Note: These practicum policies and procedures are in effect for all teaching and counseling practica.
- All practicum placements for students in educator preparation programs must be arranged by (or arranged in conjunction with) the Office of Educator Preparation and Licensure.
- Students make application or submit a practicum information form to the Educator Preparation Office to be placed in a practicum. They must also follow all other practicum placement procedures detailed in this section of the handbook for their specific program.
- Students must be admitted to an educator preparation program (which makes them an official candidate for licensure) and meet all of the standards for practicum placement in order to be eligible to apply. This includes, among other things, maintaining minimum grade point averages, passing all required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and satisfactorily completing prerequisite courses. See Section II of this handbook for detailed information about admission to educator preparation programs and standards for practicum placement.
- In order to guarantee placement for a particular semester, students must satisfy all requirements (see practicum procedures for details) and meet all deadlines specified by the Educator Preparation Office.
- Students in all Educator Preparation Programs fill out a practicum application listing their preferences related to placement sites (e.g., travel time/distance, type of school & grade level). In addition to this, there is a place to detail any other information that is important in the determination of the site. If at all possible, students will not be placed where they have previously held a position (voluntary or paid) or have any “connections” (e.g., mother is the principal, aunt teaches in the school, neighbor is secretary to the superintendent). In most cases, students will not be placed at a school they attended or their pre-practicum site and should indicate preferences that give them a diversity of experience (e.g., urban, suburban).
- Students are typically placed at a Massachusetts public school within a 15-mile radius of Springfield College. For physical education only, students may be placed within a 30-mile radius of the college. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from their practicum site.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Students wishing to request a site that does not conform to the policies stated above must submit the Practicum Placement Waiver Form and an e-mail with the rationale to the Director of Educator Preparation and Licensure: Dr. Davis-Delano.
For example, if you are requesting any of the following: a site at a distance beyond the acceptable range, a private school, a school district outside of Massachusetts, a school where you have “connections” or a school where you presently work. The decision whether or not to make an exception to the policy is made by the Director of Educator Preparation & Licensure in consultation with the appropriate department chair or program director.
- All practicum placements are made so the candidate has a field-based experience in the role and at the level of the license sought. Students must fulfill the minimum clock hour requirements specified in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Regulations for Educator Licensure. Additional hours may be required by Springfield College, see program specific requirements. The starting and ending dates are determined in advance by the Director of Educator Preparation and Licensure. The daily schedule and calendar of the practicum school must be followed.
- All practicum experiences are jointly supervised by a college supervisor and supervising practitioner. For some programs, two college supervisors may be assigned.
- Students are placed with supervising practitioners who meet the minimum qualifications specified in the Massachusetts DESE Regulations for Educator Licensure. Generally speaking, supervising practitioners must hold a professional license in the field and at the grade level of the license sought. Supervising practitioners are eligible for a tuition grant or a stipend.
- All college supervisors hold/held a license in the field and at the grade level of the license sought or the equivalent and/or have professional experience or expertise in the field and at the grade level of the license sought. For example, some college supervisors have conducted research, taught courses or hold a degree in the licensure field.
- Practicum students may NOT be financially compensated for work performed during time for which the student expects to receive course credit. This prohibition includes substitute teaching. Students seeking an exception to this policy must make a written request, with rationale, to the Director of Educator Preparation & Licensure. A determination will be made whether or not the employment in the school will enable the practicum student to fulfill all practicum requirements and whether or not proper supervision is possible. For example, it is most likely NOT possible for an individual employed as a teacher’s aide to fulfill the practicum requirements while still working as an aide in the classroom. Another example is that it may not be possible to arrange for the supervision required per MA DESE regulations when someone is employed as the teacher of record in a school.
- All sites and supervisors must be approved by the Director of Educator Preparation and Licensure.
- Students are discouraged from holding a full-time or part-time position during the practicum, or from participating on an athletic team. These outside activities/responsibilities are not prohibited, but the student must be aware that conflicts between practicum and employment/participation on an athletic team often arise, and that practicum responsibilities must take precedence. At the start of the practicum, students should inform their college supervisors of any outside responsibilities that could impact their practicum.
- Practicum students will be required to fill out a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) form for each placement site. Students who have a concern about the CORI check should contact the Director of Educator Preparation.
- Students must be registered for a practicum experience (and in some cases a seminar course) during the semester they are placed out in the schools. See individual course of study to register for the appropriate practicum course and the correct number of credits.
- Students typically report full-time (all day) to their practicum site. The number of days/weeks of the practicum experience will vary depending on the field and levels of licensure a student is seeking. Many students have two experiences at two different sites, for half a semester each (e.g., early childhood, health and physical education). Others will be at the same placement site for the full semester. The total minimum number of practicum clock hours required by Springfield College ranges from 300 (e.g., most teaching licenses) to 450 (e.g., school guidance counseling), depending on your program.
- Practicum students are expected to call the school, their supervising practitioner, their college supervisor and the Educator Preparation Office if they have to miss a day. Practicum students are expected to report to their practicum site everyday. Students most often will have to make up days missed. (Note: In some cases up to two days missed may be allowed without a makeup.)
- All candidates must submit an evidence binder of their work. The candidates are responsible for collecting data and providing evidence of their own work and that of their students, to demonstrate that they have knowledge of content and that they have met each professional standard for the license they are seeking. In most cases, specific information regarding the evidence binder is included in the individual Fieldwork Handbooks for each program.
- All practicum experiences provide multiple measures of student progress in an ongoing assessment of the candidate’s performance during the practicum experience. College supervisors must make a minimum of three observations/visits to the candidate at various stages in the practicum experience, and complete one of the college’s observation forms for each visit, (a sample of this form is included at the end of this section). Supervising practitioners make daily observations of the candidates, and they are required to complete one formal observation per week using the Springfield College observation form, and to provide an ongoing/formative evaluation on a weekly basis.
The supervising practitioner and the college supervisor at both the middle and the end of the practicum complete an evaluation. These midterm and final assessments are required, and are discussed with the candidate at a three-way conference.
As part of the final assessment, supervisors fill out and sign-off on the official practicum report that includes the preservice performance assessment for each candidate. A sample of this form is included at the end of this section. This form requires each supervisor to indicate whether or not the candidate has demonstrated his/her competence in the professional standards for the license. The practicum report also contains other pertinent information needed for accurate and complete record keeping.
- Students will receive a letter grade (A-F) for their practicum. Students who receive a letter grade of "B-" or above will be recommended for licensure. Students who receive a "C+" or lower may or may not be recommended for licensure. Students who receive a "D+" or below will not be recommended for licensure. Students not recommended for licensure will NOT receive credit for an official practicum, instead they will receive credit for SPCO 499/699: Fieldwork in an Educational Setting. (Institutional licensure recommendations/endorsements are noted on the College transcripts.)
- Sample copies of many of the forms described above are at the end of this section. Copies of all program specific forms and additional program specific policies and procedures related to the practicum may be found in the individual program Fieldwork Handbooks.
Minimum Requirements for Practicum Placement for Non-Springfield College Students
It is the policy of the Educator Preparation Programs at Springfield College to place students in a practicum (when they took the majority of their education coursework at a different institution) once they have met the following minimum requirements:
- Successful completion (achieved a C+ or better) of a Springfield College discipline-specific methods course that includes a pre-practicum experience.
- Personal statement detailing coursework and experience that is related to the license being sought and answering the question, "Why do you want to become an educator?"
- Transcript Review to ensure that all content knowledge has been demonstrated through coursework or experiences and that all waivers and other documentation are on file.
- Passing scores on all required MA Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). This typically includes the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test and one or two subject tests.
- Statement of good standing from previous higher education institution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Review Sessions and Practice Tests
- Study Materials
- Assistance Programs at Springfield College
- MTEL Test Dates
- MTEL Registration and Information
- MTEL Test Objectives
- MTEL Practice Tests
- Springfield College MTEL Results