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Frequently Asked Questions about Step One

  • What does Step 1 mean?

    Step I is the first step in IUP’s Three-Step Process. All teacher candidates in the State of Pennsylvania are held to high standards and must complete a rigorous academic program. Although you may have been accepted to IUP as a subject, grade level(s), or discipline-specific education major, all teacher candidates must apply to be admitted into the formal Educator Preparation Program. The application process is described here.

    Where can I obtain an application for Step 1?

    You can obtain an application from your advisor, program coordinator, or the Educator Preparation Office in Stouffer Hall, Room 104.

    What should be included in the application for Step 1?

    All of the requirements below must be met before your application will be accepted:

    • Satisfactory completion of at least 48 earned credits with a required 3.0 cumulative grade-point average
    • Successful completion of Basic Skills requirements
    • Completion of six credits in Math (100 level or above) with a grade of “C” or better in each course
    • Completion of the following courses with a minimum grade of “C” or better in each. ENGL 101, ENGL 121*, EDSP 102, COMM 103, and appropriate course(s) in major area.
      *ENGL 122 for English majors only, or
      approved alternate departmental course
    • Completed Personal Goals Essay
    • Current Acts 24, 34, 114, 126, and 151 clearances (CastleBranch)
    • Completion of speech/hearing and TB tests
    • Electronic portfolio Step 1 (LiveText)
    • Advisor’s signature and date of review on Step 1 application

    Where should I submit my application for Step 1?

    First, submit the application to your advisor for review and approval. Be certain that all of the information is included and current. Then, the application goes to the Office of Educator Preparation in 104 Stouffer Hall. 

    What should be covered in the Personal Goals Essay for Step 1?

    Your personal goals essay information is located in the Step I application. You are asked to reflect on what you have learned about the psychology of human development, behavior, learning, motivation, and instructional theory. How does what you have learned influence your beliefs about the educational process? Your essay should apply to your desired profession and age group.

    Your personal goals statement will be evaluated by your advisor for grammar and usage, spelling, content, organization, clarity of ideas, and degree to which you answered the questions.

    How can I meet the basic skills requirements?

    You can meet the meet the basic skills requirements in a variety of ways, including qualifying SAT and/or ACT scores, the PAPA exams, and/or the Praxis Core exams. Please visit the All About State Testing Requirements page to learn about the state requirements. 

    How can I prepare for the exams?

    • A one-credit course, EDSP 257, is available to assist you with test-taking skills. 
    • Preparation materials are available for the PAPA exams and the Praxis Core exams.  
      Writing Tutorials are available at the Writing Center (Eicher Hall, Room 218, 724-357-3029). Students may go to the Writing Center to receive an individualized tutorial for the writing section. If you have already failed the writing section of the test, it is strongly recommended that you go to the Writing Center before your second attempt. 

    What are the speech and hearing screenings?

    The screenings are required tests that determine if your speech and hearing are within normal parameters for performing the duties of a teacher. There are designated test dates throughout the semester. The speech and hearing screenings are held in Davis Hall, Room 263. The screenings are free, but you need to present your I-Card at the time of the screening.

    What is the TB test?

    The tuberculosis (TB) test is a requirement for state certification and is used to determine if the student has been exposed to TB. The TB test is a simple skin test and must be completed before applying to Step 1. Find information about signing up for your TB test at the University Health Service. TB testing is free for Health Fee A students (most undergraduates) if done in the TB clinics. If you decide to walk in during the semester, or are a Health Fee B student (graduate student), there is a charge of $15.

    As of March 2007, the Educator Preparation Office is requiring teacher candidates to have a TB test on file that is no more than one year old at the time a student enters Step 1. After that, students must provide a current TB test prior to each field experience. Students need to be aware that some districts/sites require a two-step TB test. It will be the student’s responsibility to comply with the district’s requirement in order to proceed with the placement.

    What is the electronic portfolio?

    The portfolio is an electronic presentation of documents and artifacts created and compiled by a student to provide evidence that he/she has met the rigorous standards and requirements of our teacher preparation programs. The portfolio is developed and evaluated in LiveText at each of the three stages of IUP’s Three-Step Process. A completed portfolio is a requirement for graduation from all of IUP’s teacher preparation programs.

    All Teacher Education majors are required to take ACE 103, EDEX 103, or MUSC 240, which gives you the basics on how to create your electronic portfolio. If you transferred any of these courses, it is your responsibility to make arrangements to purchase LiveText and create your e-portfolio. See your academic advisor or program coordinator who will assist you with finding support for the process. 

    General information such as your contact information, philosophy of education, résumé, as well as artifacts and descriptions of how you have met the standards specified for your teacher education program should be included in your e-portfolio. Your electronic portfolio should be in LiveText and up to date with your application for teacher education (Step 1), and before student teaching (Step 2). Your course instructor will evaluate the Step 1 portfolio, and your academic advisor will evaluate your Step 2 Portfolio in LiveText. Your Teacher Work Sample will be your Step 3 e-portfolio artifact and will be evaluated by your student teaching supervisor.

    What clearences do I need and how do I get them?

    Please visit the LiveText site to learn about Clearances and Castle Branch. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and school districts with whom we partner in hosting field experiences, the Office of Educator Preparation requires that all candidates maintain current clearances.

    All candidates (both incoming and current) are required to have a CastleBranch account for managing your clearances. The CastleBranch management system will allow you to upload, maintain, and access their clearances from any electronic device. It is recommended that all candidates update their clearances by August 15 each year in preparation for the upcoming field experience(s).

    How do I get my personal liability insurance for pre-student teaching and student teaching?

    Proof of liability insurance (annual update required) can be obtained through a membership with PSEA or private insurance and must have a minimum of $1,000,000 per claim with an aggregate of $3,000,000 per occurrence if obtained via private insurance. A membership can be obtained online on the PSEA website.

    What are pre-student teaching clinical experiences I and II (EDUC 242 and EDUC 342)?

    The field experiences required for the IUP Educator Preparation Programs consist of at least two pre-student teaching clinical experiences (EDUC 242 and EDUC 342) and a student teaching experience (EDUC 421, 441, 461, and/or). Pre-student teaching experiences, Clinical Experiences I and II, consist of at least two placements involving observation and participation in basic education classrooms with mentoring by a cooperating teacher. Pre-student teaching, Clinical I (one credit), is customarily scheduled during the sophomore or junior year, after you have been admitted to a certification program (Step 1). Pre-student teaching, Clinical II (one credit), is customarily scheduled during the junior or senior year after you have completed Clinical I. 

    In order to register for EDUC 242 or EDUC 342, you must have Step 1 approval. You can register for EDUC 242 and EDUC 342 by using MyIUP. Once you have registered for EDUC 242 or EDUC 342, you should obtain a copy of the Pre-Student Teaching Handbook. The handbook contains the application for the clinical experience as well as all the generic forms that are to be submitted to the Teacher Education office when applying for placement.

    Be sure to submit the application along with the following forms:

    • Application for a Pre-Student Teaching Assignment
    • Memo of Understanding
    • Guest Host Form
    • Indictment Statement
    • Act 34 and 151 clearances (originals) 
    • Personal Data Form
    • Pre-Student Teacher Contract

    The EDUC 242 pre-student teacher is required to spend a minimum of 35 hours of observation for Clinical Experience I. The EDUC 342 pre-student teacher is required to spend a minimum of 35 hours of observation and participation for Clinical Experience II. Program requirements vary for these experiences, so please talk with your advisor, course instructor, or program coordinator to discuss the EDUC 242 and EDUC 342 clinical experiences. Students may log clinical experience hours in their prescribed schools at times during the semester that are mutually agreed upon with their cooperating teacher.

    Students must follow established departmental guidelines for pre-student teaching, Professional Sequence I (EDUC 242), and Professional Sequence II (EDUC 342). All placements in the public schools or other educational settings in Pennsylvania are processed only through the Educator Preparation Office. You may not make your own arrangements or contact teachers or principals for placements.

    Pre-clinical placements are made for the entire semester via the applications submitted to the Educator Preparation Office by your instructor. All efforts are made by the Educator Preparation Office to obtain the placement at the school district that you requested. IUP must have an approved affiliation agreement with the school district or site prior to your placement being confirmed. All school districts have the right to deny placement requests. It is therefore possible that all three of your requested placement locations can be denied. You will be placed in an alternate location as close as possible to your original requested location. 

    Request for placements cannot be located in the district that you graduated from, where family members are employed, or where your children currently attend.