This project examines the effect of four different types of induction programs on 100 5th year teachers of secondary science. The teachers involved in the study have participated in a previous study during their first three years of teaching.
The four types of induction programs are described as follows.
1. General induction programs offered by school districts/regional centers,
2. Science-specific e-mentoring programs offered by higher education or science organizations,
3. Science-specific programs offered by higher education institutions, and
4. Intern programs that allow teachers to earn their teaching credential while they complete their first year of teaching.
Dr. Luft's research concentrates on providing the details that give insights into why newly qualified science teachers are leaving or persisting in the profession and how induction programs affect their beliefs and practices. The research questions for this study are:
1. Do induction programs make a difference in the retention of secondary science teachers during their fourth and fifth year?
2. What characterizations can be made about teachers who persist, their performance, and the assistance they receive?
3. How do beginning science teachers develop over their first five years? How do induction programs contribute to this development?
Data collection includes 8 interviews and 2 classroom observations of each teacher. The CETP-COP and Oregon Teacher Observation Protocol are used for classroom observations. Quantitative data analysis utilizes ANOVAs and HLM, to be followed by a qualitative analysis exploring the findings.
The research team is based at Arizona State University and includes Dr. Luft, Dr. Marilyn Thompson, five graduate students and one undergraduate student. The products will include papers submitted to professional journals, postings to the Arizona Science Coordinators Association listserv, and direct dissemination to school administrators and local meetings.
The impacts will be increased understanding of induction programs, what they achieve and what characteristics are effective. This will help policy makers and administrators modify the programs for increased effectiveness. Given the high rate of teachers leaving the profession during the first five years and the popularity of induction programs, the primary impact would be increased retention of quality teachers.