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What Do We Know About the Effects of Clinical Practice Experiences and Teacher Performance?
CALDER Policy Brief No. 19-1119
Theory suggests that clinical experiences—sometimes referred to as pre-service teaching, internships, or student teaching—affect teacher effectiveness by connecting teacher preparation coursework to PK–12 students and schools. Until recently, we have had little quantitative evidence indicating that these clinical experiences matter. This brief provides an overview of some of the research documenting the connections between different components of clinical experience—such as school culture, performance assessments, mentor teacher performance, and congruence between student teaching and in-service environments—and the in-service outcomes of teachers. Recent evidence shows that the environment in the schools in which clinical practice occurs, the alignment between the student demographics of internship schools and early career schools, is associated with the later effectiveness of those teacher candidates who go on to become teachers. There is also increasing evidence pointing toward to the value of working with an effective and/or high-performing mentor (also known as “cooperating”) teacher. This brief also highlights areas where less is definitively known (or no quantitative evidence exists), such as whether the introduction of assessments (like edTPA) improve teacher effectiveness.