The research shines a light on a conundrum known to most educators: The first years of one’s teaching career provide vast opportunities for professional growth, but new teachers have fewer experiences to draw on in planning lessons, managing classrooms and creating assessment strategies.
Thus, authors Douglas Gagnon and Marybeth Mattingly write, "Beginning teachers are typically less effective than their more experienced colleagues, as measured by student achievement gains. In addition, beginning teachers are more likely to leave the profession than those who have weathered at least a few years in the classroom. Thus, employing a large percentage of beginning teachers is costly both to a district and students."
The inescapable conclusion: The percentage of beginning teachers is an important dimension of school quality. Gagnon is a doctoral candidate in education at the University of New Hampshire and research assistant at the Carsey Institute, and Mattingly is director of research on vulnerable families at Carsey and research assistant professor of sociology at UNH.