NCATE-Standard 3

Standard 3 – Field and Clinical Experiences

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 Significant Changes

3.1 What are the significant changes in how the unit works 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?

The ECU EPP continues to meet Standard 3 expectations.

Collaboration between the Unit and School Partners

Collaboration between the ECU EPP and its public school partners revolves around the ongoing, purposeful commitment to preparing skilled and knowledgeable teacher candidates through high quality field experiences and clinical practice. Through the LCSN, and with signed agreements, the EPP involves public school partners in the design and implementation of programmatic elements central to the unit’s conceptual framework. The Office of Teacher Education serves as the direct liaison to public school partners. Eight monthly meetings are held each year with participants being a liaison from each of the 38 partner districts, EPP faculty, and staff from OTE, the Office of Clinical Experiences (OCE), the Office of Assessment and Accreditation (OAA), and ECU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Collaboration with the LCSN allows the EPP to strategically and proactively address concerns.  One common issue was how to address the need for criminal background checks for field experiences (practicum) and clinical practice (internship). Through focused dialogue, networking, and strong leadership, the LCSN agreed to a process the OTE could implement within its current structure and resources.

The EPP and school partners work through a clear, collaborative process for the placement of field experience (practicum) and clinical practice (internship). Together, they identify the best placement for each intern based on jointly determined criteria. Feedback on the internship placement is collected, in a 360°, from clinical teachers, university supervisors, and interns. This feedback is monitored by OCE and partner districts to ensure placements are optimal.

The in-depth collaboration between ECU EPP and LCSN partners leads to synergistic gains for the partners. For the COE, partnerships from the LCSN supported the TQP grant focused on the clinical practice component. Instructional Coaching, an original TQP clinical practice reform, is also a Pirate CODE innovation. For LCSN, professional development is provided annually for all clinical teachers who mentor an intern during clinical practice through the fall and spring Clinical Teacher Conference. These events unite EPP faculty and clinical partners in support of candidates.

Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

The EPP faculty are responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of field and clinical experiences. All candidates must meet admission requirements, otherwise program progression is halted. Relevant field experiences in diverse schools are designed to be developmental in nature, moving the candidate along a continuum of experiences ensuring readiness for the intensity of clinical practice by extending their ability to analyze data, use technology, and relate to students, families, and communities. Clinical faculty provide regular support for clinical placements via informal feedback and conferencing. Formal observations, completed at designated intervals by university supervisors with direct input from school faculty, ensure collaboration with public school partners on final evaluations. Candidates are also encourages to reflect on the feedback given to them, to act on the recommendations for improved practice, and to take responsibility for their learning.

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

Candidates must meet admissions criteria to begin clinical practice, including successful early field experiences and designated coursework. Multiple measures of assessment ensure candidates meet all required standards. Student achievement data is used by clinical faculty with candidates to improve both teaching and learning. Placements via the LCSN ensure candidates gain experiences with diverse students in diverse schools, including ethnic and/or racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. Key assessments required during clinical practice are highlighted in exhibit 3.4.g. All candidates must be proficient on all NC Professional Teaching Standards and are expected to uphold the Code of Ethics for NC Educators and the ECU COE Technical Standards as noted in the Teacher Education Handbook.

Significant Changes

Significant changes in how the EPP works with the schools are evident in Pirate CODE innovations. Since the innovations are the means toward the Pirate CODE goal to develop faculty capacity for R&D in the Research on Practice model of teacher education, the significant changes brought on by the innovations are noted below. More details are provided in Section 3.3.

Introductory Clinical Observation for Novice Observers/Video Grand Rounds (VGR) is designed to provide early field candidates with strong classroom models to observe prior to entering actual field experiences. Through the use of designated videos and structured protocols, candidates learn to purposefully observe and debrief the teaching, learning, management, and environment in the video. Candidates then enter actual field placements after learning how to observe and interpret the observations. As part of the course assessment, candidates complete an exit video observation protocol.

Clinical Internship Observation Model Support with Instructional Coaches (IC’s) was designed to provide focused feedback to interns during both semesters of the senior year experience. During the first semester, interns are observed and coached for skill improvement. Throughout the second semester, ICs collaborated with university supervisors to prepare interns to positively impact student achievement in the classroom. ICs functioned as part of the educational team with candidates, clinical teachers, and university supervisors to enhance learning for candidates during their year-long internship experience. Coaches served in non-evaluative roles, building candidate trust and providing resources for intern growth. The goal of IC’s is to have all interns focus on continued growth, regardless of their level of proficiency at the beginning of clinical practice.

Clinical Internship Experience Co-teaching Model is being used as a model for clinical practice (internship) in eight programs across nine school districts. Two models, 2:1 and 1:1 Interns to Clinical Teachers, are being implemented. Public school and university personnel trained together in the model for the start-up year. Seven co-teaching strategies serve as the foundation for instruction during internship. This model is designed to increase planning and teaching time for interns, enhance coaching of interns by clinical teachers, and improve student achievement in the classroom. Interns in co-teaching settings still perform ten days of full-time, solo-teaching during their internship.

Clinical Internship Model for Coordinating Clinical Support and Professional Development (CODE PD) is centered on changing and improving the EPP’s model of university supervision, clinical teacher training, and communication. Having each person responsible for intern growth throughout the two semester internship and knowing one another’s roles and responsibilities are keys to successful intern support. Continued attention to this innovation may lead to new models for intern coaching, evaluation, and support.

3.2 AFI

3.2 Summarize activities and assessments that demonstrate correction of any areas for improvement from the previous visit, if applicable.

In the 2006 NCATE Accreditation visit, Standard 3 and its indicators were met.

3.3 Transformation Initiative

3.3 Transformation Initiative
  • Summarize activities and changes based on data on candidate performance and program quality that are related to the TI, if TI is related to this standard.
  • Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing progress on the TI in this area, if TI is related to this standard

The Pirate CODE innovations and goals are rooted in the Department of Elementary and Middle Grades Education (ELMID) with strategic plans for sustainability, refinement, and expansion of the innovations beyond ELMID. Highlighted below is the Pirate CODE innovation activities related to NCATE Standard 3 and how each innovation contributes to Pirate CODE goals.

Introductory Clinical Observation for Novice Observers/Video Grand Rounds (VGR)
  1. Prior to the introduction of Video Grand Rounds, candidates enrolled in the early experience course completed 16 hours of classroom observation. Due to the large number of participants in the course, observations were conducted in a variety of schools with a variety of classroom teachers. Despite efforts to provide meaningful observations, clinical teachers could rarely predict what would be occurring in their classroom weeks ahead of time; as a result, candidates sometimes found themselves observing a class of students taking a test or reading silently for a block of time. Observations reports varied widely and lacked focus on teaching strategies. To bring some consistency to the early experience observations, the Video Grand Rounds model was developed and examined as an alternative to previous practices. Faculty sought to not only enhance what the candidates saw, but also encouraged them to develop the observation and reflection skills that they needed in order to become effective beginning teachers. In lieu of some of the classroom observations, VGR participants watched specially-selected video snippets of classroom instruction. Additionally, they were taught to use a protocol to focus their observations and reflections. After using the observation protocol with video snippets, participants entered the field and used the protocol during a real-time classroom observation.
  2. As related to Standard 3, plans for Year 4 and 5 of VGR will focus on refinements to the current model, including expansion of the innovation to other ITP’s and continued communication with public school partners about the earlier field experience practicum.
  3. To sustain the VGR innovation, lead faculty plan to bring the project before the Council for Teacher Education (CTE) for formal review and adoption. Success here will institutionalize the innovation in ITP coursework and associated practicum (field experience) (see also Section 1.3). To enhance the VGR implementation, lead faculty plan to engage with the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant’s Research Institute resources to develop Fidelity of Implementation (FOIL) guidelines for current and future VGR implementations.
  4. VGR’s progress on the Pirate CODE Implementation Timeline reflects the strategic implementation and thoughtful expansion of the VGR model beyond elementary education. At present, five additional ITP’s outside of ELMID plan to implement VGR in Year 4 and 5  of the Pirate CODE.
Clinical Internship Observation Model Support with Instructional Coaching
  1. Researchers have found that in order for clinical experiences to be successful, they need to be carefully linked with coursework and closely supervised (Darling-Hammond, Hammerness, Grossman, Rust, and Shulman, 2005, Zeichner and Conklin, 2005, Zeichner, 2010).According to an emerging body of research, instructional coaching has tremendous potential for producing effective teachers by improving teaching practices and, ultimately, student achievement. In the instructional coaching model in the COE’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant, instructional coaches (ICs) support teacher candidates throughout the year-long internship. Using a highly selective application process, TQP partner districts hired ICs to provide professional development in support of ISLES (see Section 1.3) and general candidate support. During the Senior I semester, ICs observed candidates three times for 30-40 minute episodes using the Teachscape CWT Standard Look FORS instrument determined in conjunction with the local public school partner. ICs used the Teachscape form as a checklist to observe candidates in five areas: 1) curriculum, 2) instruction, 3) the learner, 4) classroom environment, and 5) the needs of all learners. ICs observed the candidates to determine if there was evidence of appropriate instruction in all five areas, as well as to document teacher candidates’ use of specific ISLES instructional practices in each of the teacher candidates’ teaching episodes. The IC observed the teacher candidate during the three teaching lessons and gave feedback, not as an evaluator, but as an additional resource for improving lesson planning and implementation in the authentic school setting. During the Senior II semester, ICs continued to observe candidates and offered suggestions while coordinating professional development specifically designed to meet the needs of the candidates.
  2. As related to Standard 3, plans for Year 4 and 5 of Instructional Coaching will focus on the implementation of instructional coaching within the existing personnel parameters. Teacher preparation faculty are seeking ways to infuse the essence of instructional coaching without the expense of additional personnel. Lead faculty are currently analyzing data to determine the impact of instructional coaching on intern development.
  3. Funding used to pay the salaries of the ICs ended in May 2014. Without additional funding, the IC model as practiced is not sustainable. In order to benefit from instructional coaching, the roles and responsibilities of the university supervisor and clinical teacher will need to be re-envisioned so that interns can continue to receive the feedback and support that the model offers.
  4. As noted in the Implementation Timeline, instructional coaching was available to Elementary, Middle Grades, and Special Education interns in the TQP partner school districts from AY 2011-12 – AY 2013-14. Instructional coaching was added to secondary programs (English Education and History Education) in AY 2013-14.
Clinical Internship Model for Coordinating Clinical Support and Professional Development (CODE PD)
  1. Teacher education at ECU is complex in regard to pathways, programs, and geography. Accomplishing the vision of supporting every intern to the fullest extent possible will require concerted efforts on the part of faculty, clinical teachers, and university supervisors with focus on intern development. To meet this goal, lead faculty in CODE PD are focusing on the following activities: 1) developing on-line training options for distant CT’s and University Supervisors; 2) facilitating deeper, richer, and a more nuanced understanding of the work of each member of the intern support team and ongoing robust conversations between those members; and 3) engaging in the continuous collection and analysis of salient, current data to inform teacher education decisions.
  2. As related to Standard 3, plans for Year 4 and 5 of the Pirate CODE PD will focus on the creation and implementation of on-line training for clinical teachers and university supervisors. Lead faculty and the Office of Clinical Experiences (OCE) will continue to work with instructional technology specialists to create on-line training modules for clinical teachers and university supervisors.
  3. Once the on-line modules are completed, they will be overseen by OCE. The OAA will continue to provide technical support for users. The implementation of the on-line modules is expected to result in cost savings for the unit.
  4. CODE PD’s progress on the Pirate CODE Implementation Timeline indicates that CODE PD is still in the needs assessment stage of development. Lead faculty completed the analysis of data from program completers (exit survey) and clinical teachers (feedback on training) which enabled them to identify affordances and limitations of offering training on-line. Further development of the modules was postponed until AY 2014-15.
Clinical Internship Experience Co-Teaching Model
  1. The Co-teaching initiative is patterned after Marilyn Friend’s research which includes 7 strategies for Co-teaching (Cook & Friend, 1995). The “Co” in Co-teaching stands for “collaborative,” which means that clinical intern and master clinical teacher are co-planning, co-teaching, co-assessing, and co-reflecting on practice. After completing Co-teaching training, clinical teachers and interns collaborate to plan lessons; to deliver instruction; to assess students’ progress; and to collaborate in designing the organization of the physical space of the classroom. The COE is experimenting with different Co-teaching models as alternatives to traditional student teaching: a two-to-one (2:1) model which involves two clinical interns and one master clinical teacher, a one-to-one (1:1) model involving one clinical intern and one master clinical teacher, and a two-to-two (2:2) model where two clinical interns and two master clinical teachers work together. Co-teaching should significantly reduce the number of internship placements; thereby enabling the Office of Teacher Education to be more selective in choosing clinical teachers.
  2. As related to Standard 3, plans for Year 4 and 5 of the Pirate CODE will focus on strategic expansion to new ITP’s, refinement of Co-teaching training, and data analysis of the three models to establish an ECU model for Co-teaching.
  3. To sustain Co-teaching beyond the Pirate CODE, the lead faculty are working to make Co-teaching a key part of clinical practice and placement procedures supported by the Office of Clinical Experiences. To do this, lead faculty will follow efforts in VGR and edTPA Administration for formal adoption of the innovation by CTE. Additionally, Co-teaching training requirements for clinical teachers, university supervisors, and interns require significant coordinated effort. To support this work, lead faculty are moving training components into online modules now in development.
  4. The Co-teaching innovation’s progress on the Pirate CODE Implementation Timeline reflects strategic expansion to new ITP’s beyond ELMID. In additional to being training intensive, high levels of fidelity of implementation are required for a successful Co-teaching model. The Co-teaching lead faculty will benefit from Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) efforts in other innovations.
edTPA Administration
  1. As noted in Section 1.3, the edTPA has made significant changes in the internship experience for all candidates. edTPA’s alignment with the Standard 3 element, Candidates’ Development and Demonstration of Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions to Help All Students Learn, is evident in the other key assessments implemented during internship, (see 3.4.g). edTPA data aligns with other key assessments required for NC DPI licensure and program completion. As such, edTPA is one of many assessment strategies employed during clinical practice. edTPA Data Summits highlight data-driven conversations and decision-making by EPP faculty and are helping to refine and strengthen other key internship assessments.
  2. Plans for Year 4 and 5 of the Pirate CODE will focus on preparing a proposal for CTE to formally recognize the edTPA as a summative assessment now that all program areas are engaged.
  3. To sustain the edTPA beyond the Pirate CODE CTE adoption is crucial. Additionally, Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) resources and processes will enhance future edTPA administrations and support practice-based research efforts utilizing edTPA data. Since edTPA is the summative portfolio assessment for all programs, FOI and data quality are of the utmost concern.
  4. Of all the Pirate CODE innovations, the edTPA Administration has progressed furthest through the implementation steps. Currently, all ITP’s are engaged in edTPA implementation at some level, from the formal pilot stage to the scale up stage, as evidenced in the Implementation Timeline.

3.4 Exhibits

ECU is conditionally accredited based on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards, for a period of 7 years, from Fall 2015 to Spring 2022.

ECU  will seek accreditation based on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards in Spring 2022. CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation, and administers NCATE accreditation.