'At Risk' Process
Defining 'at risk'
When the standard of work of a Teacher Education Student indicates they are at risk of failing a Professional Experience placement, a formal process is used to indicate the area or areas in which the Teacher Education Student needs to improve. A Teacher Education Student may be placed ‘at risk’ in relation to their teaching practice and/or in relation to the standard of written work presented. Regardless of the reason, the Teacher Education Student is required to present their written work for assessment to the Professional Experience unit coordinator on the first working day after completion of placement.
Early notification of being at risk of failing is in the Teacher Education Student’s best interest. Identifying struggling Teacher Education Students as early as possible can give sufficient time to improve their work. Teacher Education Students who are ‘at risk’ have the opportunity to reach a passing standard in their practice teaching.
Some points to note about ‘at risk’:
- ‘At risk’ causes stress for a Teacher Education Student. When stressed, Teacher Education Students may need assistance and support. Directing them to the unit coordinator is helpful. Please remind Teacher Education Students of their need for professionalism throughout the process.
- Warning Teacher Education Students that they may be placed ‘at risk’ can increase anxiety and may mean they don’t receive the assistance they need. If you feel a Teacher Education Student is not performing in relation to expectations, please use the ‘at risk’ process rather than putting matters off.
- Sometimes there is a reluctance to place Teacher Education Students ‘at risk’. However be assured there will be additional support from the University for the Teacher Education Student if they are placed ‘at risk’.
Determining 'at risk'
If there are concerns about a Teacher Education Student, the Supervising Teacher and Tertiary Supervisor, and potentially the unit convenor, discuss the concerns to determine whether placing the student ‘at risk’ formally is required. This discussion could include:
- “How is the Teacher Education Student doing?”
- “Is there anything that is noteworthy at this stage of the placement?”
- “Are there any issues that need to be discussed with the Teacher Education Student?”
In many cases encouragement and strategic advice can transform a placement. However, if concerns are of a more serious nature and the Teacher Education Student may not be able to meet the expectations of the Professional Experience, it is of utmost importance that the Teacher Education Student be placed at risk of failure as early as possible. There may be areas of concern and elements in the evaluation document that are not being demonstrated. This is a strong indicator that the Teacher Education Student should be placed at risk of failure. Although we do not wish to pre-empt failure, we recognise that the earlier supportive intervention is offered the more likely it is that the experience can be turned from a potential fail into a success.
The 'at risk' process
When the supervising teacher and/or the Tertiary Supervisor are concerned about a Teacher Education Student's progress the following steps should be taken.
- An ‘at risk’ determination concerning the Teacher Education Student (TES) is made, usually by the Supervising Teacher (ST) and/or Tertiary Supervisor (TS). Although in some instances it is the unit convenor in consultation with the Supervising Teacher.
- Section A and B of the ‘at risk’ form is prepared electronically or handwritten and signed by all parties (TES, ST & TS). It is emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and the unit convenor is informed. The TES, ST and TS receive a copy of this form.
- The unit convenor collects information about the ‘at risk’ case and speaks with the ST and TS.
- The unit convenor speaks with the TES and arranges the follow-up ‘at risk’ visit with the TES at the centre or school. If the ‘at risk’ is only for bookwork the unit convenor would not usually visit the centre, but the TES must submit their folder/written work to the Professional Experience Office at the completion of their placement.
- At this follow-up visit the unit convenor observes the TES teaching and reviews their bookwork and completes the follow-up ‘at risk’ form, which outlines whether the TES is improving. The form is signed by the unit convenor, the TES and the ST. The TES and ST receive a copy of this form.
At this visit the decision is either:
- sufficient improvement demonstrated (continue Professional Experience), or
- insufficient progress shown, in which case the placement is terminated and the TES receives a Fail for the unit.
- Final determination of the ‘at risk’ process is completed by the unit convenor after the follow-up visit.
- The unit convenor informs the Initial Teacher Education Program Director if there are serious issues that require follow-up.