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Frequently Asked Questions about Step Two

  • What does Step 2 mean?

    Step 2 it the final step before student teaching and graduation. It means you have completed at least 91 semester hours with a minimum 3.0 grade point average (required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education) and you are ready to student teach. In order to be cleared for Step 2, you must have earned a “C” or higher in your Liberal Studies math and science courses and all of your professional education courses. You must have satisfactorily completed your Step 2 e-portfolio, have current clearances, and you must have passed all of your subject/grade/discipline specific Praxis or PECT exams. Your program coordinator must recommend you for Step 2. No requirements will be waived, and no exceptions will be made.

    Where do I obtain a Step 2 application?

    You can obtain an application from your program coordinator. 

    Will there be any informational meetings to attend?

    Yes. All student teachers are required to attend a student teaching meeting that occurs in the semester before your student teaching experience. 

    What clearances 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).

    If you have an offense on one or more of your clearances, you must report that offense to the dean’s associate for Educator Preparation in 104 Stouffer Hall. The offense(s) must be disclosed by the dean’s associate to a school district prior to securing a placement.  

    Do I need to renew my Act 114(Fingerprinting) clearance?

    No. If a student teacher candidate is continuously enrolled in an educator preparation program, the student teacher candidate would not be required to have a new background check each year.

    Do I need to renew my other clearances?

    Yes, Acts 24, 34, 126, and 151 all must be renewed and uploaded to CastleBranch prior to field experiences and/or volunteering in classrooms.  

    Do I need a new 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. This test is completed only once at Step 1.

    Does my TB test need to be renewed while I am at IUP?

    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.

    Do I need to renew my personal liability insurance for pre-student teaching and student teaching?

    Yes. 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 is needed for Step 2 in the electronic portfolio?

    The portfolio is an electronic presentation of documents and artifacts created and compiled by a students to provide evidence that they have 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 or program coordinator will evaluate your Step 2 Portfolio in LiveText. For Step 2, it is essential to include artifacts and reflections that meet the InTASC standards. Your academic advisor or program coordinator should be able to assist you with questions regarding the Step 2 e-portfolio submission. Your Teacher Work Sample will be your Step 3 e-portfolio artifact and will be evaluated by your student teaching supervisor.

    What are the Praxis II exams?

    The Praxis II exams are a standardized test of specialized academic skills. Pennsylvania has mandated that all applicants for teaching certificates pass the exams. IUP requires that all education majors pass the exam before being accepted into Step 2. See the Praxis website for information about the exams. Students can either register to take the test online or the paper-based version. The Praxis bulletin is available at University Testing in 107 Pratt Hall. Praxis II exams are offered at the location you select on your registration form. A list of the specific dates are provided on the Educational Testing Service website. Tests are traditionally available in January, March, April, June, August, September, and November. You must register a minimum of four weeks before the test date.

    In order to prepare for the exams, you can obtain a free study guide “Tests at a Glance” from the Educational Testing Service website. Second, you are encouraged to try a practice test available from ETS.

    Praxis II exams may be taken multiple times. However, all Praxis exams must be passed in order to complete Step 2 and begin student teaching.

    What are the PECT exams?

    PECT exams are offered at the location you select on your registration form. A list of the specific dates are provided on the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests website. You must register a minimum of four weeks before the test date.

    In order to prepare for the PECT certification exams, go to the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests website. Select “What tests do I need to take?”, select the test you need for your specific certification areas, then select the “Preparation Materials” link in the upper right-hand corner of the page. All the preparation materials you will need for that particular test are available on that location.

    PECT exams may be taken multiple times. However, all PECT exams must be passed in order to complete Step 2 and begin student teaching.

    What should I do before my student teaching experience?

    Following official notification of your student teaching placement from the Educator Preparation Office, you should do the following:

    1. Read the Student Teaching Handbook.
    2. Review any policy and procedure manuals provided by cooperating teacher, the student teacher handbook, and any additional preparatory information.
    3. Submit all required paperwork to the Educator Preparation Office within the time frame outlined in the placement meeting. This paperwork should include updated clearances and Praxis/PECT scores.
    4. Compose a letter/e-mail to your cooperating teacher(s) that outlines your skills and expectations of the student teaching experience and requests a face-to-face meeting with your teacher(s)/mentor(s).
    5. Meet with cooperating teacher(s) to outline mutual goals and initial responsibilities as the student teacher within that person’s classroom.

    How do I find out who my student teaching supervisor will be?

    Each department assigns supervisors for student teaching. In most cases, the final determination of supervision is not determined until just before the beginning of your student teaching experience.

    What can I expect during my student teaching experience?

    Each Educator Preparation Program provides for a unique educational experience. Your program coordinator/supervisor will provide you with the expectations you will need to follow in order to successfully meet the requirements of your degree program. During your student teaching experience, you are required to continue to complete your electronic portfolio (Teacher Work Sample) as part of the three-step process. Evaluation of the electronic portfolio is completed by your university supervisor or advisor as determined by your program. Completion dates will be provided by your supervisor. Successful completion of this step is required to attain certification. A completed Pennsylvania teacher certification application should be submitted to the Teacher Education office near the end of your student teaching experience; applications can only be submitted the month of your graduation, not sooner. Be sure you submit your Marketplace application and pay the fees. This application will be sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for processing as soon as your graduation is verified by your college and the Registrar’s Office; the verification process could take several weeks after your actual graduation date.

    What should be included in the Step 2 application?

    The following must be presented to your program coordinator with your completed Step 2 application.

    1. Copy of transcript verifying completion of 91 semester hours or more with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
    2. Completion of the Liberal Studies science requirement courses with a minimum grade of “C.”
    3. Completion of all required professional education core courses with a minimum grade of “C.”
    4. Affirmative recommendation by the student’s program coordinator.
    5. Current Act 34 and Act 151 clearances. (Please note that clearances must be valid for the entire student teaching experience.)
    6. Complete and turn in with your application the grade checklist form, guest host form, and the indictment form.
    7. Updated résumé.

    Are there opportunities to teach abroad?

    Yes. Students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania who are enrolled as teacher education majors in all certification areas are eligible to participate in this half-semester student teaching program. Students are assigned to a teaching site in the United States for the first half of the semester. The second half of the student teaching experience is completed in an overseas site. The program is designed to provide students with teaching experiences in one of six European countries. Teaching assignments are made for all certification areas.