Upon Acceptance Into the MAT Program
There is important information you need to keep in mind as you progress through your program. The plan of study you develop with your advisor should meet your needs, within the parameters of the program. If circumstances in your life change, please be sure to contact your advisor and make changes as necessary. Following are questions frequently asked by students as they progress through their programs:
- When do I need to do a change in plan of study?
If you change the course you are planning to take, you need to complete a change in plan of study with your advisor. For example, if you plan to take science with a practicum (ELED 537) and decide to take it without a practicum (ELED 518), you must complete a change in plan of study. If you decide to change when you take a course, with the exception of the first three courses (CEP 552, ELED 500, and FNED 546), you do not need to do anything. When making changes in your plan of study, remember you must complete a minimum of 60 hours of field work before the student teaching phase. This is a state requirement, and taking a minimum of 3 practicum level courses is usually needed to ensure this requirement is met. An audit will be completed to ensure this requirement is met before granting permission to student teach.
- How do I apply for the student teaching experience?
All courses listed on your plan of study need to be completed before student teaching. In anticipation, you need to attend an information meeting held by the Office of Parnerships and Placements during the semester one year prior to the one in which you plan to student teach. For example, if you plan to student teach in fall 2017, you must attend the information session in fall 2016. You will not be notified via letter; you must watch for postings on bulletin boards, look on the Office of Partnerships and Placements page at http://www.ric.edu/feinsteinSchoolEducationHumanDevelopment/st_teaching.php, or call your advisor to find out days and times. There are usually two choices, and the meetings are usually scheduled mid-semester. It is critical that you attend one of these meetings to allow the college sufficient time to secure a placement for you, and to learn about the application process and requirements for this part of your program. In addition, there is another meeting held by the Department of Elementary Education the semester prior to student teaching and is for the purpose of informing you about the Preparing to Teach Portfolio submission requirements.
- How do I apply for teaching certification?
The coursework and field experiences in this program meet state requirements for certification in elementary education. Upon completion, you will earn a master of arts in teaching degree. To obtain certification in this state, you need to complete the necessary forms and apply to the Rhode Island Department of Education. See http://www.ride.ri.gov/.
- When do I take my prerequisite courses?
Prerequisite courses are required of students whose undergraduate work does not demonstrate the broad base of knowledge necessary for teaching. You need to take your prerequisite courses before taking methods courses to which they are associated. For example, if you have science prerequisite courses, you must take those before your science methods course. If you have math prerequisite courses, you must take those before your math methods course. Any other prerequisite courses should be taken as soon as possible and all prerequisite courses should be completed before student teaching.
- What is the process known as the performance assessment and what are its components?
There is an assessment system in place to monitor candidates’ progress throughout the program and to ensure readiness to move on to each level of the program, from admission to student teaching. This system is known as the performance assessment system and began with your admission, during which your credentials were assessed, including the content knowledge from all previous college work, test scores, essay, and recommendations. The second phase begins with your program courses. During each ELED program course you will complete an assignment that will be the artifact for your Preparing to Student Teach Portfolio. Your course instructor will evaluate your artifact, which must be rated target (exemplary) or acceptable for entrance in your portfolio. If revisions are necessary, they are completed under the guidance of the course instructor. These artifacts, along with documentation that you have completed all courses on your plan of study, provide evidence that you are ready to student teach. This portfolio will be due in the semester before you student teach. The final phase of the portfolio assessment system is completed during student teaching. For this phase, you will complete a Teacher Candidate Work Sample (TCWS) and your teaching will be observed and rated using an Observation and Progress Report (3). Your college supervisor, seminar instructor, and cooperating teacher will provide instruction in the completion of these assessments.