The role of a five year teacher education program in supporting retention in an urban setting up to and during the critical third to fifth year attrition period

Date of Completion

January 2005


Education, Teacher Training




Five year teacher preparation programs have been identified as contributing to professional retention (Andrew, 1995; Baker & Andrew; Andrew & Schwab, 1995; Darling-Hammond, Chung & Frelow, 2002). However, specific elements within five year programs that have served to sustain commitment to teaching and retention, particularly in urban settings, are not fully understood. The shared context of one university's Integrated Bachelor's/Master's teacher preparation had produced a high retention statistic among it graduates and thus was an opportunity to discover how components of the university's teacher education program served to support graduates' teaching in urban school systems up to and through the critical third through fifth year of professional attrition. (Ingersoll, 2001; NCES, 1997, 1998). ^ To accomplish this purpose, ten graduates of the program teaching in two urban systems at the elementary, middle and secondary levels and entering their third year of teaching or beyond were identified. Data were collected using an open-ended questionnaire, a semi-structured, recorded interview, post-interview field notes, and the university's program documents. The questionnaire and semi-structured interview focused on identifying the roots of participants' decisions and actions in response to early critical incidents. The questionnaire, transcribed interviews and post interview field notes were coded and analyzed based on qualitative criteria described by Patton (2002), Stake, (1998) and Seidman, (1996). ^ The analysis revealed nine themes in two categories: (1) the Impact of the Five Year Structure and (2) Conceptual Foundations for Practice. For these participants the five year structure and the program's conceptual framework informed and prepared graduates for the realities of the urban classroom and provided foundations for practice utilizing the reflective/analytical stance articulated in all elements of the program. ^ Further analysis of participant interview responses revealed the program's provision of valid growth experiences (Dewey, 1968, 1991) through its integration of reflection and experience. In addition participants described successful modeling, vicarious experiences and a reduced threat of failure consistent with sources of efficacy growth (Bandura, 1986). ^