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Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Alternative Practicum in Early Childhood Special Education


Principal Investigators:
Kwangwon Lee & Sudha Swaminathan

The purpose of this study is to explore the effectiveness of alternative early childhood special education practicum experiences and on-ground, traditional experiences on teacher candidates’ preparedness for the field. This study will also explore if candidates from underrepresented backgrounds or other demographics were more adversely affected by the alternative experiences. Specifically, this study seeks to address the following research questions:

  1. How do teacher candidates who completed our early childhood special education practicum rate themselves in terms of their self-efficacy, preparedness for the field, and effectiveness in instructional delivery? Is there a difference in rating between candidates who experienced an alternative practicum and those who underwent a traditional on-ground experience? What specific teaching competencies differentiate the preparedness of these two groups of candidates?
  2. Are there demographic details—such as gender, racial background, prior experience, and content major in their undergraduate program—that differentiate and impact the effectiveness of the on-ground and/or alternative experience?
  3. Is there a variation in employers’ rating of the preparedness of our candidates from the two practicum experiences? Are there specific competencies that are significantly different?

*This study is no longer recruiting participants.

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