Candidates Rights and Responsibilities

Respect and Confidentiality

teacher with colorful materials on students deskAll teacher candidates are reminded to exhibit professional behavior at all times. Professional behavior includes demonstrating respect for all facutly and staff, students, their parents, and school personnel.  All individualized K-12 student information learned in the process of completing a degree and licensure at Wheaton College is to remain strictly confidential.  To maintain this confidentiality, teacher candidates are asked to use pseudonyms in any of their descriptions of students or other school personnel in written papers and assignments.

Wheaton College teacher candidates are advised that there is no time limit on this confidentiality.  By participating in the program, Wheaton College teacher candidates agree to exhibit professional behavior and to maintain confidentiality.

Problem Resolution

During a practicum or during student teaching, should problems or misunderstandings arise, they are brought to the attention of the college supervisor by the teacher candidate, the cooperating teacher or the building principal. If the situation remains unresolved, the appropriate Program Coordinator and the Licensure Officer will become involved, and if necessary, the Chair of the Department of Education. Changes in practica or student teaching assignments are made reluctantly and only if they appear to be in the best interests all parties.  

At the end of the methods practicum semester, a final decision is made concerning a candidate's acceptability and preparedness for student teaching.  If the cooperating teacher's or college supervisor's recommendations are such that continuance in a practica or student teaching is not recommended, a program of remediation may be designed or the teacher candidate may be denied continuance in the teacher education program.  The final decision to recommend a teacher candidate for licensure will be contingent on successful completion of the student teaching experience, and completion of all college graduation and ISBE licensure requirements. 

Appeal Process

Any candidate who is denied admission to or continuation in the Wheaton Teacher Education Program (WheTEP), student teaching, or a recommendation for licensure is entitled to a fair and impartial appeal of the decision.  In order to appeal a decision, the following steps should be taken:

  • Within ten business days of receiving the written notification of the decision of the faculty in the Department of Education, the candidate should present a formal letter to the Chair of the Department of Education, requesting reconsideration of the decision.  This letter should address the concerns raised by the faculty and provide specific details on how the candidate will address each concern.
  • The candidate may submit supporting materials for the reconsideration.
  • The candidate may request to appear in person before the faculty.  If this request is granted, the hearing before the Education faculty will be conducted in accordance with the Wheaton College Procedure for Conducting Hearings.
  • After receipt of the request to appear before the faculty, a majority of the faculty of the Department of Education will meet at its earliest convenience but not later than ten business days after receipt of the request.  The faculty will reconsider its decision and inform the candidate in writing of its decision within five business days.
  • The candidate may appeal the reconsidered decision of the faculty of the Department of Education.  To do so, the candidate should present a formal letter of appeal to the Dean within ten business days of receipt of the decision of the faculty of the Department of Education.  Should the Dean grant a personal hearing to the appellant, said hearing will be conducted in accordance with the Wheaton College Procedure for Conducting Hearings.
  • The decision of the Dean is final. 
  • In all steps, the candidate may be represented by an attorney.  If the candidate wishes to have representation by an attorney, Wheaton College will also engage representation. The College will require sufficient notice (a minimum of three weeks) to secure appropriate counsel.

Adopted by the Department of Education, November 16, 2000 and reaffirmed April 12, 2018.

Formal Complaint Procedure

In the event that any candidate believes that he/she has not been treated fairly in any assessment process or if he/she believes that extenuating circumstances should be considered, a formal complaint may be filed.  Prior to filing a formal complaint, the candidate must meet with the professor/assessor and attempt to resolve the situation.  If no resolution results, the candidate must file a written complaint with the Chair of the Department of Education.  The Chair will hear the complaint, investigate any issues, and issue a written decision.  Should the candidate feel that his/her complaint was not fairly heard, he/she may appeal to the Dean.  The Dean's decision is final.  The Department of Education maintains a file of formal complaints and their resolution.

Screening for Appropriate Dispositions

The Department of Education screens its candidates for appropriate dispositions to teach through three means: 

  • observations and cooperating teacher evaluations during clinical experiences
  • the formal WheTEP interview
  • the Assessment of Pre-service Teacher Dispositions and Virtues form - requiring both student reflections and faculty assessment in foundational courses EDUC 101, EDUC 136, EDUC 225, and EDUC 305

A disposition referral may be completed by any supervisor, school partner, staff member, or faculty member regarding a student exhibiting unprofessional or Christ-like behavior or language. A candidate's referral history is reviewed prior to admittance into WheTEP and prior to a candidate being allowed to begin the methods practicum and student teaching.

Additionally, a candidate's dispositions to teach are carefully monitored during the methods practicum and the student teaching experience.  A candidate may be removed from any placement or be denied licensure if, in the judgment of the faculty members, he/she does not exhibit the appropriate dispositions to teach.  

Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

As the official scorer of the edTPA, Pearson screens portions of submitted edTPA materials by their official scorers and by detection software as noted on their Candidate Policies for Administrative Review that are posted on the website. Furthermore, WheTEP candidates must confirm nine statements related to the integrity of the contents being uploaded to Pearson. This attestation includes verification that the work is original to the submitter and that all other sources are cited properly.

Any WheTEP candidate suspected of cheating or plagiarism on the edTPA will meet with a panel made up of the Department Chair, the Licensure Officer, and the appropriate Program Coordinator to determine whether the student has cheated or plagiarized work submitted for scoring. The panel will also determine the appropriate disciplinary actions that result. Wheaton College's Student Development Office will be contacted regarding any previous incident of cheating. The panel will inquire as to any similar incidents or history of concerns from among department faculty and/or staff.

Examples of disciplinary actions include: failing student teaching, dropping the student from the Wheaton Teacher Education Program, and preventing the candidate from being entitled for licensure. Based on prior evidence of cheating or plagiarism, Student Development may also be involved in determining disciplinary action.

If a student is found to have cheated or plagiarized and disciplinary actions are taken, the student has the right to follow the appeal process as described above.