Mentors for New Teachers Found to Boost Student Achievement—by a Lot

The final results from a U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) analysis has found that the New Teacher Center’s teacher induction model increases student learning by up to five months.

These third-party evaluation results show that the NTC induction model yields statistically significant gains in student learning. The teacher induction model increases student learning in grades 4-8 by 2-4 additional months in ELA/reading and 2-5 additional months in math.

Specifically, the results showed that the following strategies led to increased student learning:

  1. High-quality, trained instructional mentors
  2. Frequent job-embedded feedback focused on instruction and delivered face-to-face
  3. Small mentor caseloads (no more than 15 teachers per mentor)
  4. NTC’s formative assessment system to guide instruction and student supports
  5. Consistent data for program improvement

The study, conducted by SRI Education, focused on induction programs in three sites: the Chicago school district, Broward County schools in Florida, and the Grant Wood Area Education Agency, which is a consortium of 32 school districts in eastern Iowa. This study reported on the findings from randomized controlled trials in just Broward County and Chicago.

The full-time mentors receive more than 100 hours of training every year from the New Teacher Center, and support up to 15 first- and second-year teachers. The new teachers receive two years of coaching and meet with their assigned mentors every week, for at least 180 minutes a month. The mentors focus on the teachers’ instructional practice and on equity and universal access, and the teachers take online formative assessments through the process, designed by the New Teacher Center.

In the evaluation, SRI studied teacher and student outcomes over a three-year period (2013-14 to 2015-16). Researchers compared a group of teachers who received NTC induction mentoring to a group of teachers who received the usual new-teacher supports provided by the district.

Both groups of teachers had similar retention rates and ratings on instructional effectiveness. The major difference was their students’ achievement—the students in grades 4-8 of teachers who received NTC mentoring for two years outperformed their peers in both English/language arts and mathematics. Those students performed better than expected on state standardized tests, representing gains of about two to three-and-a-half additional months of learning in ELA, and two to four-and-a-half months in math, depending on the student’s grade level.

To read the press release, see

To download the full report, see

For Education Week commentary, see