Effects of Mentoring Programs on New Teacher Retention: A Literature Review

May. 01, 2011

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 19, No. 2, May 2011, 139–156
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The authors examined empirical studies from 2005 to 2010 that addressed the effect of mentoring programs on new teacher retention.

The authors identified three criteria for selection of studies, which included those that:
(a) were published in peer-reviewed journals or technical reports available through online databases;
(b) in some way connected mentoring with new teacher retention; and
(c) were conducted in the United States.

The authors identified 14 studies that met their criteria to be included in this literature review.

For each study, the authors analyzed the major mentoring program components, identified the research design and data collected, categorized and highlighted the major findings, and discussed the interaction between mentoring and retention.

Major Mentoring Program Components
The 14 studies revealed four major common mentoring program components:
(a) mentor characteristics,
(b) facilitative administrative structures,
(c) frequency of support, and
(d) professional development and training (including use of classroom observations)

Discussion and Implications

The authors propose that researchers and decision-makers take the following perspectives into consideration as they design and evaluate mentoring programs.

First, the authors recommend that instead of focusing on the linear relationship between mentoring and retention, researchers need to be more intentional in addressing the non-linearity and complexity of mentoring within specific school contexts.

Second, the authors claim that in order to better understand the factors regarding teacher retention, researchers need to conduct studies that better acknowledge the complexity of teacher retention and the role mentoring plays in teachers’ decision-making.

Third, researchers need to place much more emphasis on studying mentoring as a process rather than a program.

Fourth, multiple studies on the same mentoring program done by researchers from different paradigms using different research methodology would not only help us gain a more comprehensive understanding of the program, but also provide further insights for all stakeholders involved in the effort to enhance the quality of mentoring programs.

The authors conclude that they propose an understanding of the complex and non-linear nature of both mentoring and teacher retention.

Updated: Apr. 23, 2013