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Standard 2.1: Beginning teacher learning outcomes

Program design includes learning outcomes for beginning teacher participants that recognize a continuum of teacher development and a focus on student learning with clearly defined participant expectations for program completion.

The best evidence that an induction/mentoring program is working is in the quality of the beginning teachers it molds and supports. Those who complete a well-designed program demonstrate that they are mastering the craft of teaching, developing their students’ potential, playing an integral role in improving the school community, and choosing to continue teaching.

Expectations for Program Completion

Program leaders and district/building administrators must agree on and define key program components. Program requirements should reflect the overall goals of the program and be clearly defined for both the mentor and the beginning teacher. Participant expectations for program completion must be defined as well so that all stakeholders are aware of expectations and work cooperatively to enable beginning teachers to fully participate.

Examples of common program expectations for beginning teachers include the following:

  • Attending orientation and professional development sessions
  • Working directly with a mentor, often with specific time or other requirements
  • Participating in classroom observation cycles by a mentor or other experienced teacher
  • Documentation of reflection, formative assessment activities, teaching practice competence or progress, and/or completion of induction/mentoring program activities

Mentors also frequently have requirements, including the following:

  • Completing initial mentor training
  • Participating in ongoing professional development activities
  • Working with beginning teachers a certain number of hours each week (or month) and/or covering particular content
  • Completing formal observation cycles of beginning teachers and participating in formative assessment of beginning teachers

Programs should also clearly define learning outcomes for participants based on a continuum of teacher development, such as the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching or the Illinois Continuum of Teacher Development (ICTD) (password required).

Districts in Illinois are required to select a framework for evaluating teacher performance and must train all administrators to use the framework. Program leaders must decide whether to use the same framework or different frameworks with beginning teachers and mentors. Beginning teachers need to be knowledgeable about the evaluation instrument and rubrics that will be used to make the high stakes summative assessments that may lead to their retention or dismissal decisions. They also need formative assessment and coaching on a comparable instrument.

Programs that use the Danielson Framework for teacher evaluation may choose to use that for beginning teacher formative assessment as well to ensure consistency. Programs might also choose to use the ICTD, which is closely enough aligned to the Danielson Framework that beginning teachers can become familiar with the Danielson tool. Using separate tools for teacher evaluation and formative assessment can enhance the distinction between mentors and administrators, and it will prevent mentors from being put in an uncomfortable position if their ratings are different from the administrators’.

Finally, the school or district’s curricula and instructional practices should be a foundation of the program design. Beginning teachers need to have access to the expected curriculum in order to better serve students, and they need to be aware of the expectations that the school or district has for each course.

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