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Although much research has been carried out into factors which predict the academic performance of undergraduates, less attention has been given to predictors of success in postgraduate training. In the present study, the extent to which demographic, academic and attitudinal factors predicted the teaching practice and coursework performance of Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) students was examined. Factual information was obtained from student records, and self‐report data were collected during the first week of the course. The number of students participating was 126 (a 93% response rate). Regression analyses demonstrated that the predictor variables jointly accounted for substantial proportions of the variance in PGCE performance. Degree class, previous teaching experience, professional commitment, high motivation toward teaching, and the interaction between subject area and A level scores were significant predictors of overall performance, but the detailed pattern of results was different for the teaching practice and coursework components. In particular, for teaching practice ratings, the significant predictors included gender (female students received higher ratings than males), marital status (single students received higher ratings than those who were married) and subject area (languages students received lower ratings than students in other areas). Six months after completing the course, 72% of the students had accepted teaching posts and, in a further analysis, factors which predicted employment status were examined. High motivation and good teaching practice marks most clearly discriminated those who entered the teaching profession from those who did not. 1989 British Educational Research Association

Original publication




Journal article


British Educational Research Journal

Publication Date





231 - 248