This study aimed to identify the critical factors leading teacher students to successfully receive teacher certificates and become secondary school teachers by mining vast educational data using decision trees in order to provide actionable suggestions to improve teacher education. The five-year learning evidence of the teacher students enrolled during 2003-2010 school years from a normal university in Taiwan was collected and then analyzed with the open source data mining software Weka by use of its decision tree algorithms. The major findings include: (1) Years spent to receive a teacher job were different among the three major colleges, namely colleges of Education, Liberal Arts, and Science; (2) Education knowledge is the critical predictor to receive a teacher certificate, while pedagogical content knowledge and content knowledge play the most critical roles to obtain a teacher job. In addition, more practical experiences were also useful to obtain a teacher job, and the score of education practicum was an ineffective predictor, as the current result shows. This study verifies part of the findings with previous work to provide solid suggestions for better teacher education practice.
- Decision tree
- Pedagogical content knowledge
- Teacher certificate
- Teacher job
ASJC Scopus subject areas