Novice middle school teachers’ preparedness for teaching, and the helpfulness of supports: A survey of one state




Beginning teacher induction, teacher preparation


Novice teachers’ readiness for teaching may affect the quality of the classroom environment and teachers’ likelihood of remaining in teaching. Using a survey of novice teachers in one state, we examine teachers’ preparedness for teaching, the supports offered, and the perceived helpfulness of those supports. Even novice teachers often had some type of prior experience: particularly substitute teaching (64%) and as a teacher aide or assistant (44%). Still, they often did not feel well prepared. Sixty percent of teachers felt well prepared in their subject area, but only 34% in using appropriate pedagogical strategies, 28% in managing their classrooms, and 17% in reaching all students. Teachers typically received multiple types of supports and received them multiple times over the first year, with a mean of 163 instances of supports. Teachers most often viewed supports as helpful if the supports were in the areas that teachers felt least prepared and provided at least monthly. The supports most related to teachers’ perceptions of helpfulness were mentoring, planning lessons, using student assessment data to make decisions about instruction, using appropriate pedagogical strategies, professional development for new teachers, teacher networks, and regular collaboration with other teachers.


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Author Biographies

Bradford Chaney, Westat

Bradford Chaney. Ph.D., is Senior Study Director at Westat, specializing in project management, survey research, statistical analysis, research design, and policy evaluation, primarily in the area of education.

Henry Braun, Boston College

Henry Braun, Ph.D., is the Boise Professor of Education and Public Policy in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the American Statistical Association. He is the recipient of the Robert Linn Distinguished Award from AERA (D) (2018), co-recipient of the National Council of Measurement in Education Award for “Outstanding Technical Contribution to the Field of Educational Measurement” (1999) and the Palmer O. Johnson Award of the American Educational Research Association (1986).

Frank Jenkins, Westat

Frank Jenkins (retired), Ph.D., was a senior statistician at Westat, participating in projects involving psychometric and hierarchical linear modeling analyses. In previous work as a research scientist at the Educational Testing Service (ETS), he directed the analysis of mathematics, geography, and writing assessments for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.




How to Cite

Chaney, B., Braun, H., & Jenkins, F. (2020). Novice middle school teachers’ preparedness for teaching, and the helpfulness of supports: A survey of one state. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 107.