Candidates’ Development and Demonstration of Knowledge, Skills and Personal Dispositions to Help All Students Learn
Initial program field experiences are designed to support candidate development by providing opportunities for increasing involvement with students in classrooms throughout candidates’ preparation programs. Each program has clear entry and exit criteria for early field placements and clinical practice (Table 3.3.g). Early in the credential programs, fieldwork is more limited, involving focused classroom observation, participation in school events, completing specific assignments for university-based courses, and/or working individually with students. Throughout the early field experience and clinical practice, assignments are structured to meet institutional and professional knowledge and include learning about the communities and families of the students they teach, assessing student learning, and reflecting upon observations and the candidates’ own teaching experience.
As candidates’ professional and pedagogical knowledge and dispositions evolve, they are given more opportunities to apply their knowledge. Each program has slightly different expectations for clinical practice, which are outlined in course syllabi, Student Handbooks and Resident Teacher Handbooks, and are aligned with the School of Education’s Performance Expectations and Dispositions. All initial credential candidates participate in a performance assessment- a structured teaching event that includes (1) planning for instruction, (2) implementing and evaluating instruction, (3) assessing student learning and (4) focused reflection. Multiple and Single Subject candidates complete PACT a state approved performance assessment. Education Specialists, who are not yet required by the state to carry out a performance assessment, complete a Teaching Event that mirrors the PACT assessment. Taking over full responsibility of the classroom- the “Take-Over” is the capstone experience for all initial program candidates. This is typically completed towards the end of clinical practice.
To support candidate success during fieldwork and clinical practice in the initial programs, university supervisors and resident teachers in every program provide continuous formative assessments through observation, feedback conferencing (Table 3.3.g)and midterm evaluations (Table 3.3.f). Intern site-based mentors and university supervisors follow a similar process. All candidates attend a seminar that is linked to their early field experience; clinical practice or internship and the seminar facilitators provide additional feedback based on course assignments that are linked to their practicum assignment. During clinical practice, university supervisors observe the student teacher or intern over the course of the semester. University supervisors, resident teachers and site-based mentors meet informally with the candidate on a regular basis and are encouraged to frequently provide formal feedback. Resident teachers (or intern mentors) and university supervisors collaboratively provide summative assessment of the candidate in the final evaluation (Table 3.3.f) of clinical practice performance. Most programs also require a three-way meeting for the final evaluation that includes the student, the university supervisor and the resident teacher.
Candidates are assessed at different points during their field experience and clinical practice depending on the credential program; but all programs, at a minimum, evaluate candidates at three points: prior to their clinical practice, throughout their clinical practice, and in a final evaluation after completing their clinical practice. The entry and exit points constitute (Table 3.3.g) critical assessments (Table 1.3.c): without successfully passing the entry assessment, candidates may not begin the their clinical practice; without successfully passing the exit assessment, candidates will not be awarded their credential. Typically, over 80% of our initial candidates who enter clinical practice complete successfully meet all requirements to earn their initial teaching credentials (see Table 3.3.b).
At the Advanced level, candidates complete authentic field-based assignments that link course content, professional standards and the candidate’s school setting. Examples from the Administrative Credential Program include action research projects, interviews and case studies. The Education Specialist program assignments include an Applied Field Projects, progress monitoring of PreK-12 student learning, and a Professional Induction Plan that aligns additional course assignment to their school and classroom context. The Reading and Language Program assignments include case studies and writing clinical assessment reports. The PPS program candidates complete videotape reviews and case presentations. Each Advanced program includes field-based projects and/or research as a critical assessment. Without successfully passing these assignments, the candidates will not be awarded their credential and/or advanced degree. Assignments are developed, reviewed and evaluated by site-based mentors, university supervisors and faculty.
Candidates in all programs have field experiences and/or clinical practice that include working with diverse students. Learning about the community, school and student population and designing experiences to positively impact student learning is an integral component of early fieldwork, clinical practice, internships and advanced program assignments. Reflection on teaching and learning is completed collaboratively through discussion with other candidates, and other assignments in required university coursework. Throughout early fieldwork, clinical practice, internships and advanced programs, candidates reflect on their teaching practice and receive feedback from their peers and faculty about their reflections. The assignments vary from program to program, but in each case, candidates are required to reflect and demonstrate their understanding regarding key issues related to student learning; California content and professional standards; and candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions as articulated in the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework.