Supporting New Teachers: Maryland

2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy

Goal

The state should require effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-need schools. This goal was reorganized and not graded in 2017.

Analysis of Maryland's policies

Mentoring for New Tteachers: Maryland requires that all new teachers receive mentoring, and districts are required to establish a cadre of full-time or part-time mentors to support new teachers. The state expects each local school system to design a program incorporating components established by the state, including: an orientation program for new teachers prior to the start of the school year, mentor support such as regularly scheduled meetings during noninstructional time, opportunities for new teachers to observe and co-teach with skilled teachers with follow-up discussions of the experiences, ongoing professional learning activities, and an ongoing formative review of new teacher performance such as classroom observation.

Local school systems are encouraged, but not required, to provide a reduction in teaching schedule during induction. All new teachers must participate in induction activities until they achieve tenure. Experienced teachers new to Maryland must participate for one year. Local school systems will evaluate their teacher induction programs using measures including teacher retention and attrition.

Mentor Selection Criteria: Maryland requires mentors to be either current teachers who have an advanced professional certificate or retired teachers and requires that all mentors have obtained evaluation ratings of satisfactory or effective. The state requires mentors to demonstrate skills in knowledge of adult learning theory and peer coaching techniques, and have the knowledge base and skill to address performance evaluation criteria and outcomes to be met by each new teacher, and have a positive reference from a principal or supervisor. Districts are required to provide mentors with ongoing training and feedback that addresses the varied needs of the new teachers, and the state provides additional new mentor trainings each semester and during the summer. The maximum ratio of mentors to new teachers is 1 to 15.

Citation

Recommendations for Maryland

Set more specific parameters.
While Maryland has strong mentoring and induction requirements to support its new teachers, they could be made stronger by the state setting more specific guidelines on the frequency and amount of time mentors and new teachers should meet, particularly during those critical first weeks of school, and further clarifying the timeframe in which mentors must be assigned to new teachers. 

State response to our analysis

Maryland was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state provided that it mentors must be assigned to new teachers before the school year begins. Maryland acknowledged that state regulations do not specify how frequently mentors must meet, but reiterated that a full time mentor cannot be supporting more than fifteen new teachers.

 Maryland also added that currently, a work group has been established to discuss teacher recruitment, retention and advancement. One topic under consideration is a statewide standard required of mentor teachers in Maryland.

How we graded

Not applicable. This goal was not scored in 2017.

Research rationale

Too many new teachers are left to "sink or swim" when they begin teaching, leaving most new teachers overwhelmed and under-supported at the outset of their teaching careers. Although differences in preparation programs and routes to the classroom do affect readiness, even teachers from the most rigorous programs need support once they take on the myriad responsibilities of their own classroom.[1] A survival-of-the-fittest mentality prevails in many schools; figuring out how to successfully negotiate unfamiliar curricula, discipline and management issues, and labyrinthine school and district procedures is considered a rite of passage. However, new teacher frustrations are not limited to low performers. Many talented new teachers become disillusioned early by the lack of support they receive, and, particularly in our most high-needs schools, it is often the most talented teachers who start to explore other career options.[2][3]

Vague requirements simply to provide mentoring are insufficient. Although many states recognize the need to provide mentoring to new teachers, state policies merely indicating that mentoring should occur will not ensure that districts provide new teachers with quality mentoring experiences.[4] While allowing flexibility for districts to develop and implement programs in line with local priorities and resources, states also should articulate the minimum requirements for these programs in terms of the frequency and duration of mentoring and the qualifications of those serving as mentors.[5]


[1] There are a number of good sources describing the more systematic induction models used in high-performing countries. To examine the role of induction (and other factors) for developing quality in the teaching force in 25 countries, see: McKenzie, P., & Santiago, P. (2005). Attracting, developing, and retaining effective teachers: Teachers matter. Paris, France: Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.; For shorter synopses, consult: Olson, L. (2007). Teaching policy to improve student learning: Lessons from abroad. Advertising Supplement to Education Week, sponsored by The Aspen Institute. Retrieved from
http://www.edweek.org/media/aspen_viewpoint.pdf.; To review work that examines reasons why seven countries perform better than the United States on the TIMSS, which includes induction models in its analysis, see: Wang, A. H., Coleman, A. B., Coley, R. J., & Phelps, R. P. (2003). Preparing teachers around the world. Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from https://www.ets.org/Media/Education_Topics/pdf/prepteach.pdf
[2] A California study found that a good induction program, including mentoring, was generally more effective in keeping teachers on the job than better pay. See: Reed, D., Rueben, K. S., & Barbour, E. (2006). Retention of new teachers in California. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved from http://wwxv.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_206DRR.pdf; Domestically, evidence of the impact of teacher induction in improving the retention and performance of first-year teachers is growing. See: Isenberg, E., Glazerman, S., Bleeker, M., Johnson, A., Lugo-Gil, J., Grider, M., ... & Britton, E. (2009). Impacts of comprehensive teacher induction: Results from the second year of a randomized controlled study (NCEE 2009-4072). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20094072/pdf/20094072.pdf; For a further review of the research on new teacher induction, see: Rogers, M., Lopez, A., Lash, A., Schaffner, M., Shields, P., & Wagner, M. (2004). Review of research on the impact of beginning teacher induction on teacher quality and retention. Retrieved from http://www.newteacher.com/pdf/ResearchontheImpactofInduction.pdf; The issue of high turnover in teachers' early years particularly plagues schools that serve poor children and children of color. Much of the focus of concern about this issue has been on urban schools, but rural schools that serve poor communities also suffer from high turnover of new teachers. Research on the uneven distribution of teachers (in terms of teacher quality) suggests that, indeed, a good portion of the so-called "achievement gap" may be attributable to what might be thought of as a "teaching gap," reported by many including: Feng, L., & Sass, T. R. (2016). Teacher quality and teacher mobility. Education Finance and Policy. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/1001506-teacher-quality-teacher-mobility.pdf; Sass, T. R., Hannaway, J., Xu, Z., Figlio, D. N., & Feng, L. (2012). Value added of teachers in high-poverty schools and lower poverty schools. Journal of Urban Economics, 72(2), 104-122. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001469-calder-working-paper-52.pdf; Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. (2005). Who teaches whom? Race and the distribution of novice teachers. Economics of Education Review, 24(4), 377-392. Retrieved from http://www.terry.uga.edu/~mustard/courses/e8420/Clotfelter-Teachers.pdf; For examples of how these inequities play out in Illinois, see: White, B. R., Presley, J. B., & DeAngelis, K. J. (2008). Leveling Up: Narrowing the teacher academic capital gap in Illinois. Illinois Education Research Council. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED502243.pdf
[3] Goldring, R., Taie, S., and Riddles, M. (2014). Teacher attrition and mobility: Results from the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey (NCES 2014-077). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014077.pdf
[4] For evidence of the importance of high quality mentors, see: Carver, C. L., & Feiman-Nemser, S. (2009). Using policy to improve teacher induction: Critical elements and missing pieces. Educational Policy, 23(2), 295-328.; Jackson, C. K., & Bruegmann, E. (2009). Teaching students and teaching each other: The importance of peer learning for teachers. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(4), 85-108.; See also: Wong, H. K. (2004). Induction programs that keep new teachers teaching and improving. NASSP Bulletin, 88(638), 41-58. Retrieved from http://www.newteacher.com/pdf/Bulletin0304Wong.pdf
[5] Descriptive qualitative papers provide some information on the nature of mentoring and other induction activities and may improve understanding of the causal mechanisms by which induction may lead to improved teacher practices and better retention. A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education presents four case studies on induction models that it found to be effective. See: Alliance for Excellent Education. (2010). Tapping the potential: Retaining and developing high-quality new teachers. Retrieved from
http://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/TappingThePotential.pdf