A lot has been said over the years on the need for mentoring new teachers, and whenever I am among educators, I almost always hear at least one young teacher speak up for it.
Now, a study of the effects of mentoring on New York teachers, which appears this month in the National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that mentoring can improve retention when the mentor has prior experience in the school. In other words, when the mentor has school-specific knowledge.
Jonah E. Rockoff, an assistant professor of economics and finance at Columbia University, looked closely at a mentoring program the city put in place in 2004. He finds that student achievement in math and reading was higher when their teachers received more hours of mentoring.
However, he also found that a mentor whose subject-matter expertise matches that of the teacher did not necessarily produce better student outcomes.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.