We're still going on about the importance of student teaching, even though many are inclined to dismiss it as an anachronism. (Notably, the new federal funding puts $2 billion into improving teacher residencies, but nothing for student teaching, where most teachers are trained.) So much good research has emerged in the past few years that consistently reinforces the low cost, astounding impact of a high-quality student teaching experience, but it continues to be largely ignored.
Previous posts have highlighted some key considerations for prep programs and districts on student teaching placements. Researchers Kevin Bastian, Kristina Patterson, and Dale Carpenter (from University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Georgia Southern University, and Western Carolina University respectively) add to the mix research that unpacks which candidates particularly benefit from high-quality placements.
They find that student teachers who had been on the lower end of the GPA spectrum (which is still between 3.03-3.57 GPA for education majors) benefit the most when more care is given to the quality of their classroom mentor. By making sure that these less academically talented students are placed with a high-quality mentor, as measured by credentials shown to be associated with effectiveness and measures of prior performance, programs can produce more high-quality graduates, narrowing the effectiveness gap between them and academically stronger teaching prospects.