This paper reviews the student teacher failure literature and describes a study on the causes of failure, noting implications for teacher education institutions. The study involved a systematic analysis of the files of student teachers who failed at one university from 1994-97. Failure of student teaching was defined as either choosing to quit student teaching or being removed from the experience. Results were coded as personal characteristics, performance indicators, or contextual factors. Results identified age, gender, number of previous institutions attended, and lower grades in methods classes as demographic characteristics of students who failed. The single biggest reason for students to withdraw from student teaching was the decision that teaching was not for them. Personal circumstances were another primary reason for failure. Regarding performance indicators, students who failed displayed multiple skill deficiencies. Students who failed for contextual reasons usually did so because of conflict with cooperating teachers or placements. The paper presents a number of ways teacher education institutions can address the causes of failure, ranging from pre-admission screening to early field placement, counseling, selecting and educating cooperating teachers carefully, and documenting the internship. (Contains 29 references.) (SM)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).