Strengthening the Clinical Orientation of Teacher Preparation Programs

by Daniela Torre Gibney; Kate Hirschboeck; Melissa Eiler White; Sara Rutherford-Quach

Aug 1, 2020

Educators and policymakers across the United States recognize a growing urgency to improve the nation's systems of teacher preparation. Ensuring that teachers stay and thrive in the profession depends largely on having system-wide policies and practices in place that address teacher shortages, promote equity and excellence, and cultivate expertise, diversity, and more.

The California State University (CSU) system partnered with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to launch the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), in an effort to transform the nature and quality of teacher preparation at both individual CSU campuses and across the CSU system as a whole. To answer the question, "What does it take to transform teacher education?" WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to examine and share learnings about the CSU-led effort to implement large-scale clinically oriented teacher preparation reform.

As part of a series of new evaluation reports that explore key transformational elements of effective teacher preparation programs, this paper identifies key levers to put high-quality clinical experience - that is, the opportunity to practice the work of teaching in classrooms - at the center of teacher preparation. Findings in this report explore the following high-leverage strategies to strengthen the clinical orientation of teacher preparation programs:

Lever 1: Identify prioritized skills

Lever 2: Select or create a rubric to assess candidate proficiency with prioritized skills

Lever 3: Integrate and expand opportunities to practice prioritized skills

Lever 4: Re-conceptualize clinical roles, selection, and support

Lever 5: Define and implement processes to provide formative feedback to candidates on prioritized skills