Glossary for Clinical Experience Terms

 Academic Language - Academic language is used in teaching and learning for students to learn and use to participate and engage in the content area in meaningful ways.1 (see Academic Language Graphic Organizer)

            Language Functions - The content and language focus of the learning task represented by the active verbs within the learning outcomes. Shared language functions include identifying, describing, interpreting, analyzing, arguing a position or point of view; predicting; evaluating and comparing. 1
            Language Supports - Scaffolds, representations, pedagogical strategies. 1
            Language Demands: Vocabulary, Syntax and Discourse 1    
                        Vocabulary: Includes words and phrases that are used within the disciplines
                        including: (1) words and phrases with subject -specific meanings that differ from
                        meanings used in everyday life (2) general academic vocabulary used across
                        disciplines and (3) subject-specific words defined for use in the discipline
                        Syntax: The arrangements of words and phrases to for well-formed sentence. 
                        The rules that support well-formed sentences specifically word order and word
                        Discourse:  The structure of written and oral language as well as how members
                        of the discipline talk, write and participate in knowledge construction.

Artifacts – Authentic word completed by you and your students, including lesson plans, copies of instructional and assessment materials, video clips of your teaching, and student work samples. Artifacts are submitted as a part of your evidence. 1

Aligned (not in secondary science) – Consistently addressing the same/similar learning outcomes for students. 1

Assessment (formal and informal) – “[R]efer[s] to all those activities undertaken by teachers and by their students…that provide information to be used as feedback to modify teaching and learning activities.” Assessments provide evidence of children’s prior knowledge, thinking, or learning in order to evaluate what children understand and how they are thinking. Informal assessments may include, for example, children’s questions and responses during their learning experiences and teacher’s anecdotal observations of children as they work or perform. Formal assessments may include, for example, samples of children’s writing, drawing, painting, photos, project work, and performance tasks. 1

Assets (knowledge of students) 1

  • Personal: Refers to specific background information that children bring to the learning environment. Children may bring interests, knowledge, everyday experiences, family backgrounds, and so on, which a teacher can draw upon to support learning. 1
  • Cultural: Refers to the cultural backgrounds and practices that children bring to the learning environment, such as traditions, language and dialects, worldviews, literature, and art, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning. 1
  • Community: Refers to common backgrounds and experiences that children bring from the community where they live, such as resources, local landmarks, and community events and practices, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning. 1


Candidate – An individual engaged in the preparation process for professional education/licensure with a university.2

Central Focus – A description of the important understandings and core concepts that you want students to develop within the learning segment. The central focus should go beyond a list of facts and skills, align with content standards and learning objectives, and address the subject-specific components in the learning segment. 1

Certificate - An official document issued by a state agency that an individual meets state requirements to (1) teach at a specific level or for a specialized discipline/population of students  (e.g. middle grades, biology, English Language Learners, etc.); or (2) serve in a specific education role in a school (e.g. principal, reading specialist, etc.). 2

Certification - The process by which a governmental agency or nongovernmental organization grants professional recognition to an individual who meets specified qualifications/requirements. 2

Clinical Educators – University faculty and P-12-school-based individuals, including classroom teachers, who assess, support, and develop a candidate’s knowledge, skills, or professional dispositions at some stage in the clinical experiences. 2

Clinical Experiences - Candidate activities in a variety of settings including schools, community-based centers, and homeless shelters as well as through simulations, video analyses, and other virtual opportunities such as online chats with students. 2

Clinical Practice - Student teaching or internships that provide candidates with an intensive and extensive culminating school-based activity. Candidates are immersed in the learning community and are provided opportunities to develop and demonstrate competence in the professional roles for which they are preparing. 2

Commentary – Submitted as part of each task and, along with artifacts, make up your evidence. The commentaries should be written to explain the rationale behind your teaching decisions and to analyze and reflect on what you have learned about your teaching practice. 1

Completer - Candidates exiting from degree programs and also candidates exiting from other higher education programs or preparation programs conducted by alternative providers that may or may not offer a certificate or degree. 2

Content Knowledge. The acquisition and understanding of facts, truths, or principles associated with the academic disciplines that are taught at the elementary, middle, and/or secondary levels, or a professional field of study such as special education, early childhood education, school psychology, reading, or school administration. 2

Contextual Factors Journal – Weekly journaling using specific prompts during any clinical experience or practice to reflect on the factors of the community, school, and classroom how these factors impact what and how you teach.  (see Contextual Factors Journals templates within the Clinical Experiences Handbook)

Co-Teaching - is defined as two teachers (teacher candidate and cooperating teacher) working together with groups of students; sharing the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space. 3

Credibility – The quality of being believable or worthy of trust. 2


Data - Individual facts, statistics, or items of information.  Data may include results of assessment or information from statistical or numerical descriptions of phenomena, status, achievement, or trends. 2

Deep Understanding - Knowledge of a particular thing to such a degree that it implies skill in dealing with or handling something, comprehension, and personal interpretation. 2

Dependability - Worthy of trust; reliable. 2

Discipline - The subject that a teacher teaches or the professional field in which an educator practices.  

Dispositions - Dispositions are the values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behaviors towards students, families, colleagues, and communities that affect student learning, motivation, and development as well as the educator’s own professional growth. 2

Diverse - Showing a great deal of variety; very different, as in diverse clinical placements. 2

Diversity - (1) Individual differences (e.g., personality, interests, learning modalities, and life experiences),and (2) group differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, ability, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality, language, religion, political affiliation, and socio-economic background). 2


Educator - Teacher, principal, specialized instructional support personnel, instructor, faculty member at a university, or other staff member who directly provides instruction or services such as a school library media specialist, counselor, or paraprofessional. 2

Engaging students in learning – Using instructional and motivational strategies that promote students’ active involvement in learning tasks that increase their knowledge, skills, and abilities related to specific learning objectives. Engagement in learning contrasts with student participation in learning tasks that are not well designed and/or implemented and do not increase student learning. 1

Endorsement - An addition to an educator’s license or certification that officially sanctions an educator’s fulfillment of preparation requirements to teach a subject different from that specified on the original license/certificate, to work with another group or age level of students, or to provide professional services in schools. 2

Ethics - The moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behaviors. 2

Evaluation criteria – Performance indicators or dimensions that are used to assess evidence of student learning. They indicate the qualities by which levels of performance can be differentiated and that anchor judgments about the learner’s degree of success on an assessment. Evaluation criteria may examine correctness/accuracy, cognitive complexity, sophistication or elaboration of responses, or quality of explanations. 1

Evidence -  Consists of artifacts that document how you planned and implemented instruction AND commentaries that explain your plans and what is seen in the videorecording (s) or examine what you learned about your teaching practice and your students’ learning. Evidence should demonstrate your ability to design lesson plans with instructional supports that deepen student learning, use knowledge of your students to inform instruction, foster a positive learning environment that promotes student learning, monitor and assess student progress toward learning objectives, and analyze your teaching effectiveness. Your evidence must be submitted electronically using the electronic portfolio management system used by your teacher preparation program. 1


Field Experiences - Early and ongoing practice opportunities to apply content and pedagogical knowledge in P-12 settings to progressively develop and demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and dispositions. 2


Innovation - Implementation of something new or different in the preparation of educators that leads to the improvement of teaching and support of student learning. 2

Internship - Full-time or part-time supervised clinical practice experience in P-12 settings where candidates progressively develop and demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and dispositions. 2

High Needs - The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 defines a high-needs school as “within the top quartile of elementary and secondary schools statewide, as ranked by the number of unfilled, available teacher positions; or is located in an area where at least 30 percent of students come from families with incomes below the poverty line; or an area with a high percentage of out-of-field-teachers, high teacher turnover rate, or a high percentage of teachers who are not certified or licensed.” 4


Learning environment – The designed physical and emotional context, established and maintained throughout the learning segment to support a positive and productive learning experience for students. 1

Learning objectives – Student learning outcomes to be achieved by the end of the lesson or learning segment.

Learning segment – A set of 3-5 lessons that build one upon another towards a central focus, with a clearly defined beginning and end. 1

Learning task (not in early childhood) – Includes activities, discussions, or other models of participation that engage students to develop, practice, and apply skills and knowledge related to a specific learning goal. Learning tasks may be scaffolded to connect prior knowledge to new knowledge and often include formative assessment. 1

License - An official document issued by a state agency that an individual meets state requirements to (1) teach at a specific level or for a specialized discipline/population of students  (e.g. middle grades, biology, English Language Learners, etc.); or (2) serve in a specific education role in a school (e.g. principal, reading specialist, etc). 2

Licensure - The process by which a governmental agency or nongovernmental organization grants professional recognition to an individual who meets specified qualifications/requirements. 2


P-12 Students – Defined as children or youth attending P-12 schools including, but not limited to, students with disabilities or exceptionalities, students who are gifted, and students who represent diversity based on ethnicity, race socioeconomic status, gender, language, religion, sexual identification, and/or geographic origin. 2

PACE (Performance Assessment for Clinical Experiences) - PACE was designed to assess the level of mastery of the 20Cs in a P-12 clinical setting. PACE uses a four-point rating scale with the following levels and a description of behaviors at each level: 1) Ineffective, 2) Partially Effective, 3) Effective, and 4) Highly Effective. There are three users of the PACE: TCs, University Supervisors (US) and Cooperating Teachers (CT). PACE is used in to evaluate TCs beginning with their practicum portion of their clinical experience and throughout their clinical practice. The first time PACE is used it is for formative purposes so that TCs can work steadily toward improving their teaching practice. They know how they are being measured in their program.

Partner - Organizations, businesses, community groups, agencies, schools, districts, and/or universities specifically involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the clinical experience. 2

Partnership - Mutually beneficial agreement among various partners in which all participating members engage in and contribute to goals for the preparation of education professionals. This may include examples such as pipeline initiatives, Professional Development Schools, and partner networks. 2

Patterns of Learning – Includes both quantitative and qualitative patterns (or consistencies) for different groups of students or individuals. Quantitative patterns indicate in numerical way the information understood from the assessment (e.g. 10 out of 15 students or 20% of the students.). Qualitative patterns include descriptions of understandings, misunderstandings, and/or partial understandings that could explain the quantitative patterns (e.g., “given that most students were able to… it seems that they understand”). 1

Performance Assessment - Product- and behavior-based measurements based on settings designed to emulate real-life contexts or conditions in which specific knowledge or skills are actually applied. 2

Performance Data - Information, both quantitative and qualitative, derived from assessments. 2

Prior academic learning and prerequisite skills – Include students’ content knowledge and skills as well as academic experiences developed prior to the learning segment. 1

Professional Development School (PDS) - A specially structured school in which university faculty and P-12 school clinical educators collaborate to (1) provide practicum, field experience, clinical practice, and internship experiences; (2) support and enable the professional development of the university faculty and P-12 school clinical educators; (3) support and enable inquiry directed at the improvement of practice; and (4) support and enhance P-12 student achievement. 2

Program - A planned sequence of academic courses and experiences leading to a degree, a recommendation for a state license, or some other credential that entitles the holder to perform professional education services in schools. Universities often offer a number of program options (for example, elementary education, special education, secondary education in specific subject areas, etc.). 2


Qualitative Measures - Assessments or analyses that can be reported narratively and numerically to provide in-depth study of an individual, classroom, or school. Qualitative assessments include, but are not limited to, in-depth interviews, focus groups, observations, case studies, and ethnographic studies. 2

Quantitative Measures - Assessments or analyses that can be reported numerically and sometimes generalized to a larger population. Common quantitative measures include surveys (online, phone, paper), observation and other evaluative forms, and tests. 2


Rapport – A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well with each other. 1

Respect – A positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person and specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected. It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate lack of respect. Not that respectful actions and culture are culturally define and may be context dependent. 1

Rubrics – Subject-specific evaluation criteria used to score your performance on edTPA. These rubrics are included in the handbook, following the directions for each task. The descriptors in the five-level rubrics address a wide range of performance, beginning with the knowledge and skills of a novice not ready to teach (Level 1) and extending to the advanced practices of a highly accomplished beginning (Level 5). 1


Student Learning - The academic achievement of P-12 students. Universities should prepare educator candidates to analyze student learning and data related to student learning and to be able to develop instructional experiences that improve student learning. 2

Student Teaching - Extensive and substantive clinical practice in P-12 schools for candidates preparing to teach. 2


Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) - An ongoing process for measuring teacher candidates’ performance. The assessments are expected to be validated based on state and national professional standards, to be reliably scored by trained evaluators, and to be used for continuous improvement of educator preparation. 2

Technology - The tools and techniques available through computers, the Internet, telecommunications, and multimedia that are used by universities for instruction and the input, storing, processing, and analyzing of data in quality assurance systems. Educator candidates should be able to demonstrate that they use technology to work effectively with students to support student learning. 2


Variety of learners – Students in your class who may require different strategies or support. These students include but are not limited to students with IEPs or 504 plans, English language learners, struggling readers, underperforming students or those with gaps in academic knowledge, and/or gifted students. 1


1 edTPA. (September 2015). Assessment handbook glossary. Retrieved from , March 2016

2 Council for the Accreditation of Preparation, Glossary, Retrieved from , March 2016

3 Washut Heck, T. & Bacharach, N. (2010). Mentoring Teacher Candidates Through Co-Teaching. Teacher Quality Enhancement Center. St. Cloud, Minnesota.

4 TEACH, What is a high needs school?, Retrieved from, March 2016