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Clinical Practice in Education: Performance Assessment in the Third Space

26 January 2019


Field placements in education should be a byproduct of strong partnerships between the university and K-12 school districts. Effective teacher preparation cannot exist without relationships being built between educator preparations programs (EPPs) and K-12 schools to provide purposeful settings for teacher candidates to learn through observation and practice of theory in action (Darling-Hammond, 2010). Time must be put into these relationships, as successful partnerships require careful preparation, outstanding implementation, and thorough follow through (Bullough, Draper, Smith, & Birrell, 2004; Powers, 2004). There should be a mutually agreed upon shared vision based on a passion for the issues at hand, a variety of roles based on the resources of each partner, a system for measuring outcomes, and consistently be looking to improve upon those outcomes (Catelli, Costello, & Padovano, 2000; Guillen & Zeichner, 2018; Lee, 2018; Tomanek, 2005).

Fieldwork in education is the essential time for teacher candidates to bridge the gap between their theoretical coursework and actual practice of teaching. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE, 2018) Clinical Practice Commission believes that clinically-based work is the foundational component upon which a candidate’s success in the classroom is built. With the student population and behaviors becoming increasingly diverse, EPPs must design their curricula to include coherent field-based assignments, built with strong relationships to schools, to prepare candidates for complex classrooms.Creating this coherence within an EPP can be difficult due to departmental disconnects, instructional freedom, and hiring of adjunct faculty who may be as connected to the vision of the EPP, but candidates receiving tightly connected course and fieldwork leave the program better able to support student learning (Darling-Hammond, 2006).


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