This chapter examines the way in which student teachers were introduced to the practical teaching dimension of their professional training and how this dimension was measured and monitored. A particular focus for this chapter will be a consideration of the way in which judgements about a student's teaching competence were formed and formalized in a final teaching grade. Comparisons between excellent, middling and poor students will be drawn in an attempt to understand what standards were expected and tolerated of student teachers and the key professional factors which were valued in this monitoring process. Two previously unused sources of data are used in the chapter. The first is a selection of teaching observation proformas drawn up by individual training providers as they assessed and compared their students. 1 The second is a range of school practice reports on individual students from six training providers in the period 1898-1920. By looking in some detail at the process of assessing students' practical performance and the criteria against which they were appraised, it will be possible to evaluate current ITT policy regarding the assessment of trainee teachers, according to a set of centrally prescribed competencies or standards from the perspective of a much longer historical continuum than is currently acknowledged. This analysis also illustrates further the concept of 'power to teach', as it related to the potential of novice teachers.
The chapter is in four main parts. First, arrangements for practical teaching will be outlined showing how different institutions interpreted government requirements in various ways. What was expected from students by way of responsibility for teaching and recording their work as well as students' perspectives on their practical experience will also be considered. Secondly, in an attempt to assess what professional qualities were being evaluated, the content of a range of observation proformas