What is a Practicum?
A practicum is a component of a course designed to give teacher candidates supervised practical application of previously studied theory. The practicum placement will be in a public/private classroom setting for a specified number of clock hours in the content and grade level in which the teacher candidate is seeking certification.
Missouri State University currently places over 1800 teacher candidates per semester in the local/area public and private schools, most in practicum experiences. At Missouri State, all teacher candidates in the various educational programs are required to complete at least one field experience in a diverse setting. Certification through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires three levels of practicum experience within a classroom:
- Early - Observations and limited experiences with students - 30 clock hours
- Mid-Level - Observations and structured experiences with students - 45 clock hours
- Culminating - Student teaching in collaboration with a cooperating teacher - Minimum of 12 weeks
Diverse Placements in Field Experiences
The practice of the Educational Field Experiences office, in cooperation with the College of Education, secondary, and K-12 education programs, requires diverse field experience placements. Teacher candidates are required to participate in at least one diverse placement during the program of study. Diversity is defined using criteria including Title I, percentage of free/reduced price lunch, percentage of students with IEPs, ethnicity, percentage of ELL students, and variety of grade levels.
Teacher candidates record diversity information about each placement in Taskstream, which can be accessed by education program coordinators and the Educational Field Experiences office to track diversity by program and teacher candidate. In addition, the Educational Field Experiences office annually receives diversity data from Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) which is uploaded to the placement database.
Missouri State University policy requires that teacher candidates submit valid, current compliance documents before entering the classroom. Documents are recorded in My Missouri State/Test Scores.