Student Teaching and Teacher Attrition in Special Education

Vincent J. Connelly, University of New Hampshire
Suzanne E. Graham, University of New Hampshire


Research suggests that substantial pre-service student teaching is essential for the preparation and retention of special educators. Using logistic regression analysis, survey responses of beginning special educators were analyzed to answer the following questions: Are beginning special educators more likely to leave the field if they have had minimal or no pre-service student teaching? Are other characteristics of preparation related to the probability of attrition? It was found that substantial pre-service student teaching experience has a strong effect on the probability that a beginning special educator will remain in the field 1 year later (estimated odds ratio = 2.18). In addition, none of the effects of aspects of teacher pre-service preparation or teacher or school demographics analyzed had an impact on attrition, when controlling for the number of weeks of student teaching.