Student Teaching Placements and Teacher Outcomes: Emerging Evidence and Novel Interventions
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The student-teaching internship has been recognized as the most important component of an effective teacher training program (NCATE, 2010), often providing prospective teachers with their first teaching experiences before entering the workforce. Annually, nearly 200,000 pre-service teachers are placed in student-teaching positions across the country (Greenberg, Pomerance & Walsh, 2011), and an emerging literature suggests that specific aspects of a teacher candidate’s student teaching experience—such as the characteristics of field placement schools, internship location, and the effectiveness of the mentor teacher—are predictive of later candidate and student outcomes.
This panel brings together four papers that build on this evidence base by considering aspects or interventions in student teaching not previously considered in the empirical literature. The first paper uses comprehensive student teaching data from North Carolina to explore the aspects of student teaching placements that are predictive of future teacher effectiveness. The authors find that the value added and level of teacher collaboration of the school and the effectiveness of the mentor teacher are all positively predictive of future teacher effectiveness, and that preservice teachers with lower GPAs particularly benefit from these aspects of student teaching.
The second paper uses data from Washington State to explore the importance of specific human capital—i.e., experiences that are specific to a candidate’s future teaching positions—in the transition from student teaching to early-career teaching positions. For example, the paper investigates whether teachers who student taught in the same grade, school, or district in which they are currently teaching are more effective than teachers who switched grades, schools, or districts between student teaching and their first job. The paper leverages data on the student teaching experiences of over 20,000 teacher candidates that have been assembled as part of the Teacher Education Learning Collaborative (TELC), a partnership with 15 of the 21 teacher education programs (TEPs) that place student teachers in Washington.
The final two papers report findings from novel interventions in the student teaching placement process. The third paper reports results from an intervention in Spokane Public Schools in Washington State that provided increased structure around the student teaching process in the district by recruiting effective teachers to serve as mentors, centralizing the student teacher placement process, and using structured evaluations to provide feedback to student teachers. Finally, the fourth paper uses data from a random assignment experiment conducted with two educator preparation programs and approximately 500 teacher candidates to assess the relationship between the quality of student teaching placements and employment outcomes.
Together, these papers provide important empirical evidence to inform teacher preparation and district policies around student teaching. The panel discussion of these policy implications will be led by two expert discussants. First, the Director of Teacher Pathways and Development in Denver Public Schools will discuss the implications of these papers for policies related to student teaching placements in districts. Finally, a prominent researcher who has authored several important papers about early-career teacher development will discuss the implications of these papers for future research in this area.