REPORT LANGUAGE MINORITY TEACHER INDUCTION PROJECT
Executive Summary: 2000 - 2002
Prepared by of Barbara Dole Acosta and Melissa DiGennaro King
of George Mason University
This biennial, comprehensive, mixed-methods evaluation provides an assessment
of the strengths and limitations of the LMTIP as it completes the fourth
year of a five-year grant from the Office of English Language Acquisition
(OELA). Judgment of quality was determined based on the extent to which
the project is making progress on each of its stated goals and objectives,
as well as on a set of OELA evaluation guiding questions. The evaluation
provides indicators of both processes and products. Data were collected
through a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, including interviews,
surveys, and document reviews, and include multiple stakeholder perspectives.
The data were collected during the 2001 - 02 school year, with a focus
on Years 3 and 4 of the project.
Results of the evaluation clearly indicate that the LMTIP is effectively
meeting all of the proposed goals and objectives. Data analysis shows
that the LMTIP has resulted in both expected and supplementary positive
outcomes. A summary of findings, organized by goals and objectives, is
- GOAL 1: Develop and implement
an induction model for teachers of LM/LEP students.
- GOAL 2: Provide for the advanced professional
development of mentors and beginning teachers.
- GOAL 3: The project will result in substantive
improvement in language minority education at both the LEA and IHE
- Evaluation Guiding Questions
GOAL 1: Develop and implement an induction model for teachers of
- The LMTIP has developed a highly successful teacher induction model.
Evaluation data verified that induction teams have effectively served
156 mentee teachers in 12 schools, with leadership provided by 17 mentor
Objective 1.1: Form Induction Advisory Committee
- The original plan for an Induction Advisory Committee with broad-based
membership worked well during the conceptual stage of the project. Due
to the time constraints of busy professional members, however, it has
been difficult to maintain an active committee. Alternative means of
communication (other than regular meetings) may be more appropriate.
Objective 1.2: Identify and select members of each building induction
- The recruitment and selection process for mentor and mentee teachers
varied considerably by school. Many teachers were highly motivated to
participate in the LMTIP in order to pursue professional growth and
learning and to increase their knowledge of LM students. Data indicate
that voluntary participation and flexible selection criteria resulted
in higher satisfaction than required participation for both mentors
and mentee teachers.
Objective 1.3: Identify participating Mason faculty.
- Mason faculty support, part of the original project design, was discontinued
after the first two years of the LMTIP. The project director decided
that funds for faculty members could instead be invested in direct services
for more teacher participants at the school level. Data from interviews
indicate that this was perceived as a positive step.
Objective 1.4: Begin induction services.
- Devoting ample time to the development of team trust during the first
semester led to strong collegial relationships, which established a
foundation for teacher professional growth and reflection. Mentors and
fellow team members provided both moral and practical support, shared
ideas, and helped problem-solve. This process helped alleviate stress,
increased teachers' confidence in their professional skills, and motivated
them to move beyond new teacher "survival" concerns toward
the ongoing practice of thoughtful reflection focused on student needs.
- Teachers reported that participating in induction team meetings, conducting
action research, attending professional conferences, and taking part
in peer observations were valuable activities contributing to professional
growth. The opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with other
professionals across various disciplines was also helpful to both mentors
- The most problematic aspect of LMTIP involvement for many participants
was time. Many mentee teachers said they felt overwhelmed with the multiple
responsibilities of their new roles, and that finding time for meetings,
conducting action research, and other professional development activities
was difficult. Nevertheless, the majority of participants said that
the benefits of participation outweighed the time investment, and most
reported that they did not feel their involvement had been burdensome.
- Response to the induction team experience from both current and former
mentee teachers and mentors was overwhelmingly positive.
GOAL 2: Provide for the advanced professional development of mentors
and beginning teachers.
- The LMTIP provided various forms of advanced professional development
for mentors and beginning teachers. These included university coursework,
action research, professional conference presentations, publications,
and mentor leadership development.
- Seventy-five percent of mentee and mentor participants said that they
had taken advantage of these opportunities, some to the fullest extent
possible. As a result of professional growth activities, LMTIP participants
experienced changes in their attitudes and self-perceptions as educators.
Professional development opportunities also resulted in increased confidence,
enhanced competence, professional pride and satisfaction for mentee
- Mentors experienced professional growth through the development of
leadership skills as they applied their expertise and experience to
coaching mentee teachers.
- Some mentors and mentees said that participating in the LMTIP had
inspired them to pursue graduate studies.
- Action research was an important part of professional development.
The action research helped beginning teachers develop reflective practice
and a focus on meeting student needs.
- Flexibility in both process and product has been an important and
desirable aspect of the action research component that is well supported
by studies of teacher research. Nevertheless, LMTIP mentors and mentees
expressed a need for some basic structure and guidelines for conducting
research. This would help lead to improved monitoring of student outcomes,
a task made difficult by the variability in the quality and content
of the action research reports produced to date.
GOAL 3: The project will result in substantive improvement in language
minority education at both the LEA and IHE levels.
Objective 3.1. Language minority students of the beginning teachers
in the project will demonstrate significant improvement in literacy
and academic achievement as measured by standardized test scores and
Evaluation Guiding Questions
Collaboration among IHEs and local schools
- Central office staff in participating school districts contributed
to the development of the conceptual framework for the LMTIP and initially
played an active role. They are enthusiastic about the goals and objectives
of the LMTIP, but many have been unable to regularly attend meetings
and are unfamiliar with project advances. Additional mechanisms for
communication and coordination would be helpful for these important
- Principals at LMTIP participating schools were perceived as quite
knowledgeable about project goals, activities and advances. Although
not all principals had the time to attend LMTIP meetings, many were
supportive of induction team activities. Principals said that the LMTIP
had benefited their schools, and hoped that project funding would continue
in the future.
Teacher recruitment and retention
- The LMTIP was not designed to recruit teacher candidates and evaluators
did not collect data pertaining to teacher recruitment. The project
appears to have had a positive impact on teacher retention. Participating
teachers report that the project has influenced them to remain in their
profession by providing needed support, a sense of professionalism and
a feeling of belonging. Ninety-seven percent of 2001-02 participants
said they plan to continue in the teaching profession.
Improvement of Mason's capacity to prepare teachers of LEP students
- The LMTIP was conceived in accordance with research-based principles
developed as part of the university's teacher preparation program. The
project has benefited Mason through the involvement of university faculty
members. Mason faculty who served as induction team advisors during the
first two years of the project grew professionally from increased reflection
and collaboration with teachers in local schools, and this involvement
has influenced them to modify their philosophical views and pedagogical
approaches to working with pre-and in-service teachers.
Improvement of Mason professional development for teachers of LEP
- LMTIP is a professional development project that differs considerably
from traditional staff development programs for in-service teachers.
Through this project, Mason has verified the effectiveness of the conceptual
principles stated in the project proposal:
- the formation of "communities of learners" through
- support of principals as "committed leaders;"
- a team approach to development;
- development of mentor relationships between experienced and new
- action research;
- organizational partnership;
- flexibility to individual school contexts and specific concerns
of beginning teachers.
In conclusion, this evaluation finds
that the LMTIP is a well-implemented and effective project for the induction
and professional development of beginning teachers of language minority
students. Involvement in the project has promoted continual growth as educators
and the advancement of teacher professionalism; stimulated enhanced communication
networks (within schools, between schools, and across school districts);
provided a common focus for collaborative efforts and a proactive approach
to problem solving; and advanced the concept of lifelong learning among