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3c. Candidates’ Development and Demonstration of Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions to Help All Students Learn

3c.1. On average, how many candidates are eligible for clinical practice each semester or year? What percent, on average, complete clinical practice successfully?

Standard 3C Exhibit 11. Completion rates for candidates in student teaching and internships by semester shows the number of candidates who were eligible for internship and the number of candidates who completed the internship successfully by program. College-wide, on average, 109 initial teacher candidates and 107 advanced candidates were eligible for clinical practice over the 3-year period from AY07 to AY09. The success rate was high: 93% of initial candidates and 95% of advanced candidates were successful.

3c.2. What are the roles of candidates, university supervisors, and school-based faculty in assessing candidate performance and reviewing the results during clinical practice?

Candidates, clinical faculty/University supervisors, and school-based faculty participate in candidate performance review and assessment. Their roles, responsibilities, and expectations are delineated in program handbooks. The handbooks provide guidelines, procedures, and timelines for evaluating interns, including any required evaluation instruments and assessment criteria.

Using state and professional standards as a basis, candidates in initial programs reflect on their internship experiences and self-evaluate their performance while mentor teachers, clinical faculty, and principals provide constructive feedback at various points throughout the experience. In addition to the 4 required assessments (Intern Continuous Assessment of Progress), school-based faculty provide weekly observations and feedback and clinical faculty provide biweekly observations and feedback. The clinical faculty member is responsible for assigning the final grade for the internship. At any time, the principal can make a recommendation about the intern’s progress including termination of the placement.

Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education candidates (initial and advanced) participate in monthly seminars with their University supervisors. Candidates reflect on their experiences as part of the seminars and internship assignments. University supervisors conduct 3 observations per 3-credit candidate internship enrollment. The University supervisor completes a written feedback form during each observation and shares this with the intern. The mentor teacher is invited to participate in the first session with the University supervisor and intern. Mentors then follow the same format during their weekly observations. The interns also receive formal midterm and final evaluations from the University supervisor responsible for assigning the final internship grade.

School-based faculty meet weekly with Counselor Education interns and sign off on their internship  activities. The interns complete a self-evaluation; the school-based faculty, using the same form, complete a final site evaluation. The University supervisor uses data from the intern self evaluations, the school-based faculty, and the supervisor’s own observations to inform the summative evaluation and portfolio review. 

Educational leadership candidates are evaluated on performance-based internship assignments that include candidate reflection, school-based faculty feedback, and the University supervisor evaluation. Candidates attend weekly seminars with the University supervisors.

3c.3. How is time for reflection and feedback from peers and clinical faculty incorporated into field experiences and clinical practice?

For early childhood and elementary initial programs, field experiences such as observation and practicum are embedded in classes. As the candidates participate in the various school-based opportunities, the course instructor provides class time for reflection and feedback. In addition, host teachers complete a feedback from for practicum candidates.

During the internship year, initial program interns are assigned reflective essays to write at key points. In addition, an internship seminar is held one or more times per month with a faculty member assigned to facilitate the large group sessions. On alternate weeks, interns may meet as a small group with their clinical faculty. A major purpose of the large group seminars and small group meetings is to allow reflective time. The final internship seminar activity is a capstone presentation. Candidates design reflective presentations about their internship year to include what they learned, artifacts that demonstrate their attainment of standards, and their future goals. The presentation is made to peers, faculty, and family or friends. In addition to the seminars, clinical faculty conduct formal and informal observations of the interns throughout the year. After each observation, the clinical faculty member guides the candidate’s reflection on the lesson and provides feedback. 

For advanced and other school professionals programs, candidates participate in a variety of reflective activities including blogs, discussion boards, reflective journals, and e-Live discussions. For example, Special Educationcandidates complete reflective journals and are encouraged to share these with their University supervisors and peers via the online class blog. Counseling candidates complete a final written reflection on their program work and internship. Candidates receive prompts to guide reflection on their philosophy and the program standards. They also reflect weekly on the class blog.

3c.4. What data from multiple assessments provide evidence that candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions for helping all students learn in field experiences and clinical practice?

Field and clinical experiences are intentionally designed to reflect unit, state, and professional standards. The unit’s transition point data provide the strongest evidence that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for helping all students learn. Specifically, the data from transition points 2-4 relate to clinical practice. Internship entrance and exit criteria, observation tools, evaluation instruments, assignments, and portfolios are all designed to ensure that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for helping all students learn.

Initial Early Childhood and Elementary Education candidates participate in field experiences as part of their foundations courses. These experiences are integral to the courses, and candidates reflect on their experiences with their instructors. In addition, the host teacher completes a candidate assessment that becomes part of the candidate’s file and internship application packet. Multiple assessments during internship for candidates in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education programs include formal and informal observations by the mentor teacher, clinical faculty, and principal; the Continuous Assessment of Progress completed at four checkpoints (midterm and final for each internship); and the candidate completion of a Work Sample Folio and Portfolio based on the 8 Alaska Beginning Teacher Standards. Standards 2, 3, 5, and 6 particularly reflect a commitment to help all students learn.

Similarly, candidates in Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education (initial and advanced), Counselor Education, and Educational Leadership have a number of assessments during their internship experiences that demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and dispositions for helping all students learn. These include formal and informal observations by the mentor and University supervisor, formal evaluations by the University supervisor, performance-based assessments, and portfolios reflective of unit, state, and professional standards. All CEC standards, ISLLC Standard 2, and Counselor Education Program Outcome 5 reflect a commitment to help all students learn.

3c.5. What process is used to ensure that candidates collect and analyze data on student learning, reflect on those data, and improve student learning during clinical practice?

Key assessments ensure that candidates collect and analyze data on student learning, reflect on those data, and improve student learning during clinical practice. Early childhood, elementary, and secondary initial candidates have the opportunity to review student data from the previous year with their mentor teachers, implement any placement testing that occurs at the beginning of the year, and develop intervention and support strategies to help each student learn throughout the school year. Interns are assigned a student work sample project that serves as a standards-based assessment during the internship year. The project includes a pre- and post-assessment of the student, the creation and implementation of a plan based on the student’s performance, and reflection on the results. In addition, clinical faculty and mentors observe multiple lessons taught by interns, and engage in discussions with the candidate about the impact of those lessons on student learning throughout the entire internship experience. 

All Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education (initial and advanced) interns complete a comprehensive intervention or positive behavior support project in cooperation with their mentor teachers. The intern selects a child and family with whom to work, and designs, implements, and evaluates strategies related to a current need. The project becomes part of the candidate’s portfolio.

Candidates enrolled in programs for other school professionals must also demonstrate data-informed decision making to improve student learning. Counselor Education interns engage in practical research, including counseling program evaluation, as documented in internship evaluations and portfolios. For example, at sites where group counseling is permitted, Counselor Education interns conduct a pre- and post-assessment of a group.

Principal interns collect and analyze data on student achievement on national testing, engage in data analysis related to NCLB requirements, and create a facilities and curriculum plan in which they consider the implications for curriculum and instruction based on type of rooms, availability of relevant resources, and creative approaches to teaching.

3c.6. How does the unit ensure that all candidates have field experiences or clinical practice that includes students with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups?

The unit’s commitment to diversity is expressed in the core value of inclusiveness and equity. Unit faculty participate in rural exchanges, study groups, and workshops to enhance their own knowledge of culturally responsive teaching. Individual program curricula provide many opportunities for candidates to practice and demonstrate knowledge of diverse children, families, and communities and to apply this knowledge in classrooms. The unit strives to place candidates in field experience settings with diverse student populations (Table 10); however, in some of Alaska’s rural districts, student diversity with regard to ethnicity and socioeconomic factors may be limited. All programs have state and national standards that address diversity and candidate proficiencies are assessed using internship evaluation instruments based on these standards.

In addition to placing candidates in diverse field experience settings, all programs require assignments that specifically address issues related to diversity. Several examples represent the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education programs. First, initial candidates use a lesson plan template that requires candidates to explain how they will differentiate instruction. The formal observation tool used by clinical faculty when observing a lesson helps to assess the intern’s ability to implement differentiation strategies. Second, interns complete a community/school/class study that requires them to a) identify the sociocultural context of their internship classroom, situating it within the community and school context, and b) reflect on the teaching and learning implications of this context. Third, initial candidates take courses on inclusive classrooms and do field experiences in the community or in schools involving students with special needs. Finally, initial candidates have the opportunity to participate in a two-week rural experience as part of their internship year.

An example for advanced programs is Counselor Education’s requirement for candidates to engage in and document internship activities that include counseling diverse populations, system support services, and responsive services. Another example is Educational Leadership’s placement of interns in Alaska’s 18 “poverty” districts as defined under Federal regulations.

Optional

1. What does your unit do particularly well related to Standard 3?

One strength of the unit is its close partnerships with districts and other entities. These partnerships facilitate quality field and clinical experiences for candidates. The affiliated Speech-Language Pathology program with East Carolina University, the Educational Leadership district cohort model for delivering the principal preparation programs, the Community Campus Partnership Guidelines for Elementary Education programs, and the close symbiotic relationship with the local school district for both initial and advanced programs are all prime examples of how effective partnerships can enhance the quality of professional preparation programs.

Another unit strength is its commitment to diversity. The initial teacher preparation internship program provides prime examples of this, including the school/community/class study project and the opportunity for candidates to participate in a two-week rural internship experience.

2. What research related to Standard 3 is being conducted by the unit or its faculty?

Dr. Tim Jester, a faculty member in the Department of Teaching and Learning, is conducting a study examining intercultural field experiences in rural Alaska as a strategy for preparing culturally responsive teachers. His study is collecting data on initial teacher preparation interns’ experiences while spending 2 weeks in Alaska Native village schools; the meaning they make of these experiences; their perceptions of culture, Alaska Natives, and the community in which they stayed; their views of schooling in rural Alaska; and the connections they make between their visit and their work as educators in Alaska. Department faculty will use findings to enhance their focus on preparing culturally responsive teachers.