The New Teacher Center (NTC) is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve student learning via supports for beginning teachers. In 2012, NTC got a federal i3 grant to launch a teacher induction model that provides professional development, research-based resources, and online formative assessment tools for beginning teachers, mentors, and school leaders.
The NTC model has two goals: to develop first- and second-year teachers into effective instructors and to boost their retention, particularly in schools that are hard-to-staff or serve high-poverty student populations. Toward these ends, NTC deploys full-time mentors who are carefully selected and receive 100+ hours of intensive training. New teachers meet with their mentors weekly for at least 3 hours per month and work through an NTC-created suite of research-based tools that include classroom observation cycles. Mentor coaching lasts for two years.
SRI Education recently evaluated the NTC induction model by conducting randomized controlled trials in the Broward County and Chicago Public Schools. The evaluation used both quantitative and qualitative methods and considered two aspects in particular: program implementation fidelity and teacher and student outcomes. These effects were measured over a three-year period (2013-14 to 2015-16) for two cohorts of new teachers.
To gauge fidelity of implementation, SRI rated each district annually on key components of NTC’s model: 1) NTC supports, such as principal engagement and capacity building; 2) mentor selection and assignment; 3) mentor development and accountability; and 4) provision of high-quality mentoring. The evaluation found that all participating school sites implemented the model with high levels of fidelity.
To study impacts, SRI compared the outcomes of teachers who received NTC induction mentoring with those who received their district’s typical new-teacher supports. Impacts that were studied include retention into the third year of teaching; classroom practices as measured by the Framework for Teaching; and student achievement on state assessments in grades 4-8. The researchers adjusted for student, teacher, and school characteristics as well as district differences where appropriate.
The upshot: NTC teachers and control group teachers were retained at similar rates. Both groups also scored similarly on teacher practice, though the small sample size may have reduced analysts’ ability to detect positive or negative effects.
Effects on state test results, on the other hand, were positive. On ELA assessments, students in grades 4-8 whose teachers participated in the NTC model for two years outperformed the students of teachers in the control group by .09 standard deviations, which translates to a jump from the 48th to 52nd percentile. In math, students taught by NTC teachers scored .15 standard deviations higher, equivalent to moving from the 46th to 52nd percentile. Although there were no detectable differences in teacher practice outcomes, the frequency and duration of mentor-teacher meetings were positively correlated with the student achievement results.
Overall, the data seem to indicate that an induction and mentorship program like NTC’s may boost pupil achievement while also supporting new teachers. NTC is currently scaling its model and testing it in five more sites. Let’s hope the positive results continue.
SOURCE: Rebecca Schmidt, Viki Young, Lauren Cassidy, Haiwen Wang, and Katrina Laguarda, “Impact of the New Teacher Center’s New Teacher Induction Model on Teachers and Students,” SRI Education (June 2017).