Standard 3

Standard 3.1 Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

Reflecting the Conceptual Framework, the unit and its P-12 partners collaboratively provide standards-based, progressively responsible program and/or content-specific field and clinical experiences in diverse and inclusive communities of learners to support candidates' development of knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help all students learn. Experiences occur in the increasingly diverse Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas (R.4.4.f.1).  Candidates must meet TEEB (R.6.4.a.2) and program-specific standards for admission to clinical practice, and successfully complete all graduation requirements (ex., GPA, satisfactory rating on summative assessments.)

R.3.4.a.1 documents the representative partners’ selected contributions to collaborative efforts for field and clinical experiences. To enhance collaboration and support P-20 clinical faculty, guidelines, requirements, and evaluations for interns, mentors, and university liaisons/supervisors (UL/S) are in program-specific internship and portfolio handbooks and the Center for Professional Practice (CPP) PDS Handbook (R.3.4.e.46), developed with input from P-12 partners (R.3.4.e).

R.3.5.d documents required field and clinical experiences for each program. (Also see R.3.4.b.)  The unit uses the term professional year to describe the yearlong, Professional Development School (PDS) internship (which exceeds the minimum standard of 100 days). As noted in Towson’s 2012 TPIP, 100% of required candidates and 96% of all candidates were placed in PDS (R.3.5.a, p. 8). During the PDS immersion, interns assume the complete role of the teacher, and have opportunities to work with other school professionals. Through the PDS initiative, the unit and its P-12 partners achieved distinction. Involving twelve Maryland school systems, the success of the Towson University PDS Network) has been repeatedly recognized nationally and in Maryland (S.3.1-2). 

The unit has a formal agreement with each partner school district -- (The Towson University and Partners and Mission: Agreement for the Provision of Field Experiences and Internships in Undergraduate and Graduate Programs) that governs field and clinical experiences (R.3.4.a.2.a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k); it defines PDS as a collaborative partnership and identifies six goals for all field and clinical experiences (ex., culturally diverse settings).  The CPP is responsible for overall collaboration with P-12, working closely with partners to provide appropriate experiences.  

Reflecting national and MSDE standards, Maryland Institutional Performance Criteria, and P-12 priorities, the TU/LEA PDS Council (exs., R.3.4.a.3.a,b,c,d), summer strategic planning meetings (R.3.4.a.4.a,b,c,d,e,f,g), ongoing site and school system steering committees, and shared intern performance assessments ensure the collaborative nature of the partnerships.  To support all clinical faculty, CPP coordinates P-16 professional development activities to address issues, and share resources and expertise (R.3.4.a.5.a,b,c,d,e). The 2012 TPIP (R.3.5.a, pp. 9-40) provides additional examples of collaborative activities. CPP also makes available a Field and Clinical Experience/PDS Resource Library, reflecting school and/or university requests, to stakeholders (R.3.4.a.6).

Collaborative selection of mentors is an ongoing process involving CPP, unit faculty, and P-12 partners. Mentors must be tenured, highly qualified, certified in the field being mentored, and endorsed by the principal/supervisor. By recommending a mentor, the principal/supervisor attests to appropriate licensure, experience, and expertise (R.3.4.c.1). By virtue of their immersion into the clinical setting, UL/S support and interact with mentors, PDS site coordinators, and the principal to assess and ensure mentor expertise.  

All UL/S must have documented exemplary experience and expertise as a teacher, administrator or supervisor (R.3.4.c.1). They receive training from CPP and department chairs; new liaisons are linked with experienced peers.

CPP monitors initial preparation mentors’ and UL/S’ performance through Program Evaluation (R.1.4.c.3), which includes interns’ evaluation of mentors and UL/S.  Interns’ evaluations of mentors are shared with UL/S and chairs; interns’ evaluations of all UL/S reveal a high degree of satisfaction, with a mean score of 4.53 (R.3.4.d.1; scale: 1/ unacceptable -5/distinguished). UL/S-specific data are summarized by CPP and shared with respective chairs and UL/S as part of the ongoing assessment of the internship component of the program (R.3.4.d.2). CPP also monitors liaison performance through periodic PDS standards-based surveys (S.3.3.a-b) that enable P-12 partners to provide feedback regarding liaison and overall PDS performance.).  Chairs meet with faculty during the Annual Review process to discuss these data as well as needs for professional development (R.5.4.f.2).

Regular and continuous support is provided for interns and mentors.  Mentors and UL/S guide the internship, observe interns and provide informal and formal reflection and feedback (ex., prior lesson review/approval). Supervisors support both mentors and interns.  Mentors and supervisors observe and evaluate interns, leading candidates in a process of reflection and analysis of their teaching and its impact on student learning, and collaborate in formative and summative assessment of interns. As needed, they design professional assistance plans for interns. Required seminars concurrent with the capstone internship provide another forum for reflection, analysis, and feedback. As noted above, CPP coordinates professional development activities for P-12 and unit personnel.  

Initial Preparation. Completion of the capstone internship requires candidates to demonstrate successfully the standards-based content, pedagogical and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions, including demonstrated positive effect on P-12 student learning. Multiple, standards-based summative assessments of candidate and completers performance are conducted as a shared responsibility among P-12 school and University faculty (R.1.4.c.1,2,3,4,5,6,7).

As indicated below, aggregated unit performance data from multiple capstone assessments for the InTASC Standards, including a unit Technology standard consistently confirm that unit/PK-12 collaboration enabled interns to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn. 

Mean scores for these AY 13 InTASC-aligned capstone internshipassessments (all scores are on a 1/ unacceptable -5/distinguished scale) were:
-mentors’ and UL/S’ evaluations (R.3.4.f.1): both had a mean score of 4.48
-program evaluation from graduating interns(R.3.4.f.2): self-evaluation from graduating interns: mean score of 4.67
-graduates and employer surveys  (R.3.4.f.3): first year graduates’ mean score: 4.51; third year graduates’ mean score: 4.10; employer survey of first year teachers’ performance: mean score: 4.54.

Continuing ProgramsCandidates in advanced programs for the continuing education of teachersuse their own classrooms/schools for course assignment and/or assessment related field/clinical experiences that require them to apply course work in classroom settings, analyze P-12 student learning, and reflect on their practice in the context of theories on teaching and learning.  R.3.5.d identifies the required, program-specific experiences and assessments that require them to apply the new knowledge and skill gained in their programs.

Yearly Assessment System Update/Data Analysis Report (YASU/DAR, R.2.4.d.1).Every program is required to complete the YASU/DAR, addressing the Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Clinical Practice, including experiences working with diverse students in P-12 schools, and how it analyzes and uses data to improve interns’ field and clinical performance to help all students learn.  R.3.4.f.4 describes how programs collect, analyze and use data to improve candidates' experiences to help all students learn. Program-specific data confirm that unit/P-12 collaboration enabled interns to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn.

Other School Personnel.  School Library Media Specialist (SLM), Reading Specialist (REED), and Instructional Leadership and Professional Development (ILPD) require an internship with diverse students. Interns and mentors are provided with information unique to their program that defines roles, responsibilities, expectations, and outcomes (R.3.4.e.25,26,27,28). 

Placements are made as follows:  
-SLM: Placements are determined using the same process as for initial preparation programs, involving input from the unit coordinator and P-12 Library supervisors.
-ILPD: Reflecting ELCC standards, internships are individualized. Placements reflect collaborative agreements involving the intern, the P-12 site administrator/supervisor, and the University supervisor, based on mutually agreed upon goals. 
-REED: Candidates complete two internships (REED 626, 726) in the unit's Reading Clinic (on-campus and/or off-campus in the Baltimore City Public School System). The clinic director considers the needs of client/family (e.g., needs/days/times) as well as the needs and qualifications of interns (e.g., range of experiences) in clinic assignments.

SPA/Program-specific summative internship assessments are a shared responsibility of P-12 and University faculty. All three programs are SPA-accredited, and require capstone performance data assessing/documenting positive candidate effect on student learning.  Data confirm that unit/P-12 collaboration enabled candidates to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to help all students learn (R.3.4.f.5).

Monitoring mentors’ and supervisors’ performance is program-specific; Monitoring mentors’ and supervisors’ performance is program-specific; see R.3.4.d.3 for details.

R.3.4.g documents the number of interns who entered and the number who successfully completed the capstone internship. Data reveal a high completion rate for all programs, ranging from 96.4% to 100%.


Standard 3.2 Continuous Improvement

As indicated in Theme 6 of the Conceptual Framework, the unit believes that data-based, continuous improvement that ensures currency and standards of program excellence results from collaboration with multi-layered stakeholders. Representative of activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality are:

1. The unit, led by the COE, pursues an ongoing scan of the external environment to ensure that the unit remains responsive (in its content and pedagogical and professional curricula) to new and/or revised national and state standards (Common Core Standards, PARCC assessments, SPA, Maryland Institutional Performance Criteria based on The Redesign of Teacher Education) and other changes in the educational environment as they impact teacher education, candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and performance  in field and clinical experiences.

The emergence of the Common Core resulted in the unit’s fall 2012 launch of Preparing for Public Education in the 21st Century, a multi-year professional development initiative to ensure that all unit faculty fully integrate the substantial changes occurring in public education (S.3.4.a). The effort was co-led by Dr. Nancy Grasmick, former Maryland Superintendent of Schools and currently Towson’s Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Education, and Dr. Raymond Lorion, dean of the College of Education. Numerous unit faculty meetings, led collaboratively by unit faculty and LEA personnel, have been devoted to the Maryland education reforms (Student Learning Objectives (SLOs), new Teacher/Principal evaluation systems, etc.) to ensure faculty knowledge and program currency (S.5.1,2,3,4,5). 

Results include program changes to align appropriate content with the new standards in the Common Core Curriculum (aligning fully with the Common Core Standards to which Maryland has committed), to best prepare interns for the capstone internship. As a specific example of programmatic change due to Maryland’s implementation of RTTT, ILPD revised its curriculum and internship requirements to align with reform efforts (new teacher/principal evaluation, CCSS). Reflecting its collaboration with MSDE and numerous LEAS (ex., Harford County, Howard County), faculty were provided in-depth briefings to enable full understanding of LEA-specific approaches to the new teacher and principal evaluations, of which SLOs are a core factor. Program curriculum have been revised accordingly (ex., changes to Classroom Focused Improvement Process protocol, coaching). 

2. As an outcome of the AY10-11 College of Education’s Strategic Planning exercise, the unit established a PDS Council (R.3.4.a.3.a,b,c,d).  The Council engages key LEA stakeholders and UL/S and faculty to facilitate P-16 collaboration across all partnerships so that a collaborative PDS agenda is achieved and implemented.

3. Working with school system partners, the unit revised all MOUs to ensure common understanding of field and clinical practices and process for input.

4. In 2010-2011, the unit conducted a critical examination of all PDS sites to review demographic data and, as needed, opt out of sites or add sites to ensure diverse and inclusive clinical placements. (For ex., to enhance student diversity, MAT added Franklin High to its previously Carroll County-only SCED PDS.)  All sites considered for field and/or clinical experiences must include students with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socio-economic groups.

5. In spring 2011, the unit instituted a periodic PDS Survey (S.3.3 a-b) as another tool for feedback from PDS principals, site coordinators, and mentor teachers. Ten PDS—two from each of the five programs engaged with PDS—were surveyed.  Deans, chairs, liaisons, and CPP reviewed and analyzed the data, resulting in program/personnel changes.

6. In response to changes in various national and state standards—Common Core, 2011 InTASC Standards, new SPA standards, and the 2010 revised Maryland Institutional Performance Diversity Criteria, unit programs revised course syllabi to address the revised performance standards and provide additional diversity focus in all programs.  (For example, new AASL SPA standards drove major program changes in the School Library Media program.)  These changes ensured that programs prepared interns with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn, and succeed in their field and clinical experiences.

7. In response to the programmatic revisions due to changes in above identified standards, the unit revised its initial candidate and graduates’ performance assessments (ex., mentor teacher evaluation), employer survey, and Yearly Assessment System/Data Analysis Report (YASU/DAR; R.2.4.a.6) and folioette templates (S.1.1-2) to address the new standards/criteria.  These changes resulted in additional and more explicit data to be used for analyzing and improving interns’ field experience and clinical practice and program performance.

8. To provide more accurate and timely data reporting, all unit capstone evaluations were moved to the CampusLabs platform.  This enables programs, through the YASU/DAR, to more quickly analyze program data and enact changes as appropriate.

9. Reflecting assessment data, programs continued to revise/modify assignments and/or assessments to support interns, and provide professional development to faculty to improve faculty and intern performance.  For ex., in the Reading M.Ed., analysis of 2008-2009 key assessment scores for the two Clinic/Internship courses identified inconsistency across instructors and the courses in which case study reports are written. To establish greater consistency, faculty compared the different assessment and case study designs that were in use and reached agreement on which assessment and case study formats would be implemented (ex., miscue analysis procedures). Faculty reached this consensus while keeping the same criteria established for the REED 726 Case Study key assignment.  Implementation in 2009-2010 resulted in fewer comments from students in the end-of-program survey regarding inconsistent case study formats. Comments about inconsistency in case study reporting requirements continued to decline in subsequent end-of-program surveys.

10. Reflecting MSDE input and input from all PDS partners (for example, see R.3.5.b, Nov. 2011 TPIP, pp. 9-10, 15), numerous programs enhanced their PDS collaborations.  For ex., MAT began several initiatives in AY 2009-2010, which were revised and implemented during 2010 -2011.  The results (ex., new handbooks for mentors, revised MAT lesson plan format) increased understanding of the expectations for the internship experience and improved consistency in the interpretation of assessment procedures. With funding from MSDE, the Towson-Montgomery County EESE PDS developed a “Mentoring 101” handbook to prepare and support and mentors (R.3.4.e.48).

11. During the ELED program’s latest accreditation reporting cycle, ACEI SPA reviewers commented that the final internship evaluation lacked specific measures to isolate intern knowledge, skills, and dispositions aligned to standards. As a result, in 2011-2012, the capstone internship evaluation was significantly revised to include a series of discrete, performance-based criteria for each standard. In addition, the rating scale was revised to include both frequency of behaviors and intern level of independence in executing specific skills in the classroom. Introduced in fall 2012, the new data permitted faculty to isolate specific areas of concern aligned to each Standard. This targeted information has been used to establish yearly program goals and strategic plan initiatives. In addition, interns have been able to use their final evaluations to identify areas of strength and domains for further support during their induction years.

12. Reflecting analysis of School Library Media practicum dispositions data, faculty developed and implemented a broader dispositions document to assess candidates’ dispositions in practicum experiences.

13. In response to the concerns over the sufficiency of STEM instruction for early childhood and elementary initial and advanced candidates to help all students learn, the unit is engaged in Maryland’s Elementary STEM certification project, led by faculty from the Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics and the College of Education. In the award letter, MSDE officials wrote “we applaud the pioneering work Towson is doing inn developing a program to build the capacity of elementary teachers to deliver integrated STEM” instruction.  As a result, the unit has developed an Integrated Elementary STEM Program, a four-course sequence for inservice teachers, is collaborating with MSDE to develop a new certification for Instructional Leader: STEM, Grades PreK—6, and has proposed a new Master’s degree--Leading from the Classroom with Instructional Leader – STEM Endorsement (S.3.5).   

Additionally, representative Unit plans for sustaining and enhancing performance include:
1. The unit is committed to the annual, data-based YASU/DAR process (R.2.4.d.1) as its primary mechanism for sustaining and enhancing field experiences and clinical practice performance through continuous improvement.
2. The unit will continue its ongoing environmental scan of the external environment to ensure that the unit is responsive to new and/or revised national and state standards and other changes in the educational environment.
3. As a continuing professional development initiative, Preparing for Public Education in the 21st Century focuses on ensuring that faculty integrate ongoing changes occurring in public education due to RTTT, Common Core, new teacher and principal evaluations, etc., to best prepare all candidates for success in the reality of contemporary schools.


Standard 3.5 Maryland Redesign of Teacher Education

IIIa. What is the total number of schools in which an intern can be placed across the two consecutive semesters of the year-long internship?

Interns are placed in no more than two (2) schools across two consecutive semesters of the year- long internship.

IIIb. What is the total number of interns in each PDS site?

R.3.5.e documents the number of AY 13 full-time interns in each PDS.  Every effort is made to have a cohort of at least five interns at each site.

IIIc. How does the unit ensure that each candidate is trained in a diverse setting?

As noted, the unit has a formal agreement (The Towson University and (school system) Partners and Mission: Agreement for the Provision of Field Experiences and Internships in Undergraduate and Graduate Programs) with each partner school district that governs all field and clinical experiences (R.3.4.a.2.a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k).  The first commitment is that “both parties to this agreement recognize the value of culturally diverse placements with exceptional learners.  Each party to this agreement will endeavor to the extent possible to assure that all field placements and clinical experiences are made in settings that are culturally diverse and sensitive to the needs of exceptional learners.”
Field and clinical experiences are in the increasingly diverse Baltimore and Washington Metropolitan areas; see R.3.4.b and R.4.4.f.1 for system-specific demographic data. Diverse and inclusive populations have become part of the mainstream P-12 setting in the metropolitan areas, and placements routinely provide candidates with opportunities to interact with diverse and inclusive students.

Demographic data for the unit’s Fall 12-Spring 13 Professional Development Schools (R.4.4.f.6) provide documentation that each candidate had experiences with diverse and inclusive communities of learners. 

Demographic data for the unit’s Fall 12-Spring 13 “other school professionals” (R.4.4.f.2,3,4,5) provide documentation that candidates had experiences with diverse and inclusive communities of learners. 

In terms of outreach to enhance the racial diversity of the clients who attended the on-campus clinic for the last three years, the Reading Program used grant funds to transport Arundel E/M School (Baltimore City Public Schools) families to the campus in Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, and Spring 2012 (R.4.4.f.3). One hundred percent of the families were African-American; clients and their parents came to campus together on a TU shuttle each week.  Additionally, the program funded tuition costs with grant support, so the clinic was free for those families. While children worked with their clinic teachers, parents attended workshops presented by the advanced clinic teachers designed to prepare them to support their child’s reading growth at home.

Self-reported data from interns (Program Evaluation) who completed their capstone experience confirm that the unit's efforts resulted in opportunities to practice in diverse settings.  Reflecting Section II capstone internship questions 18-21 (opportunities to differentiate instruction for diverse students, learners with special needs, ELL students, and gifted and talented students), R.3.4.f.4  provides unit data documenting that graduating interns had experience in diverse and inclusive settings, with all capstone mean scores exceeding 4.02 (scale: 1/ unacceptable -5/distinguished). (Also see Standard 4; R.4.4.c.1,2,3,4,5,6  provide diversity-related InTASC standards and Maryland Institutional Performance Criteria: Diversity data confirming that interns were engaged in diverse settings.)

IIId. How does the unit ensure an internship placement of 100 days across two consecutive semesters in a PDS for each certification area (excluding PreK-12 areas) at the baccalaureate and full-time post-baccalaureate level?

R.3.5.d documents that the number of hours for the professional year exceeds the 650 hour/100 days minimum for all PDS programs. Initial undergraduate candidates follow the school system calendar, not the University calendar, with the exception of January. Full-time MAT candidates follow the school system calendar including January; this provides additional experience for those without an undergraduate education degree. All candidates report in August when mentors return to their schools. They complete two full semesters, including the school system spring break, not the University spring break.

IIIe. How does the unit structure internships for part-time post-baccalaureate programs, including those for conditionally certified teachers?

The only part-time internships are those for part-time MAT candidates. R.3.5.d documents that part-time MAT students complete 6.5 hours of observation/participation for each foundations level course taken, and, like full-time MAT candidates, complete the professional year-- EDUC 797 and 798 (including January)--in an MAT PDS.

2014 Institutional Report - Standard 3