Standard 3: Field and Clinical Practice

The unit and its school partners design, implement, and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school professionals develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn.


  • How does the unit work with the school  partners to deliver field experiences and clinical practice to enable  candidates to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to  help all students learn?

The unit works closely with school partners to  provide a variety of field experiences, at multiple points in our students’  professional preparation. These placements are designed so as to afford the  candidates themselves the opportunity to secure a more textured understanding  of the realities of contemporary schools and community settings, as well as the  knowledge, skills and dispositions they will need to work effectively in those  settings. These field experiences are also designed so as to afford unit faculty and site personnel the opportunity to complete meaningful and formative and summative evaluations of candidates’ preparation for working effectively in these contexts.

Particular requirements for field placements vary from one unit program to another, but across all programs, several important considerations guide decisions about site selection, about the qualifications and responsibilities of site personnel, and about the manner in
which School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) faculty and site personnel will work together to assess the quality and outcome of the experience for our candidates. For more information, please review the Field Placement Handbooks and Guidelines.

Field experiences are designed to reflect the conceptual framework of SOLES and of each individual programs:

  • Field experiences in all programs provide candidates with opportunities to demonstrate knowledge, skills and dispositions consistent with SOLES’ mission to ensure equity and excellence for all students in a culturally diverse, technologically complex, global community.
  • Field experiences allow candidates to develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions for their specific program. Candidates in field experience courses are expected to demonstrate professional dispositions as well as the ability to apply their knowledge of teaching and learning (theory, curriculum, instruction and assessment) in a K-12 setting, and in other settings appropriate to the profession for which they are gaining preparation. Measures of candidates’ performance are articulated with appropriate standards and performance expectations appropriate to each program/profession.
  • Field experiences allow candidates to experience, first-hand, the varieties of diversity represented in the schools and community agencies that serve our community. All candidates complete at least one practicum and/or field experience in a setting with adults and children reflecting the ethnic and cultural diversity of the San Diego region, in a hard-to-staff school, or a school with large numbers of English learners.
  • Field experiences provide opportunities for candidates to observe others and, in turn, be observed. Field experiences provide equally valuable opportunities for candidates to gather information, to reflect, and to learn, on the one hand, for them to assess changes in their comfort level and professional preparation, and for them to demonstrate their readiness to assume increasing degrees of responsibility for their students. All candidates have structured times when they observe experienced, effective educators model best practices in teaching and in working with clients. All candidates have structured times when they are observed by both a university supervisor and a school/district field supervisor.
  • Field experiences are designed so that candidates become part of the professional community in the school and make professional decisions. Candidates are expected to participate in all aspects of school life. For example, candidates participate in back to school nights, parent conferences, teacher in-service, and teacher/staff meetings.
  • Field experiences provide opportunities for candidates to collect data on P-12 student learning or comparable clients’ assessment, analyze and reflect on that data and use the results of that analysis and reflection to improve their practice. Field experience courses require candidates to define objectives for students, select appropriate assessment strategies, reflect on the results of the assessment and modify their practice accordingly. For example, Multiple and Single subject candidates engage in analysis of student work contextualized in planned and taught lessons in a “coaching cycle” in their first practica or first semester of student teaching and the PACT Teaching Event in the second. In both cases, assessment results are used to determine next steps for teaching.
  • Field experiences require candidates to use technology. All programs require candidates to demonstrate expertise with technology in their field experiences. The nature of technology, both computer-based resources and other media, varies from program to program. All programs require candidates to demonstrate the ability to use appropriate technology to improve the education of all students. Multiple and single subject candidates demonstrate understandings of technology by using a web platform for their performance assessment

Personnel, who supervise and guide candidates in their field experiences are carefully selected, oriented to the appropriate program and have had training in supervision. They are academically qualified and fully credentialed, in the relevant fields. They have appropriate authorizations, licenses and professional training to work with English learners. They model best practices themselves and they have a record of positive relations with students and colleagues. And they are enthusiastic about the opportunity to guide future teachers and practitioners through the early stages of their formal career preparation.

In all professional preparation programs, candidates complete assignments that require them to observe students and clients in a variety of real-world contexts prior to embarking on their formal field placements. Candidates must also meet program-specific eligibility criteria before being beginning their formal field placements.