- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1340012
- First Name Elizabeth
- Last Name Edmondson
- Discipline Other: Science and Math
Melissa Cuba, Virginia Commonwealth University, firstname.lastname@example.org
VCU Noyce Phase I and II implemented an induction model to support and retain our Noyce novice teachers. These efforts are critical for these teachers working when working in stressful high-needs schools. In addition, the current shortage of highly qualified secondary science and mathematics teachers is linked to low retention rates. Of particular note, Ingersoll (2007) argued that the shortage of science and mathematics teachers is due to the large number of teachers (40-50%) who leave the profession within their first five years of teaching. Ingersoll (2007), supported by Linda Darling-Hammond et al. (2016), identified several contributing factors including low salaries, lack of support from school administrations, student discipline problems, and the lack of teacher input into school decision making. We are investigating the impact of the VCU Noyce induction model on teacher retention to learn whether we are able to be overcome the contributing factors identified by Ingersoll.
Our goal is to increase the number and retention of highly qualified, culturally competent science and mathematics teachers in high-needs districts. To address the retention issue, we have implemented a two-year induction model that consists of the novice teachers attending monthly dinner meetings that provide a forum for sharing instructional and school-related issues. Two protocols are used with one examining problems and the other examining successful classroom practices. Members are trained in the use of the Tuning Protocol (McDonald, Mohr, Dichter, & McDonald, 2007) to discuss lessons, projects, pedagogical, and management issues. The Tuning Protocol is a problem-solving tool that allows teachers to receive and reflect on feedback on their practice (McDonald et al., 2007). This protocol provides teachers with a methodology to confront and seek solutions to a range of teaching-related issues in a supportive environment. A second success protocol is used to examine best practices in the classroom. The sessions are facilitated by trained program staff. The focus of the induction sessions does evolve to meet the needs of the teachers over a two-year period.
To study our model, we are using a mixed methods approach. Our study is guided by the following questions:
1. How has participation in the induction program supported novice teachers?
2. What factors has the induction model not been able to help the novice teachers overcome?
3. How has this induction model vs others at VCU (RTR Coaches) impacted our retention rates?
The data collected to date and in the future will include attendance at induction sessions, retention in the classroom, retention in high-needs classrooms, and interviews conducted at the last induction session each year. The attendance and retention data were examined using simple descriptive statistical measures. The interviews are semi-structured open-ended interviews, with some questions centered on science and mathematics lessons, high-needs settings, or both, while others are more general, asking participants to imagine and describe an especially good or especially bad teaching day at pre, mid & post points.
The two-year VCU induction model has been very successful with at least 83% of the completing scholars attending at least one session. Cohort attendance has varied from 42% for cohort 4 of phase I to 100% for novice teachers in cohort 2 and 3 of phase II. There are a variety of reasons for not attending including family obligations in the evening, coaching duties, and living to far from VCU to attend. Session attendance ranges from 6 to 9+. The novice teachers believe the sessions are helpful and that they learn from their colleagues through the protocols. Modifications have been made over the years to meet the teacher’s needs, such as the order the protocols are used each session to increase morale when finishing the sessions and bringing in guest speakers. A variety of questions have arisen and the PI plans to explore them next.
The VCU Noyce grant has impacted 71 preservice students as Noyce Scholars to date (Phase I- 4 cohorts and Phase II-4 cohorts). Of these Noyce Scholars, 85% have completed their obligation to the grant. Of these Scholars, 73% continue to teach science or mathematics. Three of the four completing their obligation in phase I year 1 are completing their 7th year of teaching. The VCU model provides relevant coursework leading to licensure and an induction model that supports these scholars. Not only has the VCU Noyce project impacted the scholars, but it has impacted their students. In addition, the project has impacted VCU Noyce interns (undergraduates) that are now coming into the program (two students next year). Dissemination efforts have included papers at national conferences and chapters in books. The PI plans to expand these dissemination efforts.