College of Education Institutional Report

Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

The unit and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school professionals develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn.

3.1 Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

How does the unit work with the school partners to deliver field experiences and clinical practice to enable candidates to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn?

3a. Collaboration Between Unit and School Partners

The unit and public school partners are active participants in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the field experiences and clinical practices. North Carolina A&T Teacher Education Program has a collaborative relationship with five surrounding school systems (3.4.a.1). These five systems have a total of 395 schools in which teachers, principals, counselors, and other school personnel serve as site supervisors for early field experiences and clinical practice for initial and advanced licensure candidates. Field and clinical experiences ensure that all initial and advance candidates are transformed into professional educators who are catalysts for learning and leading as prescribed by the unit conceptual framework (I.5.c). These field and clinical experiences are diverse and include exceptional children and students from various ethnic/racial, gender, linguistic and socio-economic groups. (3.4.b.1). Public school partners serve on our Teacher Education Council (TEC), Field Based and Clinical Experience Committee, Hampton Partnership Advisory Board, and the School of Education (SOE) National Advisory Council (I.5.a.5). Public school partners participate in SOE program reviews; attend the annual teacher education data institute (2.4.d.2, 3.4.a.4); and participate in professional development activities for the supervision of teacher interns/student teachers and other school personnel (3.4.d.1).

The unit's Field Experiences/ Clinical Practice Director and a partner school principal co-chair the TEC Field Based/Clinical Experience Committee. The committee also includes undergraduate/graduate faculty, school partners and a candidate. This group provides direction and guidance to the TEC on matters regarding planning, implementation, and evaluation of early field-based and clinical experiences (3.4.a.3). Cooperating teachers are surveyed annually regarding their perceptions of the program field based clinical experience, and candidate preparedness to address learning outcomes. This information is shared with the unit, TEC, Field Based and Clinical Experience Committee and university supervisors. Anecdotal data is shared from school partners during observation visits and during the Student Teachers/Interns' Reception/Banquet each semester. During this banquet, student teachers/interns are recognized for outstanding performance and cooperating teachers are acknowledged. These activities provide an opportunity for unit faculty/administrators, cooperating teachers and building administrators, to engage in extensive dialogue regarding the preparedness of our candidates. The program goal is to motivate student teachers and other candidates to perform at the highest level.

The Director of Field Experiences/Clinical Practice and a field placement coordinator provide overall coordination and leadership for field-based and clinical practice experiences. This includes the following: receiving, approving, and arranging placement of candidates; implementing approved teacher education policies governing field and clinical experiences; maintaining current handbooks, and receiving and processing travel reimbursement for university supervisors. The director is the liaison between the unit and P-12 school systems, manages partnership agreements and works closely with the field placement coordinator to ensure collaboration with program coordinators and school partners in identifying, requesting and confirming placements in diverse settings with diverse populations.

An orientation/training meeting is held each semester with cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and student teachers for the purpose of ensuring: (1) candidate development, acquisition of knowledge, skills, and dispositions relative to the unit's conceptual framework, (2) cooperating teachers are familiarized with unit policies, practices, and processes that support the clinical process, (3) candidates acquire appropriate knowledge base and skill set to teach all children and (4) orientation and training to cooperating teachers relative to the assessment process and instrument. Over the last three semesters, in consultation with school principals, the university provided an electronic orientation in conjunction with an on-site visit by the university supervisor (3.4.d.11).

Advanced program coordinators have established cooperative relationships with P-12 school partners to ensure clinical experiences include exceptional children and students of diverse racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender and socio-economic groups. (3.4.b.1). Advanced Elementary Education and Reading M.A.Ed., and Instructional Technology M.S. candidates are typically in-service teachers and their clinical experiences are completed largely within the context of their own school and/or division. Additionally, the Master in School Administration (MSA) coordinator works directly with school district central office administrators to recruit and select highly effective school executives to serve as site supervisors.

The unit ensures that all site supervisors and cooperating teachers are qualified to provide professional guidance and instruction that are consistent with the unit's conceptual framework, institutional, state, and national standards. Criteria for site supervisors and cooperating teachers are well-established, written, and available in the Student Teaching/Internship handbooks (3.4.e.1, 3.4.e.2). Cooperating teachers are licensed professional educators with a minimum of three years teaching experience and hold career status with the district in the specialty area of the assigned student teacher/intern. Cooperating teachers have demonstrated best practices and experiences to support and guide the candidate as approved by the building principal and the school district. In the advanced programs, principal site supervisors must be an experienced principal, hold a master's degree, hold licensure and be approved by the area superintendent (3.4.e.3).

University supervisors for student teachers and MAT interns hold a current teaching license and experience in P-12 schools. The university supervisor is assigned by the department chairperson in collaboration with the program area coordinator. In the advanced programs, the university supervisor holds the appropriate specialized degree and/or license in the area and is approved by the department chairperson. The unit prepares and supports the university supervisors, cooperating teachers, student teachers and interns through orientation sessions, Taskstream accounts and technical support, evaluation documents with rubrics, handbooks, suggested phase in schedules, video presentations and reminders, and professional development activities. (3.4.d.1 – 8).

Initial license teacher education candidates complete a minimum of four field experiences in a minimum of two different school settings. They also complete a minimum of 150 hours prior to student teaching/internship semester (3.4.e.1). The field experiences are sequentially and developmentally planned in collaboration with unit faculty and school partners to provide candidates an opportunity to assist, mentor, tutor, design/implement/evaluate instruction, conduct research, and fully engage in the learning environment. Field experiences are connected to the professional core and specialty area courses and are categorized by PLCs (Professional Learning Community) I, II, III, and IV. (3.4.e.1). PLCs I and II-field experiences are connected to the freshman and sophomore professional education courses and are considered to be at the Emerging-Developing Phase. PLC III and IV represent the junior and senior level professional and specialty area courses. At this time, the student becomes a candidate moving to the Proficient– Accomplished Phase. Candidates are assessed using the Interns Performance Evaluation in Taskstream at the end of the semester by the cooperating teacher and the university supervisor (3.4.f.1-2).

The initial licensure candidate completes a year-long clinical experience during the senior year. First-semester candidates participate in a 60-hour methods course field experience and the second semester candidates complete a 15-week clinical practice. In both initial and advanced programs each candidate is assigned an approved cooperating teacher during the initial semester and generally returns the next semester for clinical practice. Student teachers/MAT interns are assessed three times during the semester using the Student Teacher/Intern Performance Evaluation in Taskstream. There are two undergraduate clinical practice courses (ELED 559 & CUIN 660) and four graduate clinical practice courses (HPED 615, ELED 618, SPED 670 & BUED 699) (3.4.e.1).

Other advanced programs have well-developed clinical experiences. MSA candidates complete a 300-hour internship experience that addresses the North Carolina Standards for School Executives (3.4.e.4). Instructional Technology interns complete a 100- hour internship experience in a school setting with an experienced media coordinator (3.4.e.5). Elementary education M.A.Ed. candidates complete field-based activities in two courses where they are observed by the program coordinator (3.3.e.6). Reading Specialist candidates engage in clinical experiences to complete activities to meet specialty program standards (3.3.e.7). These field placements allow advanced candidates to engage in a variety of education-related activities in diverse classroom settings under the supervision of the program coordinator.

3.2.a Standard on which the unit is moving to the target level

  • Describe areas of the standard at which the unit is currently performing at the target level for each element of the standard.
  • Summarize activities and their impact on candidate performance and program quality that have led to target level performance.
  • Discuss plans and timelines for attaining and/or sustaining target level performance as articulated in this standard.

3a. Collaboration Between Unit and School Partners

Historically, the unit has maintained a collaborative relationship with local school partners through formalized agreements that allow for field and clinical experiences in teaching, counseling, school executives and other school personnel. The university/school agreements are comprehensive, permitting candidates and faculty to engage in professional development activities, research, shared resources and assessing clinical experiences and shared-learning outcomes. The unit has established a structured relationship that allows for meaningful collaboration between the unit and its' school partners. School partners are viable and active members on the Teacher Education Council (TEC), the governing structure of the unit. Through the TEC Field-Based and Clinical Experience Committee that is composed of school principals, curriculum facilitators, and university teacher education faculty, the committee engages in dialogue that provides direction and guidance to TEC regarding the design, implementation and evaluation of field-based and clinical experiences. The unit engages in various activities with school partners that includes: Taskstream training to assess candidate performance and review performance assessment instruments; attending data institute to review and provide recommendation on candidate performance, common core professional development; presenting at professional meetings; creating a model classroom on campus to enhance candidates to learning, and collaborating on projects/programs that support the unit being at target. This element of the standard will be sustained by renewing MOUs and continuing the dialogue on how to enhance candidate and P-12 student performance. Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, the Annual Data Institute and TEC meetings will include an agenda item on "Strengthening Public School Partnership". This will enhance school partnerships and allow the university to become more reciprocal in the relationship. In addition, by fall 2015, the university faculty will add two representatives to local school leadership teams and will develop one co- teaching model experience at Hampton Elementary University Partnership.

Placement of student teachers and interns is a joint decision between the university and school partners. Meetings are held with program coordinators each semester to determine placement request to school partners. Building principals or their designees review requests, make recommendations based on criteria, and approve cooperating teacher placements. Principal and counselor intern placements follow a similar process. Program coordinators and central office personnel review requests, make recommendations, and approve placement assignments based on the ability of the mentor to model best practices and supervise pre-service teachers and other school personnel. Beginning spring 2015 the process will be enhanced and sustained by scheduling an annual meeting regarding district and unit needs, and personnel and program changes that impact clinical placement.

3b. Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

Field-based and clinical experiences are an integral part of the Teacher Education Program.

These experiences contribute significantly to each candidate's developmental growth from novice to professional.  School and university collaboration provides opportunities for reciprocal interaction by satisfying mutual educational objectives of candidates and institutions involved in the preparation of professional educators. Through sequentially planned and implemented field- based and clinical experiences, candidates are able to move from observing/assisting to diagnosing/implementing and impacting student learning outcomes.  Field experiences are sequenced and connected to the professional education core and specialty area courses to integrate and bridge the gap between theory and practice. Candidates are placed in various sites to provide a variety of settings and interactions with various P-12 students.  These different placement sites allow the candidate to reflect on their content, professional, and pedagogical knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions. The various settings allow candidates to develop their educational philosophy and teaching style through interaction with professional educators in different school settings, serving diverse student populations and their families. In addition, candidates often interact with candidates from other universities while completing field and clinical experiences. All initial candidates complete electronic evidence five (EE5) Differentiated Instruction in an effort to reflect on content, professional and pedagogical knowledge, and professional dispositions in a variety of settings. The unit will sustain and enhance candidates' knowledge through a review of faculty data and performance in the area of field and clinical experiences beginning spring 2015. This is currently a part of the chair's evaluation of faculty. However, to ensure that we continue to meet this element at the target level, the unit believes this should be a systematic agenda item.

Both field experiences and clinical practice extend the Unit's conceptual framework into practice through modeling by clinical faculty and well-designed opportunities to learn through doing that are assessed. Clinical faculty assist the candidates in developing good classroom management skills, developing good lesson plans, analyzing student learning and modifying instruction, being reflective in their practice, and integrating technology in their instruction and management of the learning environment while gradually assuming the teacher's role. All clinical faculty hold a current teaching license in the area of supervision and some hold national board teaching certification including two unit faculty.

To ensure our candidates professional preparation, unit faculty must remain current in modeling best practices by engaging in professional development activities. Therefore, the Unit will continue to provide resources to support Unit travel and other professional development activities. In addition the Unit will pursue revising university reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) policies to include activities and roles of clinical faculty beginning spring 2015. The Unit's conceptual framework's major components: Diversity, Assessment, Reflections, and Technology (DART) are present in the field and clinical experiences performance evaluation instruments. Therefore, candidates are assessed developmentally throughout their program of study.

During clinical practice, candidates' learning is integrated into the P-12 school program and teaching practices. They interact with school personnel (teachers, administrators, support personnel), families of students, university supervisors, and other interns. The clinical practice experience allows candidates to engage in various activities within the school community, though not limited to one classroom. Candidates work in school-based teams and professional learning communities for designing instruction, engaging in extracurricular activities, working with school faculty and participating in professional development meetings and parent meetings. These experiences allow candidates to interact within the full range of the learning environment and its extension outside the walls of the school building. All candidates demonstrate their understanding of school programs through evidences produced during their program of study. The initial candidate's evidence is documented in electronic evidence EE6: Leadership and Collaboration. The specific evidence varies by program area, which may include components that address grant proposals, advocacy in leadership, professional development projects, school area needs/improvement plan, community service project, and lecture recital program. For example, candidates in the MSA program review plans for school improvement and provide recommendations. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the TEC sub-committee on Curriculum and Evidences will continue to review unit curriculum proposals to ensure evidences are aligned with courses that include a required field-based component and with state and national standards.

Advanced candidates review secondary research and progress to developing their own applied research. For example, candidates in the MSA program produce a portfolio that includes a research component. To meet target criteria for this element, the unit has charged the TEC Subcommittee on Advanced Programs to: (1) review the development of candidate research on educational theory and its application to teaching and (2) prepare and submit recommendations to the TEC during the 2014-2015 academic year.

3c. Candidates' Development and Demonstration of Knowledge, Skills, and Professional

Dispositions To Help All Students Learn

Candidates have multiple systematic opportunities to critique and reflect on each other's practice through unit-sponsored programs and activities that include: seminars, course activities, emergent leader's series, annual beginning teachers panel discussions, exchange programs, and candidate professional organization meetings and activities. All field and clinical experiences are connected to professional core and specialty courses in which candidates engage in ongoing dialogue, feedback and evaluation of practice with clinical faculty during the semester. In addition, candidates engage in a required field experience orientation at the university and at the school site.  These efforts are coordinated by school and university clinical faculty and principals. To continue to meet target level for these elements of the standard, the unit will:

  • continue these initiatives and starting spring 2015,
  • charge the TEC sub-committee on field and clinical practice to review, and evaluate pertinent activities, and
  • make recommendations to the full TEC on strategies to strengthen these activities moving forward.

Candidates develop and demonstrate proficiencies that support learning with all students through Intern Performance Evaluations and Student Teacher/Intern Performance Evaluation instruments. Two specific items from these instruments are "2b. Teachers embrace diversity in the school community and in the world"; and "2d. Teachers adapt their teaching for the benefit of students with special needs" document candidates' performance in working with all students. The outcome of the evaluation process for field and clinical experiences is documented in Taskstream. This allows for a more systematic monitoring and tracking of candidates' placements to ensure that all candidates have diverse placements and successfully worked with diverse populations. The Field Placement Coordinator reviews the candidates' previous field placement history in Taskstream prior to confirming the next placement. All candidates must achieve a minimum "proficient".  Candidates have at least two school placement sites throughout their teacher education program that reflect ethnic, linguistic, socio-economic and exceptionality diversity.

Taskstream is consistently used across all initial programs as the monitoring tool; beginning 2015

Taskstream will be used by all advanced programs as well. Taskstream allows the chairperson and program coordinators to have access to candidates' performance at any time and provides data summaries for continuous program review based on standards and elements assessed.

An element by element description of the ways the unit is at target or moving to target level is presented in Exhibit 3.2a. This exhibit provides a chart that addresses each element and a summary of activities and their impact on candidate performance and program quality. In addition, the chart provides a plan and timeline for attaining and/or sustaining target level performance as articulated in this standard. (3.2a).

Back to Top