Panel Paper: Do Student Teaching and Pre-Student Predict Future Teacher Quality?

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Wilson C - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kristine West1, Chantal McMahon1 and Soomin Lee2, (1)St. Catherine University, (2)University of Minnesota

Teacher effectiveness is difficult for school districts to predict at the time of hire. Only after a teacher is hired and placed into a school, can the district start to evaluate their effectiveness using methods such as value-added scores, student surveys, and principal observations. In the last few years, researchers have begun to turn to student teaching as a rich source of pre-hire information on teacher effectiveness (Goldhaber et al., 2017). Using a new dataset from a large urban school district in the Midwest, we build upon existing research by studying student teaching and pre-student teaching. Pre-student teaching is analogous to student teaching experiences with shorter practice time. This data is linked to human resources information on application, hire and classroom effectiveness allowing us to test the predictive power of each of these types of pre-hire experiences. This distinction between student teaching and pre-student teaching is important when we consider the optimal number, type and length of student teaching practices.

Our preliminary results suggest that pre-student teaching may be an underutilized hiring screen. We find that teachers who did both pre-student teaching and student teaching in the district score almost one full standard deviation higher on student surveys than applicants with no prior experience in the district. By contrast, teachers who only student taught in the district prior to being hired by the district score no better than applicants with no prior experience in the district. We propose a model where the district increases the number of pre-student teaching experiences and uses these to screen potential student teachers. By way of an analogy, this would be like speed-dating to decide who you want to invest time and effort in to pursue a relationship with. Our new data set of 1,903 unique pre-student teaching practices and 861 unique student teaching practices from 2014 to 2017 allows us to answer the question of how can districts optimize pre-service training opportunities to improve recruitment and hiring.