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Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction:

NCEE 2009-4072
August 2009

The Treatment: Comprehensive Induction Services

Treatment teachers in each district were given the opportunity (but were not required) to participate in the comprehensive induction program implemented there. The comprehensive induction program components included carefully selected and trained fulltime mentors; a curriculum of intensive and structured support for beginning teachers; a focus on instruction, with opportunities for novice teachers to observe experienced teachers; formative assessment tools that permit evaluation of practice on an ongoing basis and require observations and constructive feedback; and outreach to district and school-based administrators to educate them about program goals and to garner their systemic support for the program.

Both the ETS and NTC programs are based on a curriculum expected to promote effective teaching. The ETS program defines effective teaching in terms of 22 components organized into four domains of professional practice. The components are aligned with the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC 1992) principles. The NTC induction model defines effective teaching in terms of six Professional Teaching Standards. Each standard, or domain, is broken into a succession of more discretely defined categories of teaching behaviors.

The curriculum that formed the foundation of both programs included a number of activities. Mentors were asked to meet weekly with treatment teachers for approximately two hours. Conversation was expected to center around the induction programs' teacher learning activities, but mentors also exercised professional judgment in selecting additional activities to meet beginning teachers' needs, including observing instruction or providing a demonstration lesson; reviewing lesson plans, instructional materials, or student work; or interacting with students to gain an additional perspective on teachers' instructional practices. Treatment teachers were provided monthly professional development sessions to complement their interactions with mentors, and the ETS districts also offered monthly study groups—mentor-facilitated peer support meetings for treatment teachers during which beginning teachers met monthly to discuss their local needs and practices. Treatment teachers also observed veteran teachers once or twice during the year. At the end of each school year, treatment teachers in both ETS and NTC districts participated in a colloquium celebrating the year's successes and teachers' professional growth.

The providers adapted the curricula of the second year of their usual induction programs for the second year of induction services in the two-year districts. While programs provided induction activities to these districts' treatment teachers during the second year that were similar to those in the first year, the content was designed to reflect the growth of mentors and beginning teachers and the evolution of their circumstances and needs. In twoyear districts served by ETS, mentors led Teacher Learning Communities, an adaptation of the first year's study groups that included specific content for each session and a formal structure for teachers to try out approaches to instruction. During second year professional development sessions in the two-year districts served by NTC, mentors elaborated on standardized topics and designed activities to reflect local needs.

At the heart of the comprehensive induction services was the support provided by a full-time mentor trained by the program providers. The goal of the study was to assign each mentor to 12 beginning teachers. At the outset of the study, the program providers sought mentor candidates with a minimum of five years of teaching experience in elementary school, recognition as an exemplary teacher, and experience in providing professional development or mentoring other teachers (particularly beginning teachers).

In Year 1, the providers brought their respective mentors together for 10 to 12 days of training. The training was spread across four sessions of 2 to 3 days, with the first session held during the summer of 2005 and the rest taking place throughout the school year. Trainings previewed the content of upcoming professional development sessions and gradually introduced processes of mentor/mentee work in such areas as reflecting on instructional practices and analyzing student work. During Year 2, ETS and NTC continued intensive training of their respective mentors in the seven districts that were selected to continue program implementation. ETS brought mentors together for a total of 8 days over 3 sessions. NTC did so over 10 days and 4 sessions. The providers devoted 1.5 to 2.5 days per session. All mentors participated in the trainings, which reflected a focus similar to Year 1. In sum, in two-year districts ETS mentors participated in 18 days of training; NTC mentors participated in 22 days.

Practitioners and policymakers should be aware of two issues related to program implementation. The first is the voluntary nature of teachers' participation in the treatment services. The program models that were implemented did not necessarily require teachers to participate but rather made services available to them, so not all teachers attended every professional development session provided.

The second issue for practitioners and policymakers to be aware of is that the programs implemented in this study by ETS and NTC were not necessarily the same models that would be delivered outside the study context. First, for study purposes, we aimed for consistent implementation of each program, with a high level of fidelity to the program design and a quick response to any implementation issues. Second, the providers adapted their program for the study to ensure that the required components were included in a oneyear curriculum. Once it was decided to add a second year, the programs made additional modifications and adaptations to extend the curriculum another year. Finally, each provider organized off-site mentor training sessions, bringing together the mentors from all of the provider's study districts. For district-wide implementation with a larger number of mentors, training typically occurs within the district, rather than off-site together with mentors from other districts.