  • School-retention rates were similar between the two groups of teachers. Approximately 61% of teachers in both groups remaining in the same school from spring 2012 to fall 2013.
  • TRP teachers who moved to different schools in the same district tended to join ones where a similar proportion of students were from low-income families, a lower percentage were black, and achievement was higher.