Millikin University - Decatur, IL
c. Candidate Proficiencies

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

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

Semester Number of Applications Numbers Accepted and Began Numbers Accepted and Completed
Fall 2009      
Traditional 16 15 15
PACE - Decatur 29 25 24
PACE Springfield 1 1 1
PACE Parkland 8 8 8
Semester Totals 54 49 48
Spring 2009      
Traditional 75 66 63
PACE - Decatur 21 19 18
PACE Springfield 0 0 0
PACE Parkland 27 26 26
Semester Totals 123 111 107
Fall 2008      
Traditional 19 14 11
PACE - Decatur 7 4 4
PACE Springfield 0 0 0
PACE Parkland 2 2 2
Semester Totals 28 20 17
Spring 2008      
Traditional 48 39 39
PACE - Decatur 32 26 26
PACE Springfield 0 0 0
PACE Parkland 9 9 9
Semester Totals 89 74 74

The following background information must be noted when viewing the ‘Student Teaching Application to Admit’ chart. The spring semesters always have more student teachers than the fall semester. Students in the traditional 4-year format usually complete student teaching in their final and 8th semester, or spring of their senior year. The PACE (Professional Adult Comprehensive Education) programs begin cohorts once a year at the remote sites (Lincoln Land and Parkland) and every six months at the Decatur site. We only offer the Early Childhood initial certification program at the Lincoln Land site and numbers tend to be lower. The Parkland site offers both Elementary and Early Childhood initial certification programs.

Teacher Candidates apply to student teach one year before his/her desired start date. Therefore, sometimes there is slight attrition and people may decide to defer for a semester or two. Teacher Candidates are not allowed to begin student teaching unless they have passed their state content exam. They also must maintain a 2.7 overall gpa, as well as the minimum gpa in their content major. These benchmarks sometimes prevent a candidate from beginning his/her student teaching.

2. What is the role of candidates, university supervisors [clinical faculty], and school-based faculty [school faculty] in assessing candidate performance, and reviewing the results during clinical practice?

Teacher candidates are evaluated during the clinical practice by clinical faculty and school faculty, using formative and summative tools. The midterm and final evaluation form is aligned to the unit’s conceptual framework, Millikin Teaching Standards, and Illinois Professional Teaching standards.  During each official visit by the clinical faculty, an evaluation session is conducted in which the candidate’s strengths are recognized and discussed, as well as weaknesses that need attention and further development.  In most instances, the school faculty is involved in a three-way evaluation session with the candidate and clinical faculty.

During the student teaching semester, the clinical faculty observes the teacher candidate’s knowledge, skills, and dispositions for a minimum of five times with a pre and post conference. The mentor teacher observes the teacher candidate on a daily basis and provides continual conferencing and mentoring sessions.  Formal midterm and final evaluation conferences provide the clinical faculty, mentor teacher, and teacher candidate an opportunity to discuss progress and the proficient demonstration of prescribed knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions as aligned with the unit’s conceptual framework, state standards, and professional standards.

It is the teacher candidate’s responsibility to maintain a written journal throughout the clinical practice for self-evaluation and reflection purposes. The teacher candidate reviews the day’s lessons in this journal, reflects on professional dispositions and their competency in demonstrating the conceptual framework’s four indicators of excellence. The teacher candidate discusses journal topics as well as the week’s lessons at least once a week, if not more with the school faculty.

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

Teacher candidates have multiple opportunities to reflect on field experiences and to receive feedback from university faculty during their early coursework. Teacher candidates in early field experiences discuss their block internships in the courses that they are enrolled in simultaneously. Reflective discussions give teacher candidates a point of reference for what various people are experiencing and how their experience may differ. These discussions also provide faculty valuable feedback regarding the success or challenges in the block field internships.

Teacher candidates complete a formal reflection during the Senior Seminar class and a midterm and final self-evaluation both completed during their student teaching semester. A feedback process which includes a written observational record as well as a conference, documents the support of clinical faculty in clinical sites. During the student teaching semester, teacher candidates are required to keep a journal documenting each day’s work in their classroom. This journal provides a forum for reflection that is shared with their school faculty and clinical faculty. The upkeep of a daily journal assists the teacher candidate in processing the daily events of teaching. Journals are also used as discussion starters with their peers during the course ED 488 Senior Seminar. Teacher candidates benefit from hearing each others’ issues and challenges.

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

Each teacher candidate in their student teaching placement is required to build a lesson plan book which compiles all lessons written and taught during the student teaching semester. The lessons are approved by the school faculty during the week prior to the date they will be taught. The lesson plan book is also reviewed by the clinical faculty during each observation visit and conference. This lesson plan book, as well as the daily reflective journal and the daily feedback given by the school faculty, provide data for the clinical faculty to ensure that candidates are demonstrating the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions for helping all students learn. Along with the lesson plan book, teacher candidates are also evaluated on their participation in school events, parent-teacher conferences, and ability to complete other tasks beyond the teaching of lessons and their professional collaborative skills with other teachers and administrators.

Teacher candidates design and implement a classroom management plan. This plan shows how the learning environment is inclusive of all types of learners. Teacher candidates practice managing lessons, learning stations, small groups, and other resource personnel or community volunteers within the classroom. The effectiveness of their classroom management is evidenced in observation notes from school faculty and clinical faculty.

Other data that provides evidence that candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions are the standardized state exams. The assessment of professional teaching (APT) is a final state examination that all teacher candidates must pass before being certified. This test measures professional knowledge, skills and dispositions through multiple choice questions pertaining to classroom situations. Our pass rate for this test is 100%.

5. What is the process for candidates to collect and analyze data on student learning and reflect on those data and improve learning during clinical practice?

For the past 5 years, in Early Childhood, Elementary Education, all K-12 programs, and all Secondary programs, candidates complete a minimum 20 hour internship with the same mentor teacher with whom they will be placed for clinical practice. The 20 hour internship prior to the semester of student teaching gives the teacher candidate opportunity to work with the school faculty and the students over a 9 month period, instead of just four months.  During this time, the teacher candidate completes the Teacher Work Sample (CA10) an action research project specifically designed to show how they are affecting student learning in their assigned student teaching classroom. For CA 10, data in the form of test scores and other student work is collected the semester before student teaching as well as during student teaching. A unit of instruction is designed, pre-tested, taught, and post-tested. The student learning results are analyzed and a discussion of the results includes reflection on how the teacher candidate may want to change instructional strategies in the future. The Teacher Work Sample is usually completed toward the middle of the student teaching semester and the entire project is presented in the ED 488 Senior Seminar class.

During clinical practice (student teaching), the teacher candidate is also measuring student learning on a daily basis. Daily formative assessments occur in all subject areas in collaboration with the school faculty. Teacher candidates have many opportunities to collect and analyze data on student learning through the lesson plans that they are teaching every day. Teacher candidates and their school faculty meet regularly to discuss the progress made by students. They also analyze student learning to decide how teaching strategies may need to change for some students.

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

Each teacher candidate is required to complete one internship in a diverse setting prior to student teaching. The Field Placement Coordinator maintains a database documenting all placements of all candidates. She records the location of each candidate’s placement in a diverse setting. The Illinois State Board of Education’s School Report Card, maintained on their website, is the documentation we use to assure that the placement site is indeed diverse. Federal guidelines stipulate that 40% ‘free and reduced lunch’ qualifies a school for diversity. We recognize that these guidelines may be socioeconomic and/or ethnic/racial.

The final field experience where our candidates work with diverse students and students with special needs is the clinical practice experience (student teaching). This is a full-time 14 week experience where the candidate gradually takes over all the roles and responsibilities of his/her school faculty. Our Field Placement Coordinator places teacher candidates in districts where students with special needs are included in the regular classroom to ensure that our teacher candidates will have experience making appropriate accommodations to help all students learn.

The students in our clinical sites represent the diversity of our demographic service area, including ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical, cognitive, and behavioral exceptionalities. Our area is increasingly becoming linguistically diverse as well. As articulated, the School of Education is proactively preparing candidates for this rich, diverse context through content, experiences and assessments.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL