Understanding and Addressing Principal Turnover: A Review of the Research
National Association of Elementary School Principals and Learning Policy Institute, March 19, 2019
This report reviews 35 studies of principal turnover, a significant problem in American schools that affects teachers and students. It concludes that five major factors influence principals’ decisions to leave their jobs: 1) inadequate preparation and professional learning; 2) working conditions including lack of support and insufficient time to complete requirements; 3) low salaries that are not competitive with other jobs; 4) lack of decision-making authority; and 5) high-stakes accountability systems. The good news is that principals who are well-prepared and have supports such as mentoring are less stressed and stay longer. However, difficult working conditions and higher turnover are more common in schools serving high percentages of low-achieving students, students of color, and those from low-income families. The authors’ first recommendation is providing more high-quality professional learning to principals.
Learning by the Book: Comparing Math Achievement Growth by Textbook in Six Common Core States
Center for Education Policy Research, March 2019
In this multistate study, researchers compared whether students’ math achievement in 4th and 5th grades differed based on the textbooks and curriculum materials their teachers used. The study found no reliable differences among several popular math curricula, even when comparing teachers who used the materials in most lessons with those who used them less frequently. Hypothesizing about this finding, the researchers noted that most teachers had received only a day or two of training in using the materials, and fewer than half had received coaching. The researchers speculate that “it is possible that, with greater supports for classroom implementation, the advantages of certain texts would emerge, but that remains to be seen.”
Examining Features of How Professional Development and Enactment of Educative Curricula Influences Elementary Science Teacher Learning
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, March 2019
Educative curricula include support for teachers’ learning as well as students’ by embedding professional learning in the core instructional materials. This randomized cluster study compared teaching and learning between a group of teachers who used educative curricula and a group who used traditional curricula preceded by limited professional learning. Teachers in the educative group experienced greater increases in content knowledge and teaching self-efficacy as well as deeper understanding of scientific inquiry and reform-based teaching. Surprisingly, however, these effects varied according to how much self-efficacy teachers initially brought to the educative curriculum: Those who started with higher self‐efficacy made smaller learning gains and so did their students. One possibility is that teachers who knew they had a lot to learn benefited more from the educative materials.
NEW TEACHER MENTORING
Looking Inside and Outside of Mentoring: Effects on New Teachers’ Organizational Commitment
American Educational Research Journal, April 29, 2019
This study examined the conditions under which mentoring influences new teachers’ commitment to their schools, an affective state that helps to explain job retention. Over 1,000 new teachers in Chicago Public Schools were surveyed about the nature of the mentoring they received and their feelings of attachment to and involvement in their schools. New teachers who had mentoring that was more frequent and comprehensive and that provided teachers with opportunities for practice had higher levels of organizational commitment. New teachers in schools with stronger principal leadership also showed more commitment. The findings underscore expert advice that the quality and frequency of mentoring matters.