The state should ensure that teacher preparation programs provide teacher candidates with a high-quality clinical experience.
Maryland requires candidates to complete a teaching experience in one of two ways: a supervised experience (defined as an internship, practicum or student teaching) in a public or accredited nonpublic school setting at the appropriate age or grade level, or one year of a successful full-time teaching experience in a public or accredited nonpublic school setting at the appropriate age or grade level.
The state's institutional performance criteria articulate that teacher candidates must have "extensive field-based preparation in PK-12 schools with diverse populations, which includes an internship within two consecutive semesters that at a minimum has 100 full days in a school."
Maryland does not articulate any requirements for cooperating teachers.
Require teacher candidates to spend at least 10 weeks student teaching.
Maryland 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.
Maryland asserted that it requires an internship of 100 days across two consecutive semesters for all candidates earning initial certification. For full-time candidates, this requirement is for an internship in a specially designed Professional Development School (PDS). PDSs are held accountable to the Maryland Professional Development School Standards on an ongoing basis with an annual report, the Teacher Preparation Improvement Plan, collected each December. "The work of PDS is a significant part of a rigorous, cyclical State Program Approval peer review process, along with the NCATE accreditation process for those institutions required to have national accreditation. Rather than being deficient in clinical experiences for its teacher candidates, Maryland is a national leader in this area."
The state noted that although PDS is not a requirement for candidates going to school part time, the 100-day requirement is. The TPIP also requires PK-12 student performance assessment data from interns at the school level, the data from which are then collected and collated at the state level with the intent to share potential best practices. Each candidate also has a mentor who has been mutually selected by the local school and the sponsoring IHE, and mentor training is required.
In a subsequent response, Maryland reiterated its disagreement with the analysis and asserted that the state assures a 20-week experience across two consecutive semesters.
The state's requirement of a 100-day internship does not ensure a full time 10-week student teaching experience. It may well be the state's intent and institutions' practice to provide such a clinical experience, but Maryland's code appears to leave significant room for different interpretations and noncompliance with this intention. The state is encouraged to amend its code accordingly.