New i3 Research Shows Student Achievement Gains Continue with NTC Support
By Ali Picucci, PhD, NTC Vice President of Impact and Improvement —
The latest results from a third-party evaluation of our i3-funded work are in, and show a definitive improvement in student learning outcomes and teacher retention. We’re using these results to understand exactly what’s working — and what’s not — to improve student learning, teacher retention and teacher effectiveness.
We at New Teacher Center have been fortunate in being a two-time recipient of the federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant,making it possible for us to expand our reach and impact to improve educational outcomes for all students, in partnership with underfunded, high-need districts. These grants also support us in guiding more new teachers through the most challenging time in their career – the first two years. In 2012 we received an i3 Validation Grant, which allowed us to expand our work into three sites, pair more mentors with new teachers, and assess which components of our new teacher induction model positively affected teachers and students.
We are now excited to announce that we have new preliminary findings* from a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) that is examining this work.
The “Gold Standard” of Research Studies
RCTs are considered the “gold standard” for evaluating an intervention’s effectiveness. RCTs are studies that randomly assign individuals to an intervention group or to a control group. The unique advantage of random assignment enables you to evaluate whether the intervention itself, as opposed to other factors, causes the observed outcomes. NTC enlisted SRI International to conduct an evaluation of our i3 grant work with the goal of learning what works and using the findings to further improve our model.
Early Results Point to Gains in Student Learning and Teacher Retention
We shared some early findings from this evaluation in May, reporting that after just one year of NTC support, students of NTC-supported teachers gained two to three-and-half months of additional learning in reading compared to students of control group teachers, who received traditional new teacher support.
We’re thrilled now to share some new findings that have just come in about teachers who have received two years of NTC support. These improvements are critical elements to improving equity in education and closing the achievement gap.
- After two years of NTC support, students of NTC-supported teachers in grades four through eight demonstrated three to five months of additional learning in reading compared to students of the control group teachers, who received traditional new teacher support.
- Furthermore, in one urban district, we saw students gain four to seven months of additional learning in reading and three to five additional months of learning in mathematics compared to students in the control group.
- Finally, retention was significantly higher for teachers getting NTC support. NTC supported teachers in the study return to the district at a higher rate (86 percent) than traditionally district-supported teachers (80 percent).
Areas of Opportunity: Much More to Learn
We are excited to continue digging in to learn more about the key factors driving our results so we can support the highest impact professional learning across all district contexts. Our next step is to unpack these preliminary results to learn what elements of our model are most influential – and why. While we are excited about the success we have already seen across these districts, including strong results in reading and English Language Arts, we now need to explore how we can achieve similar gains in math across all types of districts, as well as what other improvements may be made to the model. For example, while we know our input is leading to gains in student learning, we have not yet seen the connection to teacher practice. We will also be delving deeper into these preliminary findings to examine potential measurement challenges, such as sample size and sensitivity of the observation instrument in our next step of analysis. We are passionate about remaining current and addressing the ever-evolving needs to teachers and students, and making this connection will be a top priority for us as we move into the next phase of our i3 work.
At New Teacher Center, we are deeply committed to continuously building and improving our work through research – on behalf of students in every classroom across the country. We will continue this learning and our work with the recently received i3 Scale Up grant, and our 2012 and 2015 federal Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grants. Our federal grants are helping us precisely define the critical elements of our models and understanding how we can make the most difference for students and communities. We look forward to learning more through our evaluation about all of the elements of our models and how they come together to impact teacher retention, instructional practices and ultimately student success.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
* interim report; final public report expected spring 2017