Eric Isenberg, Steven Glazerman, Martha Bleeker, Amy Johnson, Julieta Lugo-Gil, Mary Grider, Sarah Dolfin, Edward Britton, and Melanie Ali
Mathematica Policy Research
This report is the second installment of a three-year Institute of Education Sciences study to investigate the effectiveness of novice teacher induction programs. As induction programs are one of the most common policy interventions intended to address problems of high teacher turnover, poor preparation, and uneven teacher quality, this study is timely. It compares comprehensive induction programs (programs combining orientation and professional development sessions with experienced-teacher mentoring, classroom observations, and assessment-based feedback) with less intensive--and presumably less effective--“business as usual” programs. While the first year of the study compared a treatment group of teachers in comprehensive programs with a control group of teachers in informal programs in 17 districts, the second year divided the treatment group further, offering a subset of teachers a second year of comprehensive induction; this created the ability to investigate the effects of participating in zero, one, or two years of intense induction programming. Last year’s results were not promising; this year’s are equally disappointing. While teachers participating in the “fully loaded” model received significantly more support and intervention, the programs had a neutral, even negative, effect on student achievement. Startlingly, the one-year induction participants reported spending less time with mentors in the second (non-induction) year than did the control group. Teachers who participated for two years continued to report more support and intervention. Yet the two cohorts (those with one or two years of intense induction and those with none) still showed no statistical difference in terms of student test scores or teacher retention rates. While last year we noted that it is exceedingly difficult to detect impacts of intensive programs like these one after only one year, it is undeniable that year two only seems to reinforce last year’s results showing no correlation between comprehensive induction programs and teacher quality.