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An Investigation of the Effects of Variations in Mentor-Based Induction on the Performance of Students in California


by Stephen Fletcher, Michael Strong & Anthony Villar — 2008

Background/Context: Policy makers are concerned about teacher shortages and the high rate of attrition among new teachers. Mentor-based induction has been shown to reduce the numbers of new teachers leaving schools or the profession. However, staying in the profession does not mean that new teachers are effective in helping students learn.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of the project was to study how variations in new teacher support programs are related to changes in student achievement.

Research Design: Three districts that had participated in the New Teacher Center training program were asked to be a part of a study about program effectiveness. Using data collected from interviews with district officials, the programs of the districts were categorized based on the mentor/novice ratio. This ratio was selected because it has implications for mentor selection, mentor training, and contact time between mentors and new teachers. Districts also provided achievement data for students taught by new teachers in Grades 2–6.

Population/Participants/Subjects: Three school districts in California agreed to participate in the study. The number of participants in the three districts included, respectively, 17 new teachers and 424 students; 31 new teachers and 709 students; and 51 new teachers and 1,288 students.

Data Collection and Analysis: Two types of data were used for the study. First, a numerical score was created for each program based on the mentor/novice ratio. Second, achievement scores from two consecutive spring testing periods were obtained from districts for students taught by new teachers in the elementary grades. The two types of data were analyzed using a two-level hierarchical linear model. Student ethnicity, class ethnicity, and an indicator of student poverty were also included in the analysis.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Mentor-based induction can have a positive effect on student achievement if the program allows for weekly contact and mentor selectivity is high.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 10, 2008, p. 2271-2289
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14719, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 11:32:41 AM

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About the Author
  • Stephen Fletcher
    New Teacher Center; University of California, Santa Cruz
    E-mail Author
    STEPHEN FLETCHER is a researcher with the New Teacher Center. His research interests focus on the outcomes of new teacher support, and the interaction of universities and school districts for teacher education.
  • Michael Strong
    New Teacher Center; University of California, Santa Cruz
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL STRONG is the Director of Research at the New Teacher Center. His research interests range from understanding the conversations of mentors and new teachers to people’s perceptions of teacher effectiveness. He recently published a review of research on the relationship of new teacher support and retention in The New Educator.
  • Anthony Villar
    New Teacher Center; University of California, Santa Cruz
    ANTHONY VILLAR is a postgraduate researcher with the New Teacher Center. He is also a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research at the New Teacher Center focuses on mentor development and cost-benefit analysis of new teacher support.
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