NTC Evidence of Retention

New Teacher Center built its induction work to support early career teachers with job-embedded, ongoing coaching support to help them get better faster and stay in the profession. For the past fifteen years, NTC has tracked and documented our impact on new teacher retention. NTC has a legacy of improving the retention of the teachers we support and we want to share some examples of the significant gains we’ve seen. While we did not specifically see retention results in the i3 Validation study, we see this as an opportunity to understand how contextual factors are significant in teachers’ decisions to stay. We are committed to continuing to deepen the understanding of how our programs achieve retention gains and how we can work with districts to provide optimal conditions for achieving this impact.

i3 Validation Retention Rates

The i3 validation results showed that NTC’s teacher-mentor program has a significant impact on student achievement, and teachers in both groups were retained at similar rates. Based on what we have seen in our other work, this outcome caused us to look more closely at contextual factors. For example, we learned local conditions, such as state budgets and union negotiations impacted retention. However, it is hopeful to know we can achieve student learning gains in complex settings.

Specifically, the first cohort of urban teachers who were supported for two years were retained at a rate that was 11 percentage points higher than the comparison group (67% for control teachers and 78% retained for treatment teachers). However, the final analysis showed that this difference diminished for the second cohort of teachers.

When we looked under the hood, several conditions contributed to retention rates being the same between the groups. For example, in the final year of implementation of the grant, lack of a secured state budget delayed the local budgeting process. Ultimately, this meant schools did not know what resources they had to spend and were delayed in offering contracts. Additionally, union negotiations created an intense environment for new teachers where they feared being amongst the first to be let go based on a lack of tenure. Anecdotally, these issues contributed to new teachers across the district choosing to leave.

Increasing Teacher Retention

While we didn’t see these results mirrored in the i3 Validation study, we are building in more refined indicators into the i3 Scale Up study to allow us the better understand the relationship between mentoring and retention. As teacher shortages increasingly challenge policymakers and educational leaders across the United States, a conversation about the relationship between retention and teacher vacancies must be elevated. Research backs the importance of early-career mentoring, on-going instructional coaching, and supportive teaching and learning conditions as influencing factors for teachers’ decision to remain in a given school and in the profession. Additional exploration, however, is needed to determine which specific approaches can stem the tide of teacher turnover.

We are hoping to work with Human Resources departments in our partner districts to better understand the difference between teachers who leave for voluntary reasons versus performance reasons. The i3 Validation achievement results indicate our teachers’ practice was strong and led to gains in learning for their students. We are now focused on amplifying these results across our partner districts and continuing to examine our progress.

In the Districts: NTC Teacher Retention Evidence

NTC has demonstrated improved retention compared to: national averages, local averages, pre-NTC implementation. The evidence below summarizes snapshot data from across the nation of NTC-supported teachers reporting higher retention across a variety of contexts. Additionally, data from NTC’s Program Quality survey shows 95 percent of new teachers report they plan to continue teaching.  A few examples of NTC partners who are achieving strong retention include:

NTC compared to national and state averages
Santa Cruz New Teacher Project (SCNTP), CA

The SCNTP saw gains 32 percentage points above the national average retention rates and 12 percentage points above the state average retention rates. This gap increases if we consider the teachers who move into administrator roles.

Sources:  3 Strong, M., & St. John, L. (2001). A study of teacher retention: The effects of mentoring for beginning teachers. (Working Paper #3). Santa Cruz, CA: New Teacher Center at UC Santa Cruz.

Alaska Statewide Mentoring Program, AK

The AK Statewide Mentoring Program reported up to a 29 percentage points gain over the state average retention rates.

Source: Adams, B. L. (2008). Research summary 2004-2008. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Statewide Mentor Project at University of Alaska.

NTC retention rates compared to pre-NTC implementation district rates
Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), FL

HCPS brought NTC mentoring to their district under the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant. At the highest level of implementation, including low ratios of teachers to mentors, the retention rate increased 22 percentage points from pre-NTC implementation.

Source: Bellwether Consulting (2013). HCPS SEED Comparison Study.  

NTC retention rates compared to district retention rates
Palm Beach County Public Schools (PBCPS), FL

NTC supported teachers were retained at a rate 23 percentage points higher than teachers supported by the district.

Source: Palm Beach County New Teacher Program. (2011). Teacher induction program grant final report. Palm Beach Gardens, FL: School District of Palm Beach County.

2016-2017 Program Quality Survey

The NTC Program Quality Survey captures data on the experiences, attitudes, and behaviors of teachers and mentors/coaches. The survey is research-based and designed to measure important factors around program quality and practice, and includes items that have a demonstrated relationship with student achievement and teacher retention. Featured below is a subset of data collected from this year that serves as a proxy for the overall organization’s retention data (n=5,939).

In 2016-2017, 98% of teachers report they will stay in education and 95% of teachers report they will continue teaching.

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