California's Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program (BTSA) is a high stakes induction program; a new teacher's completion of a BTSA induction program leads to the California clear credential. The cornerstone of the BTSA induction program is the mentor, also known as a support provider. Mentors provide a variety of services to new teachers including individualized formative assessment of practice and ongoing reflection on teaching skills. Effective mentors are critical to the success of new teachers and foundational to the induction program. Although BTSA programs are mandated by state induction standards to assess the quality of services provided by their support providers, the standards do not define quality. BTSA programs are free to create their own assessment criteria and assessment methods.
This qualitative, descriptive study (a) examined the perceptions of BTSA program directors on the relationship between established forms of mentor criteria, methods of formative assessment, and formative feedback provided to mentors and (b) identified those components of mentor assessment that are perceived by BTSA program directors to be valuable in assessing mentor effectiveness.
The study found that BTSA directors placed import on assessing mentors for personal dispositions, such as attitude and responsibility, as well as the quality of their work with their novice teachers. Directors perceived that formative feedback from either the BTSA director or peers was important in increasing mentor effectiveness. The directors' perceptions of valued components of mentor assessment were shaped not only by the requirements regarding mentor assessment contained within Induction Standard 3 (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2008), but by local culture, district goals, and existing models of educator assessments within each organization.
BTSA directors, who led programs in high performing schools, valued assessing a mentor's ability to build relationships with novices for the purpose of advancing the novices' teaching practice and were more likely to endorse mentor self-assessment and reflection as major components of assessment. Conversely, BTSA directors who operated programs in under-performing schools valued mentor assessment components that evaluated the mentor's ability to effect and advance the teaching practice of the novice. The latter programs perhaps provided mentors with more specific, explicit feedback.
|Commitee:||Liberati, Susan, Schmeider-Ramirez, June|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational evaluation, Educational leadership, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Assessing mentor teachers, Mentor teachers, Mentoring novice teachers, Teacher induction|
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