An Examination of the Practices and Perceptions of Student Teaching Coordinators for Matching Student Teachers with Clinical Placement Sites in Pennsylvania

Open Access
Author:
Bozella, Devorah Lynn
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
July 10, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Bernard Joel Badiali, Committee Chair
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
  • Iris M Striedieck, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Student teaching
  • matching
  • higher education
Abstract:
Abstract Teacher education programs in Pennsylvania are required by the state to include a student teaching component in their programs of study. This study was an in-depth exploration of the practices and perceptions of student teaching coordinators in Pennsylvania regarding the most important considerations when matching student teachers with clinical placement sites. The study employed a mixed methodology. Some 46 student teaching coordinators (56%) among 81 contacted through a Pennsylvania Department of Education listing of teacher education programs completed an online survey which contained quantitative and qualitative measures. The survey was followed up by telephone interviews of 8 coordinators for a more in-depth understanding of their original responses to the survey, and as another qualitative component of the study. The data analysis of the student teaching coordinators’ demographic information produced results on the student teacher placements within the past three years at the institutions they serve. Further analysis of the coordinators’ experience from the online survey and phone interview data indicated the categories the coordinators found to be most pertinent to matching student teachers and clinical placement sites. These included the cooperating teacher, university/school collaboration, and accessibility to placements, as well as the school site, diversity, coherence, and cohorts. Accessibility to school sites was found to be a challenge, partly because the need for placement sites for student teachers sometimes outnumbered those available. But of even greater concern to teacher preparation programs was the finding that school officials are hesitant to permit access to placements due to school accountability to achieve acceptable Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) test results. Prospective cooperating teachers may feel the need to prepare their students for PSSA testing under the No Child Left Behind Act to the exclusion of mentoring a student teacher. The implications of these findings is that limited accessibility or less than adequate opportunity to practice may compromise the quality of the student teachers’ experience, their potential to become a highly qualified teacher, and possibly their commitment to the profession. Abstract Teacher education programs in Pennsylvania are required by the state to include a student teaching component in their programs of study. This study was an in-depth exploration of the practices and perceptions of student teaching coordinators in Pennsylvania regarding the most important considerations when matching student teachers with clinical placement sites. The study employed a mixed methodology. Some 46 student teaching coordinators (56%) among 81 contacted through a Pennsylvania Department of Education listing of teacher education programs completed an online survey which contained quantitative and qualitative measures. The survey was followed up by telephone interviews of 8 coordinators for a more in-depth understanding of their original responses to the survey, and as another qualitative component of the study. The data analysis of the student teaching coordinators’ demographic information produced results on the student teacher placements within the past three years at the institutions they serve. Further analysis of the coordinators’ experience from the online survey and phone interview data indicated the categories the coordinators found to be most pertinent to matching student teachers and clinical placement sites. These included the cooperating teacher, university/school collaboration, and accessibility to placements, as well as the school site, diversity, coherence, and cohorts. Accessibility to school sites was found to be a challenge, partly because the need for placement sites for student teachers sometimes outnumbered those available. But of even greater concern to teacher preparation programs was the finding that school officials are hesitant to permit access to placements due to school accountability to achieve acceptable Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) test results. Prospective cooperating teachers may feel the need to prepare their students for PSSA testing under the No Child Left Behind Act to the exclusion of mentoring a student teacher. The implications of these findings is that limited accessibility or less than adequate opportunity to practice may compromise the quality of the student teachers’ experience, their potential to become a highly qualified teacher, and possibly their commitment to the profession. Abstract Teacher education programs in Pennsylvania are required by the state to include a student teaching component in their programs of study. This study was an in-depth exploration of the practices and perceptions of student teaching coordinators in Pennsylvania regarding the most important considerations when matching student teachers with clinical placement sites. The study employed a mixed methodology. Some 46 student teaching coordinators (56%) among 81 contacted through a Pennsylvania Department of Education listing of teacher education programs completed an online survey which contained quantitative and qualitative measures. The survey was followed up by telephone interviews of 8 coordinators for a more in-depth understanding of their original responses to the survey, and as another qualitative component of the study. The data analysis of the student teaching coordinators’ demographic information produced results on the student teacher placements within the past three years at the institutions they serve. Further analysis of the coordinators’ experience from the online survey and phone interview data indicated the categories the coordinators found to be most pertinent to matching student teachers and clinical placement sites. These included the cooperating teacher, university/school collaboration, and accessibility to placements, as well as the school site, diversity, coherence, and cohorts. Accessibility to school sites was found to be a challenge, partly because the need for placement sites for student teachers sometimes outnumbered those available. But of even greater concern to teacher preparation programs was the finding that school officials are hesitant to permit access to placements due to school accountability to achieve acceptable Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) test results. Prospective cooperating teachers may feel the need to prepare their students for PSSA testing under the No Child Left Behind Act to the exclusion of mentoring a student teacher. The implications of these findings is that limited accessibility or less than adequate opportunity to practice may compromise the quality of the student teachers’ experience, their potential to become a highly qualified teacher, and possibly their commitment to the profession. Abstract Teacher education programs in Pennsylvania are required by the state to include a student teaching component in their programs of study. This study was an in-depth exploration of the practices and perceptions of student teaching coordinators in Pennsylvania regarding the most important considerations when matching student teachers with clinical placement sites. The study employed a mixed methodology. Some 46 student teaching coordinators (56%) among 81 contacted through a Pennsylvania Department of Education listing of teacher education programs completed an online survey which contained quantitative and qualitative measures. The survey was followed up by telephone interviews of 8 coordinators for a more in-depth understanding of their original responses to the survey, and as another qualitative component of the study. The data analysis of the student teaching coordinators’ demographic information produced results on the student teacher placements within the past three years at the institutions they serve. Further analysis of the coordinators’ experience from the online survey and phone interview data indicated the categories the coordinators found to be most pertinent to matching student teachers and clinical placement sites. These included the cooperating teacher, university/school collaboration, and accessibility to placements, as well as the school site, diversity, coherence, and cohorts. Accessibility to school sites was found to be a challenge, partly because the need for placement sites for student teachers sometimes outnumbered those available. But of even greater concern to teacher preparation programs was the finding that school officials are hesitant to permit access to placements due to school accountability to achieve acceptable Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) test results. Prospective cooperating teachers may feel the need to prepare their students for PSSA testing under the No Child Left Behind Act to the exclusion of mentoring a student teacher. The implications of these findings is that limited accessibility or less than adequate opportunity to practice may compromise the quality of the student teachers’ experience, their potential to become a highly qualified teacher, and possibly their commitment to the profession. Abstract Teacher education programs in Pennsylvania are required by the state to include a student teaching component in their programs of study. This study was an in-depth exploration of the practices and perceptions of student teaching coordinators in Pennsylvania regarding the most important considerations when matching student teachers with clinical placement sites. The study employed a mixed methodology. Some 46 student teaching coordinators (56%) among 81 contacted through a Pennsylvania Department of Education listing of teacher education programs completed an online survey which contained quantitative and qualitative measures. The survey was followed up by telephone interviews of 8 coordinators for a more in-depth understanding of their original responses to the survey, and as another qualitative component of the study. The data analysis of the student teaching coordinators’ demographic information produced results on the student teacher placements within the past three years at the institutions they serve. Further analysis of the coordinators’ experience from the online survey and phone interview data indicated the categories the coordinators found to be most pertinent to matching student teachers and clinical placement sites. These included the cooperating teacher, university/school collaboration, and accessibility to placements, as well as the school site, diversity, coherence, and cohorts. Accessibility to school sites was found to be a challenge, partly because the need for placement sites for student teachers sometimes outnumbered those available. But of even greater concern to teacher preparation programs was the finding that school officials are hesitant to permit access to placements due to school accountability to achieve acceptable Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) test results. Prospective cooperating teachers may feel the need to prepare their students for PSSA testing under the No Child Left Behind Act to the exclusion of mentoring a student teacher. The implications of these findings is that limited accessibility or less than adequate opportunity to practice may compromise the quality of the student teachers’ experience, their potential to become a highly qualified teacher, and possibly their commitment to the profession. Abstract Teacher education programs in Pennsylvania are required by the state to include a student teaching component in their programs of study. This study was an in-depth exploration of the practices and perceptions of student teaching coordinators in Pennsylvania regarding the most important considerations when matching student teachers with clinical placement sites. The study employed a mixed methodology. Some 46 student teaching coordinators (56%) among 81 contacted through a Pennsylvania Department of Education listing of teacher education programs completed an online survey which contained quantitative and qualitative measures. The survey was followed up by telephone interviews of 8 coordinators for a more in-depth understanding of their original responses to the survey, and as another qualitative component of the study. The data analysis of the student teaching coordinators’ demographic information produced results on the student teacher placements within the past three years at the institutions they serve. Further analysis of the coordinators’ experience from the online survey and phone interview data indicated the categories the coordinators found to be most pertinent to matching student teachers and clinical placement sites. These included the cooperating teacher, university/school collaboration, and accessibility to placements, as well as the school site, diversity, coherence, and cohorts. Accessibility to school sites was found to be a challenge, partly because the need for placement sites for student teachers sometimes outnumbered those available. But of even greater concern to teacher preparation programs was the finding that school officials are hesitant to permit access to placements due to school accountability to achieve acceptable Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) test results. Prospective cooperating teachers may feel the need to prepare their students for PSSA testing under the No Child Left Behind Act to the exclusion of mentoring a student teacher. The implications of these findings is that limited accessibility or less than adequate opportunity to practice may compromise the quality of the student teachers’ experience, their potential to become a highly qualified teacher, and possibly their commitment to the profession.