General Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that teacher preparation programs provide teacher candidates with a high quality clinical experience. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Cooperating Teacher Requirements:
The District of Columbia does not have regulations regarding the requirements of cooperating teachers.
Clinical Practice Duration: The District of Columbia does not have regulations about the duration of student teaching.
Clinical Practice Assignment: The District of Columbia's program-approval standards require that clinical practice experiences are "sufficiently extensive and intensive for candidates to develop and demonstrate proficiency in the professional roles for which they are preparing and/or employed." All applications for specific subject areas require programs to demonstrate how each program standard will be addressed in a candidate's field experience. However, clinical practice experience is not required at multiple grade levels for the K-12 special education categorical and non-categorical licenses.
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Title 5A Subject Area Standards Maps https://osse.dc.gov/service/guidance-preparing-subject-area-program-proposals
Ensure that cooperating teachers have demonstrated evidence of effectiveness as measured by student learning.
In addition to the ability to mentor an adult, cooperating teachers in the District of Columbia should also be carefully screened for their capacity to further student achievement. Research indicates that the only aspect of a student teaching arrangement that has been shown to have an impact on student achievement is the positive effect of selection of the cooperating teacher by the preparation program, rather than by the student teacher or school district staff.
Use evidence from the District of Columbia's teacher evaluation system to select cooperating teachers.
The District of Columbia requires consideration of some objective measures of student growth in its teacher evaluation system. The District should therefore require that evaluation results, which provide evidence of effectiveness in the classroom, be used to select effective cooperating teachers.
Require teacher candidates to spend at least 10 weeks student teaching.
The District of Columbia should require a summative clinical experience for all prospective teachers. Student teaching should be a full-time commitment; requiring coursework and student teaching simultaneously does a disservice to both.
Require clinical practice experience in at least two different developmental grade levels for licenses with overly broad grade spans.
Given the broad range of students included under the District of Columbia's K-12 special education licenses, it is important that the District's clinical practice requirements include experience in multiple grade levels. It is especially critical for special education teacher candidates to gain experience with a variety of students with disabilities across the spectrum, and in multiple grade levels.
The District of Columbia was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. In addition, the District indicated that it allows its approved educator preparation programs autonomy and flexibility in their specific program design. There are no regulations regarding cooperating teachers since there are multiple pathways for educator preparation to include the non-traditional route, where the candidate serves as the teacher of record.
The District of Columbia added that it does not set parameters for the duration of student teaching. Field experience and clinical practice standards are outlined in the Organizational Standards and in the applicable Subject Area Standards guidance for educator preparation programs.
1E: Student Teaching
The stakes are too high for student teaching requirements to be left to chance. Student teaching is the final clinical experience of teacher preparation, and teacher candidates have only one chance to experience the best possible placement. Student teaching will shape their own performance as teachers and help determine the type of school in which they will choose to teach. A mediocre student teaching experience, let alone a disastrous one, can never be undone.
Central to the quality of the student teaching experience is the classroom teacher who serves as the teacher candidate's mentor, or cooperating teacher. Only strong teachers with evidence of their effectiveness, as assessed by objective measures of student learning and by their principals, should be able to serve as cooperating teachers. Yet placement is much more likely to be the luck of the draw. Reports by NCTQ, including Student Teaching in the United States and the Teacher Prep Review,
found most teacher preparation programs fail to require that cooperating teachers must be effective instructors.