Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction

Eric Ulas

Institute of Education Sciences
June 2010

This report is the third and final report of a series that examines the efficacy of comprehensive teacher induction programs, which are intensive, formalized mentoring programs that many districts have adopted and developed in order to boost student achievement, increase teacher retention, and provide a system of support for new teachers.

From 2005 through 2008, Mathematica researchers (as commissioned by IES) examined the effects of comprehensive teacher induction on 1,009 beginning elementary teachers in 17 urban districts that had previously not been providing any form of comprehensive induction. Specifically, the study examined the impact of induction programs on workforce outcomes (teacher attitudes and retention) as well as classroom outcomes (as measured by student achievement and observations of teachers’ instructional delivery and classroom culture).  In seven of the districts, researchers studied teachers participating in a one-year induction program; in the remaining ten districts, they followed participants in a two-year induction program. Control groups in all districts participated in traditional and less formal induction programs.

The report found that both one- and two-year comprehensive inductions had no impact on teacher attitudes, such as feelings of preparedness or satisfaction. Inductions also had no impact on teacher retention or on the composition of the workforce – in other words, participation in the induction program didn’t lead to retention of more effective teachers, or teachers with more professional qualifications (unfortunately).

In terms of classroom outcomes, neither induction program had an impact on teachers’ lesson content, delivery, or classroom culture, but two-year inductions did have an impact on student achievement, as expressed in teachers’ third year of teaching. The impacts were equivalent to moving the average student from the 50th percentile in reading and math to the 54th and 58th percentiles, respectively.

This survey holds policy lessons for in Ohio in two ways. (Ohio has had comprehensive induction programs in place for several years; last year’s biennial budget bill, HB 1, embedded teacher mentoring programs in the state’s new four-tier licensure program and requires them for teachers to earn professional licensure.) First, for districts implementing comprehensive teacher induction programs, this report provides evidence that longer induction programs have greater impact in terms of improving teacher effectiveness when it comes to student achievement. Second, in order to reduce teacher turnover, Ohio should be aware that that comprehensive inductions are not a plausible remedy. You can find the report here.

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