For true alternative teacher certification programs, mentoring is a critical component to ensure that career changers are brought up to speed as fast as possible. In an independent study of ABCTE teachers, we were very presently surprised to see that 83% of our first year teachers had a mentor and received about 45 minutes per week with that mentor. So our school districts are helping new teachers.
But how effective is that mentoring? Mathematica Policy Research just came out with a randomized study of the mentoring program that was the gold standard – The New Teacher Center’s program. This program can cost school districts around $5,000 per teacher so with that kind of investment, you want a good pay off.
Some quick thoughts from the study -
- 17 districts and several hundred teachers were involved. The majority of students in each district were low-income
- Control group received normal mentoring and the treatment group got either the New Teacher Center or the ETS program
- Plan is for 7 districts to keep up with the study during a second year of mentoring
- Major finding is that if you give teachers a more intensive mentoring program, they report receiving more mentoring
- Study did NOT find any impacts on student achievement or teacher observation scores or retention
We all continue to look for the one thing that might help all teachers and students perform at a higher level. It appears that these mentoring programs are not it and that we need to keep looking.