Massachusetts requires elementary candidates to complete 300 hours of a practicum or practicum equivalent. Middle school and secondary candidates must complete 150 hours.
The state defines a practicum as "a field-based experience within an approved program in the role and at the level of the license sought, during which a candidate's performance is supervised jointly by the sponsoring organization and the supervising practitioner and evaluated in a Performance Assessment for Initial License."
Massachusetts does not articulate any requirements for cooperating teachers.
Education Laws and Regulations 603 CMR 7.02, -04(4)
Recommendations for Massachusetts
Require teacher candidates to spend at least 10 weeks student teaching. Massachusetts should require a summative clinical experience for all prospective teachers. Student teaching should be a full-time commitment, as requiring coursework and student teaching simultaneously does a disservice to both. Alignment with a school calendar for at least 10 weeks ensures both adequate classroom experience and exposure to a variety of ancillary professional activities.
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 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 the student teacher or school district staff.
Explicitly require that student teaching be completed locally, thus prohibiting candidates from completing this requirement abroad. Unless preparation programs can establish true satellite campuses to closely supervise student teaching arrangements, placement in foreign or otherwise novel locales should be supplementary to a standard student teaching arrangement. Outsourcing the arrangements for student teaching makes it impossible to ensure the selection of the best cooperating teacher and adequate supervision of the student teacher and may prevent training of the teacher on relevant state instructional frameworks.
State response to our analysis
Massachusetts recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that it is currently revising its Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval. These revised regulations will go to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in January 2012. Massachusetts expects that there will be a comprehensive overhaul of the program approval section of the regulations.
For evidence on the importance of the selection of the cooperating teacher, particularly the benefits of selection by the preparation program, see D. Boyd, P. Grossman, H. Lankford, S. Loeb, & J. Wyckoff. (2008). "Teacher Preparation and Student Achievement," Calder Institute, Working Paper 20.
Further evidence and discussion surrounding the impact of student-teaching on student achievement can be found in NCTQ's report: Student Teaching in the United States (2011) which includes citations of all of 34 studies published since 1997 in peer-reviewed journals on student teaching. They include: Anderson, N. A., & Radencich, M. C. (2001). The value of feedback in an early field experience: Peer, Teacher, and Supervisor coaching. Action in Teacher Education, 23(3), 66-74; Brink, B., Laguardia, A., Grisham, D. L., Granby, C., & Peck, C. A. (2001). Who needs student teachers? Action in Teacher Education, 23(3), 33-45; Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2009). Teacher Preparation and Student Achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 30(4), 319-343; Bullough Jr., R.V., Young, J., Erickson, L., Birrell, J. R., Clark, D. C., Egan, M. W., Berrie, C. F., Hales, V. & Smith, G. (2002). Rethinking Field Experience: Partnership teaching versus single-placement teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), 68-80; Cochran-Smith, M . (1991). Reinventing Student Teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 42 (2), 104-118; Connor, K. R., & Killmer, N. (2001). Cohorts, Collaboration, and Community: Does Contextual Teacher Education Really Work? Action in Teacher Education, 23(3), 46-53; Danne, C. J. (2000). Clinical Master Teacher Program: Teachers and Interns Perceptions of Supervision with Limited University Intervention. Action in Teacher Education, 22, 93-100; Fresse, A. R. (1991). The role of reflection on pre-service teacher's development in the context of a professional development school. Teaching and Teacher Education, 12, 429-442. Grossman, P., Hammereness, K. M., McDonald, M., & Ronfeldt, M. (2008). Structural Predictors of Perceptions of Coherence in NYC Teacher Education Programs. Journal on Teacher Education, 20(10), 273-287; Hopkins, W. S., Hoffman, S. Q., & Moss, V. D. (1997). Professional development schools and pre-service teacher stress. Action in Teacher Education, 18(4), 36-46; Lesley, M. K., Hamman, D., Olivarez, A., Button, K. & Griffith, R. (2009). "I'm Prepared for Anything Now." Student teacher and cooperating teacher interactions as a critical factor in determining the preparation of quality elementary reading teachers. The Teacher Educator, 44 (1), 40-55; Justen, J. E., III, Mc Junkin, M., & Strickland, H. (1991). Supervisory beliefs of cooperating teachers. The Teacher Educator, 34(3), 173-180; Kent, S. I. (2001). Supervision of Student Teachers: Practices of Cooperating Teachers Prepared in a Clinical Supervision Course. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 16, 228-244; Knight, S. L., Wiseman, D. L., & Cooner, D. (2000). Using collaborative teacher research to determine the impact of professional development school activities on elementary student's math and writing outcomes. Journal of Teacher Education, 51, 26-38; Knoblauch, D., & Woolfolk-Hoy, A. (2008). "Maybe I can teach those kids." The influence of contextual factors on student teachers efficacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(1), 166-179. Knudson, R. E., & Turley, S. (2000). University supervisors and at-risk student teachers. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 33, 175-186.Korthagen, F., Loughran, J., Russell, T. (2006). Developing fundamental principles for teacher education programs and practices. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(8), 1020-1041. McNay, M. & Graham, R. (2007). Can Cooperating Teachers Help Student Teachers Develop a Vision of Education? The Teacher Educator, 42(3), 224-236.Student Teaching in the United States, 2011; Mewborn, D. S. (1991). Learning to Teach Elementary Mathematics: Ecological Elements of a Field Experience. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 3(1), 27-46. Mule, L. (2006). Preservice teacher's inquiry in a professional development school context: Implications for the practicum. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(2), 205-218; Nguyen, H.T. (2009). An inquiry-based practicum model: What knowledge, practices, and relationships typify empowering teaching and learning experiences for student teachers, cooperating teachers and college supervisors? Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 655-662; Pence, H. M., & Macgillivary, K. I. (2008). The impact of an international field experience on pre-service teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(1), 14-25; Peterson, B. E., & Williams, S. R. (2008). Learning Mathematics for Teaching in the Student in Teaching Experience: Two contrasting cases. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 11(6), 459-478. Putman, M.S. (2009). Grappling with Classroom Management: The Orientations of Preservice Teachers and Impact of Student Teaching. The Teacher Educator, 44(4), 232-247. Richardson-Koehler, V. (1988). Barriers to the Effective Supervision of Student Teaching: A Field Study. Journal of Teacher Education, 39(2), 28-34; Ridley, D.S., Hurwitz, S., Hackett, S. & Miller, K.K. (2005). Comparing PDS and Campus Based Preservice Teacher Preparation: Is PDS-based preparation really better? Journal of Teacher Education, 56(1), 46-56; Rodgers, A., & Virginia, K. L. (2007). Restructuring a traditional student teacher supervision model: Fostering enhanced professional development and mentoring within a professional development school context. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(1), 63-80; Roth-McDuffie, A. (2004). Mathematics Teaching as a Deliberate Practice: An Investigation of Elementary Pre-service Teachers
Reflective Thinking During Student Teaching. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 7(1), 33-61; Sandholtz, J. H., & Wasserman, K. (2001). Student and Cooperating Teachers: Contrasting experiences in teacher preparation. Action in Teacher Education, 23(3), 54-65. Slick, S. K. (1997). Assessing versus assisting: The supervisor's role in the complex dynamics of the students teaching triad. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13, 713-726; Tellez, K. (2008). What student teachers learn about multicultural education from their cooperating teachers? Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(1), 43-58; Tillema, H. H. (2009). Assessment for Learning to Teach. Appraisal of Practice Teaching Lessons by Mentors, Supervisors, and Student Teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(2), 28-34; Valencia, S. W., Martin, S. D., Place, N. A. & Grossman, P. (2009). Complex Interactions in Student Teaching: Lost Opportunities for Learning. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(3), 304-322; White, S. (2009). Articulation and Re-articulation: Development of a model for providing quality feedback to pre-service teachers on practicum. Journal of Education for Teaching, 35(2), 123-132.See also Levine, A. (September 2006). Educating school teachers (p. 39). Washington, DC: The Education Schools Project; Guyton, E., & McIntyre, D.J. (1990). Student teaching and school experiences. In W. R. Houston (Ed.). Handbook of research on teacher education. New York: Macmillan.