Leap Year: Assessing and Supporting Effective First-Year Teachers

April 17, 2013

The first year is the most important year of a teacher’s career. We need to treat it that way.

Teachers who make a strong start are more likely to remain successful over time, but many schools and teacher training programs treat teachers’ first year like a warm-up. We should instead see it as a critical window of opportunity to help teachers develop essential skills and determine whether they can make a successful career teaching.

Leap Year describes the major lessons we learned from treating the first year of teaching with the care it deserves through the Assessment of Classroom Effectiveness (ACE), a multiple-measures evaluation system designed to ensure that first-year teachers in our Teaching Fellows and TNTP Academy programs meet a high standard of effectiveness.

Key findings:

  • New teachers perform at different levels and improve at different rates.
  • Teachers’ initial performance predicts their future performance.
  • Multiple measures tend to point to the same conclusion about a teacher’s effectiveness.
  • A few specific core skills appear to be important to a first-year teacher’s success.

The report also offers recommendations for policymakers and education leaders to support effective first-year teaching, including how to make meaningful determinations about the work of first-year teachers.

Additional Resources

Tips for Principals: Putting New Teachers on the Right Path May 08, 2013 > ˅

School leaders can have a major impact on how first-year teachers develop. Here are five strategies principals can use right away to put new teachers on the right track.

Teacher Experience: What Does the Research Say? March 12, 2012 > ˅

Teacher experience helps, but it doesn’t tell the full story—and it doesn’t guarantee excellence. This fact sheet provides the evidence.

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