Does the Match Matter? Exploring Whether Student Teaching Experiences Affect Teacher Effectiveness and Attrition

Dan Goldhaber, AIR and University of Washington-Bothell
John M. Krieg, Western Washington University

It is well documented that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor associated with improving student achievement. Researchers explored the relationship between candidates’ student teaching experiences and their later teaching effectiveness and probability of attrition. They found that teachers who student taught in schools with lower teacher turnover are less likely to leave the state’s teaching workforce, and that teachers appear to be more effective when the student demographics of their school are similar to the student demographics of the school in which they did their student teaching.

The researchers utilized detailed information on prospective teachers and their student teaching experiences from six teacher education programs in Washington State matched with K–12 administrative data about students and teachers to investigate two broad research questions: (1) What student teaching experiences are predictive of value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness?; and (2) What student teaching experiences are predictive of the probability that a teacher leaves the teacher workforce in Washington State?

Findings suggest that the school context in which student teaching occurs has important implications for the later outcomes of teachers and their students.