More or Better Student Teaching?

Nov. 01, 2012

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 28, No. 8 (November 2012) p. 1091-1106.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examines the effects of having longer and better quality student teaching on a variety of outcomes.

The study addresses the following research questions:
1. How do teachers’ perceptions of instructional preparedness, efficacy, and career plans change across student teaching?
2. What is the effect of having longer or better student teaching on perceptions of preparedness, teacher efficacy, and career plans?
3. Do the effects of length or quality of student teaching vary by the demographic characteristics of students in schools that are used as field placement sites?

The participants were 1057 student teachers.
The data for this study come from student teaching registration files, surveys of teachers prior to and following student teaching, and district administrative data on schools.


The findings indicate that the duration of student teaching has little effect on teacher outcomes.
On average, teacher candidates exit student teaching feeling more prepared, more efficacious, and somewhat more interested in working with underserved student populations than when they entered student teaching.
Given these promising results, the authors expected that prospective teachers would also plan to stay in teaching and in the district longer.
Compared to entry, however, they actually plan fewer years in teaching and in the district at exit.
However, this study finds that the quality of student teaching has significant and positive effects.
Prospective teachers who report better quality student teaching experiences feel more prepared to teach, more efficacious, and plan more years in teaching and in the district than peers who report lower quality experiences.
The results show further that the positive effects of student teaching quality on perceptions of preparedness vary by other features of student teaching.
In particular, the magnitude of the effect is substantially stronger when student teaching is short and in schools with more black and Hispanic students.


This study’s findings have important policy implications for teacher preparation.
They provide empirical support for the global trend toward making teacher preparation more “clinically-based”, though caution against narrow interpretations of what this means.

Specifically, the study’s findings suggest that the policy trend toward increasing the length of student teaching may not alone have a substantial impact on teacher preparation.
Rather, policy changes targeting the quality of student teaching are likely more promising, especially when student teaching is shorter and in schools with more historically underserved racial groups.

Updated: Nov. 19, 2014