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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Phyllis Hensley

Second Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Third Committee Member

Michael McKibbin

Fourth Committee Member

Mari Irvin


California needs high quality teachers, particularly in schools that are located where well- prepared teachers who are committed to teaching urban youth are in short supply. Only 15–18% of traditional teacher candidates state a preference for urban settings. In contrast, the percentage of interns who state that they would prefer to teach in an urban school is 70%. Because of its ability to produce teachers willing to teach in urban schools, the California District Intern Program has been able to help alleviate the shortage of teachers willing to teach in urban settings. A key feature of district intern programs is the requirement to establish cohort structures within each program. The purpose of this study was to describe cohort support as it exists in district intern programs currently in operation in California. This included understanding what effect, if any, cohort participation has on interns' sense of personal teaching efficacy and determining to what extent the relationships formed within the cohorts provide support in both teaching and non-teaching contexts. Additionally, this study provides insight into practice and offers recommendations for improving the cohort system in district intern programs. California district interns affirm the need for cohort groups in learning to teach. There is strong agreement that participation in a cohort is a positive experience and seen by interns as being essential to their success within district intern programs. Additional analysis provided evidence that interns participation in cohort activities specifically tied to reflection is linked to a higher sense of personal teaching efficacy. This is crucial information as there is a direct relationship between teaching efficacy and higher student achievement. Regardless of whether internships exist as a result of a teacher shortage in California or because intern programs are seen as a high quality program for preparing teachers, these novices are expected to learn to teach on the job. There is clear evidence that participation in cohort groups provide interns with the support they feel is necessary for them to be successful in this endeavor. Current programs provide ample opportunities for this to occur, new programs are encouraged to provide the same variety.




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