MSSP Practicum

The practicum for your program is considered a high stakes assessment. You are expected to complete your practicum assessment during the term in which you are approved by the WGU Field Placement office and have accepted the practicum assessment into your term, ideally the first date of a new term. If you wish to accelerate the practicum assessment into a current term, it will be important to work closely with your mentor to ensure that you have enough time to complete the practicum, which must be done by the end of the term. 


When the WGU Field Placement office approves your practicum, they will enter the date of the practicum to reflect the date of the field approval and the end date based on your degree plan. Before you may begin your practicum, you must enroll and accept the practicum into registration for the current term. 


Your placement must be at the appropriate level in an accredited U.S. school that meets WGU and state licensure requirements. Different states and different WGU programs have specific placement requirements.  Placements must be in a traditional, on ground setting (residential treatment facilities, prisons, home schools or virtual placements do not meet this requirement). WGU does not allow field placements to be waived or shortened regardless of an advanced program candidate’s previous experience. 


KENTUCKY ONLY: Students in the MSSP program must complete their in-school practicum and teacher work sample either in a Kentucky private school or in a state other than Kentucky.


You will have the opportunity to develop and refine your teaching skills in a supportive, real-world classroom environment. You also have the opportunity to demonstrate the following Five Core Propositions outlined by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) relating to what Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do: 

  • Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
  • Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
  • Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
  • Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
  • Teachers are members of learning communities.

The clinical supervisor will provide detailed feedback regarding your teaching performance and mastery of the following WGU teaching competencies:


  • Lesson Planning: Plan lessons that are aligned to standards and measurable goals and objectives and that are engaging and relevant for students.
  • Lesson Presentation: Communicate objectives to students and build on previous learning.
  • Content Explanation & Demonstration: Explain lesson concepts and skills logically, accurately, and explicitly.
  • Classroom Environment and Management: Demonstrate positive, supportive, and respectful interactions with students and manage classroom behavior with behavior specific and timely responses.
  • Academic Monitoring: Check for lesson mastery and monitor student comprehension during lessons.
  • Dispositional Aspects: Exhibit a professional appearance and demeanor and be a reflective, collaborative, and ethical practitioner.

The observations and final evaluation align to the following Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Initial Level Special Educator Preparation Standards:


  • Learner Development and Individual Learning Differences: The candidate understands how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and uses this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities. (CEC Standard #1)
  • Learning Environments: The candidate creates safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination. (CEC Standard #2)
  • Curricular Content Knowledge: The candidate uses knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities. (CEC Standard #3)
  • Assessment: The candidate uses multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions. (CEC Standard #4)
  • Instructional Planning and Strategies: The candidate selects, adapts, and uses a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities. (CEC Standard #5)
  • Professional Learning and Practice: The candidate uses foundational knowledge of the field and personal professional ethical principles and practice standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession. (CEC Standard #6)
  • Collaboration: The candidate collaborates with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences (as appropriate). (CEC Standard #7)