1610 Educational Field Experiences and Student Teaching

Field Experience Placement Policies

Below are the policies governing the field placements of students in sites and schools. All students must comply with the prerequisites for placements and the continuing requirement to report any criminal events, and must acquire tort liability as outlined in the sections which follow.

Field Placement - Prerequisites

GSU students enrolled in educator preparation programs or in education coursework requiring field-based experiences must fulfill the GSU prerequisites set forth below before the University will initiate field placement efforts. However, fulfilling GSU's prerequisites is not a guarantee of placement for a field-based experience or licensure by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.1 Field placement sites/schools set their own placement requirements and may have additional requirements before a placement is finalized.

As a prerequisite, students must:

  1. provide written consent to a criminal background check with a vendor designated by GSU for the purpose of obtaining copies or summaries of any criminal records pertaining to the student that are held by any local, state or federal government agency or private entity; and
  2. if the criminal background report indicates the student has prior convictions,2 as defined by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, or pending criminal charges against him/her, then the student must also provide written consent for the release by GSU of the student's criminal background report to field placement sites for review and decision regarding acceptance for field placement at the site. GSU will not release the report to field placement sites for placement purposes without student consent. GSU may cross-reference a student's criminal background history with the information supplied on the student's application for admission to GSU. Misrepresentations revealed by such cross referencing may result in sanctions up to and including revocation of admission to the University.

GSU will contact the student if his/her criminal background report indicates prior criminal convictions and/or pending criminal charges. The student will have the opportunity at that point to:

  1. Provide written consent allowing GSU to forward the criminal background report to field placement sites for their review and decision regarding field-placement at their institution for student teaching. No field placement attempts will be initiated by GSU for students with prior convictions or pending charges except with such a consent;
  2. Withdraw from GSU's field placement process. Student must also formally withdraw from any corresponding GSU courses for which field placement is a requirement to avoid earning a failing grade; or
  3. Contest the accuracy of the report with the background check vendor or reporting entities. No further attempts will be taken to place the student in the field unless the student subsequently consents to GSU's release to field placement sites of the student's criminal background report or the submits official documentation showing to the University's satisfaction that the background check report was erroneous.

Field Placement – Continuing Duty to Report Criminal Events

In addition to the continuing duty Georgia State University students have to report criminal events that occur after application to the University per the Georgia State Student Code of Conduct, students enrolled in educator preparation programs or in education coursework requiring field-based experiences must (1) report to the College of Education Office of Academic Assistance any criminal events described below that occur after the criminal background check required for field placements was conducted (notice to COE Academic Assistance must be made within 72 hours of the student's notice of the event); (2) consent to a new criminal background check; and (3) provide written consent for the release of the criminal background report and all information about the criminal event to any field placement site at which the student is currently student teaching or at which GSU attempts to place the student in the future. Failure to comply with the notice requirement described herein may result in sanctions up to and including immediate withdrawal from the University. Failure to comply with the criminal background check and release of information requirement described herein will result in immediate removal from all current field placements and courses and denial of future requests for field placement.

  1. Conviction of a crime other than a minor traffic violation.
  2. Criminal charges filed against the student.
  3. Entering a plea of guilty, a plea of no contest, a plea of nolo contendere, an Alford plea, or a plea under any first offender act in response to charges filed against the student.

Policy Regarding Tort Liability

Teacher education and counseling students are required to purchase tort liability prior to placements in field experience courses, practica, or student teaching. Students will be expected to show proof of coverage to program coordinators/supervisors prior to field placements.

Student Teaching

Educational field experiences and student teaching are clinical in nature. They are designed to complement the humanistic, behavioral, and pedagogical studies in teacher education and to offer experiences in a variety of settings.

At the baccalaureate level, a sequence of clinical and field experiences is planned to complement the professional education courses included in the students programs of study.

The Opening School Experience provides practical experience in the school and classroom setting during the week of preplanning and the first week of school. Students learn effective procedures necessary for setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year. This takes place at the beginning of the students' senior year prior to the student teaching experience. Students in early childhood education and health and physical education must apply for this experience in advance and must register for the course during early registration of the fall term of the year in which the experience takes place. Students should check with their departments for the deadlines to apply for their Open School Experience.

Student teaching is the culmination of the clinical field experiences. Student teaching involves full participation by the students for at least one full academic term. Because student teaching constitutes a full load of academic credit, it is recommended that the students attempt neither regular employment nor other courses during the term of student teaching.

To be eligible for enrollment in student teaching, students must be admitted to teacher education and have:

The Professional Education Faculty believes that all students who are in field experiences must be personally and psychologically equipped as well as academically prepared. Students may be denied entry to field experiences based on departmental prerequisites or the professional judgment of faculty based on observed performance and behavior. This policy is based on the premise that educators should be part of the evaluation of the students' ability to function adequately and safely in classrooms and that educators have a right and responsibility to make such judgments prior to placing students in schools.

The practicum or student teaching supervisor has the authority to withdraw students from their classroom experience if their performance constitutes a detriment to the children in the class. If such removal is necessary, students will be given an F in each corresponding course.

Applications and deadlines for student teaching are posted at education.gsu.edu/oaa/951.html.

Failure to submit applications on or before prescribed deadline dates will result in a delay of one or more terms in student teaching or practicum placement. Further information regarding educational field experiences, practicum, and student teaching experiences for each major is available from the appropriate department in the College of Arts and Science or the College of Education.

An additional lab fee of $125 will be charged at the time students register for the student teaching experience. Educator preparation students must be aware that extra costs such as tort liability and transportation will be incurred at various times during the completion of the various teacher education field experiences, particularly during the students' senior year.

Final Student Teaching Seminar

At the completion of the student teaching semester, all students who are eligible for certification must attend a final seminar to complete all requirements. Information concerning this seminar will be sent to the students.

Criteria on Academic and Professional Integrity

The College of Education is committed to upholding standards of academic and professional integrity. These standards require that students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within the College of Education adhere to both the University's Student Code of Conduct as described on-line at www2.gsu.edu/~wwwdos/ as well as their individual degree program's Policy on Student Professionalism, Integrity and Retention. Students should contact their department for a copy of their degree program's policy.


1 The Professional Standards Commission was created by the Georgia General Assembly as of July 1, 1991, to assume full responsibility for the certification, preparation, and conduct of certified, licensed, or permitted personnel employed in the public schools of the State of Georgia. The Commission is also responsible for the development and administration of teacher certification testing. The Commission handles the investigation, advisement, monitoring, and due process of cases associated with educator discipline. In 1999, the Georgia Teaching force Center was placed in the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for administration purposes. The Teaching Force Center is one component of the Georgia P-16 Council's Title II Plan for having a Qualified Teacher in every Classroom in Georgia by 2006.

2 Conviction includes a finding or verdict of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere, regardless of whether an appeal of the conviction has been sought; a situation where first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt pursuant to the charge was granted; and a situation where an adjudication of guilt or sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge or the charge was otherwise disposed of in a similar manner in any jurisdiction.