Literature Review on Induction and Mentoring Related to Early Career Teacher Attrition and Retention

Feb. 01, 2012

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 20, No. 1, February 2012, 7–26.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This literature review focuses on mentoring and induction programs as a solution to what is defined as the problem of early career teacher attrition and retention.
The authors were interested in finding the current research base that supports such programs and initiatives.

Criteria for researching the review

The criteria for researching the literature on induction and mentoring included empirical studies only (both qualitative and quantitative), written in English, and in refereed publications.
Furthermore, the authors searched for studies published from the years 2000 – present and studies from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, that included material linked to teacher attrition or retention.

Criteria for Quality Induction Programs
The authors organized the literature using six of the Wood and Stanulis (2009) criteria of quality induction programs.

The criteria were as follows:
Educated mentors;
Reflective inquiry and teaching processes;
Systemic and structured observations;
Formative teacher assessment;
Administrators’ involvement; and 
School culture supports.


The authors found multiple differences in both induction and mentoring programs around issues such as who offers them, the length of time for which they are offered, whether they are government mandated, whether mentors receive further education for the role, how mentors and mentees are matched and so on.

What the authors found most problematic was whether there is a link between induction programs including mentoring and teacher retention.
Complexities in induction (including mentoring) programs stem from differing ways they are conceptualized and the differing ways they are lived out.

The authors found studies showing the quality of teaching may be impacted with induction (including mentoring) but links to retention were often not made or were tenuous.

The authors also found that principals were seen to have a pivotal role to play in the success of early career induction programs, setting a tone for collegiality amongst all staff.
In addition, the authors found that school cultures supportive of an integrated approach were most successful in retaining beginning teachers.

Finally, several lines of recent research have focused on the lives of beginning teachers themselves. Researchers have suggested it is vital that beginning teachers’ voices are heard in designing what would support them in their development as beginning teachers.

Wood, A. L., & Stanulis, R. N. (2009). Quality teacher induction: “Fourth-wave " (1997–2006) induction programs. The New Educator, 5, 1–23.

Updated: Apr. 21, 2013