What makes or breaks a teacher

Universities : One in seven drops out of teacher training

At the universities, the number of places for teacher training is being expanded significantly, because there is a shortage of trained teachers in all federal states and, according to forecasts, the demand will continue to grow in the coming years. However, not all students who decide to pursue a teaching career make it to school later.

The quota of dropouts in teacher training is 15 percent in the bachelor's degree, and another 14 percent of students drop out without a degree in the subsequent state examination. This emerges from the current report of the German Center for University and Science Research (DZHW), which was published in October 2018. Every year, the DZHW records dropouts at universities and technical colleges throughout Germany. The current report refers to the 2016 graduates.

For the first time, it was also recorded for the teaching profession who would give up the sails during the bachelor's degree. "With a share of 15 percent without a Bachelor's degree, the dropout rate in teaching is very low compared to other courses," says Ulrich Heublein from the DZHW. If you look at all bachelor's degree programs at universities, the proportion of dropouts is twice as high at 32 percent.

Men are more likely to drop out of teacher training than women

The teaching profession has the lowest drop-out rate of all subject groups, but the DZHW statistics do not differentiate between teaching subjects and school types. The 15 percent form an average value that can vary greatly depending on the subject. There are big differences between men and women. While 30 percent of male teacher training students drop out of the Bachelor without a degree, the figure is only nine percent among female students.

Even in the state examination, the rate of dropouts in the teaching profession, at 14 percent, is lower than the average in the master’s courses at universities. Overall, the drop-out rate in the master’s degree in 2016 graduates was 19 percent. Even if the teaching profession does comparatively well, the values ​​have deteriorated significantly in recent years. The proportion of students who failed the state examination was lowest in 2010 at six percent.

Heublein also emphasizes that the statistics by no means include the entire loss in the teaching profession. Only those students who leave universities without a degree are included in the DZHW study. Those who switch to another course are not included.

Great decline at the universities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

And this proportion can be considerable: A current study in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has shown that many more students than originally assumed leave the “teacher training” system at the universities in Greifswald and Rostock in order to change universities or subjects. In the teaching post for the so-called regional school, the loss after the tenth semester in Rostock is 70 percent and at the University of Greifswald even 85 percent. After the tenth semester, 65 percent of the students for teaching at grammar schools are missing in Rostock and 55 percent in Greifswald. Even if some of these students continue their teaching degree at another university, they will initially be lost to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Student teachers were surveyed between 2012/13 and 2017/18.

“The reasons for the decline are diverse and different for the individual subjects and teaching posts. Both the study and experience from other countries and universities show that it will not be enough to increase the number of study places and the number of enrollments across the board, ”said the author of the study, Falk Radisch from the University of Rostock. There is greater potential in such changes that ensure that more suitable student teachers take up a degree and then also achieve a degree. And the quality of the course also needs to be improved at various levels, according to Radisch. One possible measure that is being discussed more and more in this context are aptitude tests such as those available in Finland for teacher training courses.

But even those who successfully complete their studies are not always available to the schools. The Center for University and Science Research registers dropouts nationwide, but not those university graduates who stop early in their legal clerkship. And then there are also fully trained teachers who, despite having successfully completed their training, do not switch to school service or who quit after a short time.