A recent study of the professional development of teachers identified four key areas in which nations with high student achievement tend to have an advantage over the United States:
Support for new teachers
•Many countries mandate mentoring or other support for beginning teachers. In New Zealand, new teachers spend 20 percent of their time being coached. In Norway, each new teacher is paired with a teacher trained as a mentor. In Switzerland, novices meet with practice groups from other schools for peer evaluation.
• The US has made progress in this area. In the early 1990s, about half of new teachers participated in support programs. A decade later, that had grown to two-thirds, and 7 out of 10 had a mentor.