First-year teachers who work with mentors, receive extra training and observe experienced teachers don’t outperform other new teachers, concludes a Mathematica study. Researchers looked at two high-intensity induction models that cost considerably more than the support new teachers typically get.
Findings from the first year showed that although treatment group teachers received significantly more mentoring, received more guidance on instructional practices, and spent more time in certain professional activities than did control group teachers, there were no impacts on teacher practices, based on in-classroom observations of literacy lessons. In addition, the more intensive support had no positive impact on student test scores or teacher retention in the first year.
You’d think there would be some benefit. Teachers, do you have a theory why mentoring and support didn’t make a difference?
The teachers will be followed for two more years to see if there are effects that don’t show up in the first year.
Update: Training doesn’t solve every problem, writes Jay Greene.
Eduwonk wonders if we need a radical redesign of how teachers are trained.