Practicum Policies

Policy Regarding Items Required for all Practicum
and Student Teaching Experiences in Education Programs

Approved by BSED Committee: 3/19/2010
Approved by PEC: 5/5/10


Practicum: Any experience, tied to a Missouri State course, in a public school or accredited private school setting where a Missouri State student enters the classroom to observe a certified teacher or conducts activities in conjunction with the classroom teacher outside regular class meeting time and without the direct supervision of the instructor. There is no minimum number of clock hours required to be considered a practicum.

Practicum Hours vs. Clock Hours: It is Missouri State policy to define clock hours (contact hours) vs. credit hours in the following way when the practicum is used in a program for initial teacher certification: 30 clock hours = 1 credit hour. As a general guideline, a 30 clock hour practicum should contain a minimum of 20 contact hours in the classroom and student may be given credit for up to 10 clock hours of travel time or school related outside activities at the discretion of the practicum instructor.

Student Teaching: A semester-long experience where the student is assigned to a B-12 classroom(s) in a public or accredited private school setting and performs all the duties of a regular classroom teacher under the supervision of a cooperating teacher and a University supervisor. More information on student teaching options can be found on the Professional Education Certification website.

Items Required Before Entering a Classroom

All students who are enrolled in education courses or have declared an education major must complete all items below and must keep them all current at all times while enrolled at Missouri State University. For undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students, this requirement will begin at the point the student is admitted to Teacher Education and will continue through graduation. For graduate and alternative/innovative programs, the starting point will be determined by that program. Information on completion of the items below can be found on the Professional Education Services website.

All students enrolled in a course that contains a practicum component (as identified in the official course description) or student teaching regardless of the number of clock hours must have the following items on file with Missouri State prior to entering the public or accredited private B-12 classroom setting:

  • TB Test – students must show negative result on the test, and test result must not be more than one year old during the semester of the practicum. Students who cannot have a TB test must bring proof from a doctor of a recent negative x-ray screening.
  • Professional Liability Insurance – students must show proof of Professional Liability Insurance. Students are recommended to join either MSTA or NEA as a student member to take advantage of their Professional Liability Insurance. The insurance must not expire during the semester the student is in the practicum. Students may use private insurance if they can show proof of professional liability insurance.
  • Family Care and Safety Registry – students must register with the Family Care and Safety Registry (FCSR) one time only. Students are required to register online and then email confirmation of their registration to the Professional Education Services Office. The Field Placement staff will then run a current background check. That background check is then valid for ONE SEMESTER from the date it was completed. Therefore, the Professional Education Services Office will re-run that FCSR check each semester a student is enrolled in a practicum course.
  • FBI Background Check – students enrolled in a practicum experience over 30 clock hours or enrolled in student teaching, in any school district, are required to have completed an FBI Background check. That background check will be valid for one year from the date completed.

If a student is currently working in a school setting and is therefore required to have an FBI background check, proof of that background check will be accepted in place of the FCSR check. However, the FBI check will also expire one year from the date it was completed. At that time, the student would be required to either get another FBI background check or to register with FCSR.

Processing of Student Information

A comprehensive list of all courses requiring a practicum will be maintained by the Professional Education Services Office, and will be posted on its website. Students will provide proof of all the above items directly to the Professional Education Services Office. That office will then enter all items in Banner, including the date of expiration for each item. After registration for a future semester has begun, the Professional Education Services Office will run weekly class lists for every course requiring a practicum (as identified in the course description) and will contact all students in the class via Missouri State email address notifying them of the above requirements. Instructions to complete all of the above items can be found on the  Professional Education Services website.

Once classes begin, a class list will be run each Friday and provided to each instructor of a course requiring a practicum. It will then be up to the instructor of that course to make sure all students have met the above requirements before entering their practicum.

If faculty members would like their students to show proof that these items have been completed, students may be asked to print their TEST screen in Banner and provide that printout to the instructor. If a school district requests verification of any of the above items, the student can come to the Professional Education Services Office and will be given a form letter stating which items have been completed and the expiration date for each item. Individual copies of each item are not kept and therefore cannot be provided to students.

Monitoring FCSR in Banner

When a student registers for the Family Care and Safety Registry (FCSR), the Professional Education Services Office will enter the date the student registered in Banner. They will then also immediately run a background check on that student. At that time, the staff will enter “PENDING” in the expiration date in banner. Once the background check comes back and is clear, the staff will change “PENDING” to the semester the student is completing the practicum. The background check will then be valid for that semester. This will allow faculty and staff to recognize when a student is registered but the background check is not yet complete.