Novice teachers often face the realities of their first classroom on their own and in isolation. New Teacher Center (NTC) works to help beginning teachers become stronger educators and lay the groundwork for lasting careers. To better understand best practices for supporting early-career educators, NTC needed to evaluate the effectiveness of its induction model for training and mentoring new teachers.
NTC formalized key components of its model under an Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation grant, and SRI Education independently evaluated how implementing the induction model affected teacher practice and student achievement. Researchers found that when teachers participated in the NTC induction model, students improved their achievement in math and English language arts.
With half of all new teachers leaving the profession within five years, school districts and state policymakers are pushing to find ways to support new teachers so they can be more effective educators sooner and stay in the profession for longer. The challenge is particularly pressing in hard-to-staff schools and schools serving high-poverty students, where there are high proportions of beginning teachers but not enough resources to support them.
NTC works with district partners to implement a mentoring and induction program that includes professional development training, research-based resources and online assessment tools. SRI Education evaluated the components of NTC’s model formalized under the i3 Validation grant to identify and document best practices that can be shared and scaled based on demonstrated success.
Identifying and building on best practices
NTC’s two-year induction model features carefully selected full-time mentors who support first- and second-year teachers across multiple schools. Housed in district-level teacher development offices, mentors receive more than 100 hours of training annually from NTC and support new teachers at a ratio of 15 beginning teachers to one mentor. New teachers receive two years of coaching, and mentors and teachers work through a system of NTC-developed online formative assessments.
SRI Education evaluated the NTC model using a randomized controlled trial of students in grades four through eight in two districts with very different populations and needs: Chicago Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools in Florida.
SRI researchers found that students of NTC teachers showed statistically significant improvement in both math and English language arts compared with students of control teachers. In fact, students gained up to five months of additional learning when teachers participated in the NTC induction model, the evaluation found.
While SRI’s evaluation found no measurable effects of NTC training on teacher retention or classroom practice measures, the study established a strong positive correlation between the central components NTC’s induction model—frequency and duration of mentor-teacher meetings—and student outcomes.
NTC has since built on SRI Education’s findings to scale up its induction model to demonstrate how investing in teacher support can lead to improved student outcomes and cost savings for districts in a wider variety of contexts under different scaling strategies.