Program Standard 2: Professional, Legal and Ethical Practices

Each program must provide instruction in the philosophy, history and legal requirements, and ethical practices of special education. This curriculum includes state and federal mandates, legal requirements for assessment, Individualized Family Service Program, Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and monitoring, services, and instruction of students with disabilities. The program provides candidates information on laws and regulations as they pertain to promoting teacher behavior that is positive and self-regulatory as well as promoting safe educational environments. The program provides opportunities for demonstration of ethical standards, of teaching, of evidence based educational practices in relation to theories, research and regulations necessary to the provision of services to individuals with disabilities and their families.

The table below identifies how the components of Program Standard 2 are addressed for the Education Specialist credential programs.

Program Standard 2 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

Philosophy, history

SPED 120; SPED 145

Legal requirements

SPED 120; 246; 247;

Ethical practices

SPED 120; 125; 136; 246; 146, 247; 219; 233

State and federal mandates

SPED 120; 125; 246; 146; 247

Legal requirements for assessment

SPED 120; 130; 246

Instruction of Students with Disabilities

SPED 136; 246; 146; 247

IEP, IFSP development, services & monitoring

SPED 120; 130; 246; 145; 247

Safe educational environments

SPED 120; 125; 145; 247

Candidates receive instruction in the philosophy, history and legal requirements, and ethical practices of special education throughout the credential program. Their understanding of the philosophy, history, legal requirements, and ethical practices begins in SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education with a primary emphasis, and is reviewed in many other courses that include topics, such as the history of assessment, eligibility, models of service delivery, person-first language, UDL versus retrofitting an already designed lesson, tiered interventions, etc., are taught through example, story, legal actions, etc., and are evidenced through students’ philosophy statements and understandings of their role related to IDEA/504/ADA mandates. Special education candidates’ demonstration of ethical practices is evaluated on several occasions over the course of the credential program on the “Dispositions Evaluation”. Dispositions assessed are valuing diversity, critical thinking, being an ethical educator, collaboration, life-long learning, and reflection. Teacher candidates complete a Dispositions Evaluation at the beginning of the program in SPED 130: Assessing Students with Special Needs. During the program each course and assignments emphasize particular dispositions. At the end of the program in SPED 219: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnershipsthe candidates are again assessed and they review the results and can use them to plan for their Induction goals.

SPED 233: Special Educator as Researcher addresses emerging mandates and ethical issues in the field through reading and conducting research such as over-representation, inclusive practices, non-biased assessments, and using data appropriately to make decisions about students and their needs. Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) Code of Ethics for Educators of Persons with Exceptionalities are provided to candidates and used as a basis for ethical decisions in our field. 

Individual Education Plan (IEP), IFSP (individual Family Service Plans), and transition planning are introduced, practiced, developed and implemented across the program with repeated experiences. SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education provides a basic overview to the IEPs/IFSPs as to history, parts, meeting notification, meeting agenda, types of meeting facilitation, student participation/led and timeline/legal requirements. An IEP meeting is role played and attended. Members of the team and their source of particular data is shared (ie nurse related to vision and hearing). SPED 130: Assessing Students with Special Needs continues in the use of assessment results (data) to inform the teacher and the IEP/IFSP team to make informed decisions for and with the student/child. Teacher candidates are instructed to collect data from a variety of sources such as normed assessments, criterion assessments, surveys, curriculum -based measures, observation, parent input and student preferences (reinforcement inventory). SPED 125: Positive Behavior and Social Supports provides input as to behavior supports documented on the IEP (services, contracts, etc). The SPED core methods courses (SPED 136, 246, 146, 247) include direct instruction on the development of an IEP/IFSP, emphasizing the use of evidence-based educational practices. In the concurrent fieldwork experiences (SPED 175/176) the candidates develop, implement and monitor IEPs. Transition planning is explicitly covered in SPED 246, 247 and SPED 219 where candidates collaboratively develop a transition plan presentation.

Program standard 2 is addressed in the course SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education. The course includes an overview of history, state and federal mandates, legal requirements for the referral, assessment, and identification processes, as well as Individualized Family Service Program, Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and monitoring, services, and instruction of students with disabilities. These are addressed through class lectures, discussions, text reading, role-playing and scenarios, and they are assessed through examination.

Federal and California mandates regarding Positive Behavior Supports are addressed in SPED 125: Positive Behavioral and Social Supports. Candidates develop an effective classroom management plan for responding to minor and major behavior disruptions in the learning environment, and apply behavior expectations and standards in the classroom that support a safe, positive learning environment. This course promotes teacher behavior that is positive and self-regulatory; as well as promoting safe educational environments through the development and practice of expectations, school-wide positive support networks, functional analysis assessment for targeted issues, use of replacement behaviors, and through the use of student self-monitoring in the LRE. Teacher candidates then apply and document these skills again in the Final Practicum setting (SPED 175/176).

The laws and mandates regarding assessment are covered in SPED 130: Assessment of Students with Special Needs. SPED 145: Environmental Design for Students with Disabilities addresses the research-based characteristics of integrated and inclusive placement options within the legally-mandated continuum of placement options for students with disabilities through readings and course assignments. This knowledge is formatively assessed through a course quiz administered on Blackboard.

In SPED 156: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, candidates examine the educational, psychological, and political issues that arise when developing collaborative relationships with families, interdisciplinary team members, general educators, agency professionals, and students themselves. The focus is on the development of materials, strategies, and skills to work with the range of individuals on the educational teams of students with disabilities, both effectively and positively. Additionally, the characteristics of and strategies related to content areas such as: person-centered planning, self-determination, and capacity building are addressed in SPED 156, as sound, ethically-based strategies that create and support safe educational environments.

Evidence-based educational practices in relation to theories, research and regulations necessary for the provision of services to individuals with disabilities and their families are covered in SPED 136 and 137 (M/M), 146 and 147 (M/S). For example,SPED 136: Assessment, Curriculum Design & Instruction for Students with M/M Disabilities prepares candidates to design and deliver effective instruction and assessment for students with mild/moderate disabilities. This course provides a knowledge base of strategies and interventions for students who are not responding to the current instructional environment with a focus on response to instruction, universal design for learning, evidence-based curricula, and effective instructional methods. Teacher candidates apply this knowledge to design a unit based on principles of UDL and differentiating instruction. The unit is implemented in Final Practicum. In SPED 246: Specialized Academic Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, students are introduced to appropriate methodology and an array of research-based strategies that address specialized academic instruction students for students with diverse learning needs. Candidates gain an understanding of appropriate methodology for the development, monitoring, and coordination of the Individualized Education Program (IEP), the Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP), and transition planning for students with mild-moderate disabilities.

In the area of moderate-severe disabilities, SPED 146: Assessment and Instruction for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities, prepares candidates to use evidence-based practices, such as ecological assessment and systematic instruction in the context of academic and activity-based learning objectives and goals. The link to IEP progress monitoring is addressed through the instruction of various data collection strategies and in the development of individualized instructional plans. SPED 247: Advanced Environmental Design and Instruction for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilitiesapplies the same assessment and instructional strategies to areas of communication and social skill/relationship development for students with moderate-severe disabilities. The link to IEP progress monitoring is again addressed through the instruction of various data collection strategies and in the development of individualized instructional plans.

SPED 233: The Special Educator as Researcher addresses the knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement evidence- based, multifaceted methodologies and strategies to teach and engage students with disabilities through assignments that require the demonstration of the knowledge of and ability to interpret, apply, and disseminate current and emerging research in educating diverse learners. Teacher candidates write a literature review on a topic in the field that reflects current findings, and through critical thinking, analysis, and reflection, candidates share their findings and conclusions. Through a research design project (Single Subject or Action Research), teacher candidates also investigate and intervene on an issue in their teaching setting that requires the ability to assess the authenticity, reliability and bias of the data gathered, and share their findings/results.

M/M Standard 2: Assessment and Evaluation of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

The program prepares candidates to demonstrate knowledge and skills related to using and communicating the results of a variety of individualized assessment and evaluation approaches appropriate for students with mild/moderate disabilities covered under the authorization. The program prepares candidates to make appropriate educational decisions on the basis of a variety of non-biased standardized and non-standardized techniques, instruments and processes that are standards-based and/or curriculum-based, and appropriate to the diverse needs of individual students. The program prepares candidates to utilize these approaches to assess the developmental, academic, behavioral, social, communication, career and community life skill needs of students, and monitor students’ progress. The program prepares candidates to plan for and participate in state-mandated accountability measures.

M/M Standard 2 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

demonstrate knowledge and skills related to using and communicating the results of a variety of individualized assessment and

evaluation approaches appropriate for students with mild/moderate disabilities

SPED 120; 130; 136; 246; 175

candidates make appropriate educational decisions on the basis of a variety of non-biased standardized and non-standardized techniques, instruments and processes that are standards-based and/or curriculum-based, and appropriate to the diverse needs of individual students

SPED 130; 136; 246; 175

candidates to utilize these approaches to assess the developmental, academic, behavioral, social, communication, career and community life skill needs of students

SPED 125; 130; 145; 219

monitor students’ progress

SPED 130; 246; 175

candidates to plan for and participate in state-mandated accountability measures.

SPED 175

Throughout the Education Specialist credential program, candidates are prepared to assess and evaluate students with mild/moderate disabilities. Assessment strategies and subsequent decision-making about instructional and individual student supports are introduced in SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education through content related to referral and assessment processes, as well as the SST Student Study team or Pre-referral process and Response to Intervention/Instruction (RTI) practices.

Candidates build upon their introductory knowledge and skill base, learning to use and communicate the results of a variety of individualized assessment and evaluation approaches appropriate for students with mild/moderate disabilities. Candidates learn to make appropriate educational decisions on the basis of a variety of non-biased standardized and non-standardized techniques, instruments and processes that are standards-based and/or curriculum-based, and appropriate to the diverse needs of individual students through subsequent coursework. Throughout their coursework, teacher candidates learn to understand that assessment should be an ongoing process, and that assessment and instruction cannot be separated.

In SPED 130: Assessment of Students with Special Needs, teacher candidates learn to conduct formal and informal assessments such as WJ-III norm-referenced standardized academic achievement test and curriculum-based assessments to diagnose, determine eligibility for special education services, and make instructional decisions based on the data collected. Candidates are introduced to test accommodations and modifications. Teacher candidates in SPED 130 are required to complete a formal standardized academic assessment project and a curriculum-based assessment project to assess reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, etc., for instructional planning and evaluation purposes.

In SPED 136: Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities and concurrent practicum (SPED 171), students study the RTI (response to intervention) model, examples of RTI models and the philosophy behind RTI, and they complete an RTI Planning and Decision-Making Project. Using the resources provided in class, students assess their school’s readiness to implement RTI in the areas of leadership, teaming, curriculum, and assessment. Then, they write a rationale that describes existing, effective elements, needs for improvement, necessary components for success, and an action plan for improvement. They survey the current assessments used at the school site for screening, progress monitoring, and diagnosis in reading and math. In addition, students evaluate instruction by progress monitoring a student (or small group of students) in reading or math and use assessment data to make decisions about the effectiveness of the instruction. In this course, students also design and implement a unit in math, science, or social studies that exemplifies principles of Universal Design and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all students; this assignment requires students to monitor, collect, and report on evidence of student progress throughout the unit to make decisions about the effectiveness of their instruction. Candidates build upon their knowledge of accommodations and modifications and learn about ways to identify and alleviate barriers to improve accessibility in assessment and instruction.

In the subsequent semester, students take SPED 246: Specialized Academic Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities along with their final practicum experience (SPED 175). Students complete a comprehensive teaching sample project for which they plan, implement, and evaluate an intervention for students struggling in reading math; for this assignment, they are required to monitor and evaluate student progress. Another assignment for this course requires students to write an IEP or IFSP using multiple sources of information to make decisions regarding eligibility, services, instructional and assessment accommodations and modifications, and test participation, including state accountability assessments. As the state continues its implementation of Common Core State Standards, issues of accommodations and modifications within the context of the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be more explicitly addressed.

This content is then built upon in subsequent coursework.In SPED 145: Designing Effective Environments for Students with Disabilities, for example, candidates extend their knowledge and use of strategies such as UDL and differentiation, as well as utilize an adaptation decision-making model in order to design a comprehensive plan of individual student supports for the final project. Additionally, core methods courses in both the Mild-Moderate and Moderate-Severe credentials apply assessment and instructional decision-making strategies more specifically (SPED 136/137; SPED 146/147). Concurrent fieldwork (SPED 171/175; SPED 172/176) focuses on the implementation and utilization of this knowledge base.

Candidates learn about behavioral and social assessments in SPED 125: Positive Behavior and Social Supports focuses on: a) theoretical and ethical foundations of positive behavior supports and; b) managing a learning; c) functional behavioral assessment; d) development and implementation of positive behavior support plans, and e) supporting students to develop as self-regulated learners. Teacher candidates complete a Functional Behavioral Assessment on one identified student with challenging behavior. In addition to in-class lectures and class discussion, candidates also complete modules on Functional Assessment at http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/fba/cresource.htm . Based on the data compiled from the functional behavioral assessment, candidates complete a Positive Behavior Support Plan. Students access the PENT website at www.pent.ca.gov for additional assistance in completing both projects.

Specific content related to curricular adaptations and an adaptation decision-making model is introduced in SPED 120: Intro to Special Education and further enhanced in SPED 145: Designing Effective Environments for Students with Disabilities, to support the candidates’ abilities to provide classroom accommodations based on learner characteristics for students with high and low incidence disabilities.

 

Candidates develop knowledge and skills related to developmental, communication, and career and community life skills through a variety of coursework. In SPED 219: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, the focus is on the development of materials, strategies, and skills to work with the range of individuals on the educational teams of students with disabilities, both effectively and positively. Additionally, the characteristics of and strategies related to content areas such as: person-centered planning, self-determination, and capacity building are addressed in SPED 156, as sound, ethically-based strategies that create and support safe educational environments. Students learn to work in collaboration with families to evaluate the developmental, communication, and transition needs of students. Further, in SPED 145: Designing Effective Environments for Students with Disabilities, candidates demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of effective community-based, vocational/career, life skills, and transition services and supports, and they learn to use these characteristics to when planning appropriate supports for students.

M/S Standard 2: Communication Skills: Developing Social Interaction Skills and Facilitating Social Relationships

The program provides opportunities for candidates to demonstrate the ability to assess their students’ verbal and non-verbal communication abilities. Each candidate utilizes assessment data to: 1) identify effective intervention and support techniques, 2) develop needed augmentative and alternative systems, 3) implement instruction of communication and social skills, 4) create and facilitate opportunities for interaction and 5) develop communication methods to demonstrate student academic knowledge.

M/S Standard 2 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

Demonstrate ability to assess their students’ verbal & non-verbal communication abilities

SPED 247

Utilize assessment data to: identify effective intervention and support techniques

SPED 146; 247; 172; 176

develop needed augmentative and alternative systems

SPED 247; 176

implement instruction of communication and social skills

SPED 247; 176

create and facilitate opportunities for interaction

SPED 247; 156; 172; 176

develop communication methods to demonstrate student academic knowledge

SPED 246; 172; 176

SPED 247: Advanced Environment Design and Instruction for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities, addresses the assessment and instructional strategies used to develop individualized and culturally sensitive communication systems and related goals, as well as strategies to teach communication skills in natural and meaningful contexts. All communication skills taught and systems introduced are based on promoting the independence of the student and promote student choice and use of self-determined/self-advocacy behaviors. Finally, understanding challenging behavior and the relationship to communication and meaningful relationships is used to begin the semester and revisited at the end, as well. Augmentative and alternative communication systems, as well as other assistive technologies in the classroom are introduced. Specifically, content and resources related to the use of the iPad, iPhone, and iTouch as augmented communication aides are examined. Webinars by leading researchers in the area of AAC and AT for students who do not rely on verbal communication are used as additional instructional tools. Guest speakers who utilize a range of assistive technologies and augmentative communication supports visit the class to demonstrate the use of technology supports in educational and community environments. The Communication Project, a signature assignment in SPED 147, requires that candidates attend to individual student characteristics and age/developmental level (such as mobility, motor planning, positioning, and sensory characteristics) in order to consider a range of no/low-tech and high-tech augmented communication supports and systems to be used across a variety of educational environments (classrooms, transition times, nonacademic (social) settings, natural community environments). Another course assignment, Facilitating Full and Active Integration and Access to Social Environments, supports candidates in reflection on and identification of the ways in which they are supporting the development of social relationships and the active integration of students with disabilities into classroom and school environments which takes into account the student’s communication strengths and needs.

Concurrent fieldwork experiences (SPED 172 and 176) provide students with the opportunity to implement instruction, intervention, and assessment techniques that are contextually relevant and support student communication needs. Implementation is assessed by the master teacher and university supervisor.

SPED 219: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, addresses facilitation of interactions between students with disabilities and general education teachers and students via course content on the role of instructional aides and support staff as facilitators and connectors to curriculum, peers, teachers, and school environments. Additionally, the IA Training and Management Plans assignment requires that candidates develop clearly articulated expectations and roles/responsibilities for support staff and instructional aides, which are both classroom and student specific. This assignment also requires that they develop a schedule of training sessions and systematic evaluation methods for instructional aides, in areas such as facilitation of student involvement across school environments and with peers.

SPED 172 and 176: Initial and Final Practicum in Moderate-Severe Disabilities, are the fieldwork component of the Moderate-Severe disabilities credential. Both semesters of fieldwork are compromised of structured weekly expectations and activities, as well as the implementation of fieldwork requirements that are connected to content of core methods courses and observed by a university supervisor.

ASDAA Standard 2: Teaching, Learning and Behavior Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The program ensures that each candidate is able to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities to become proficient in implementing evidence-based and multi-faceted methodologies and strategies necessary in teaching and engaging students with ASD from acquisition to generalization.

Standard addressed in SPED 250, 251 & 252

A process and framework for designing comprehensive intervention plans for individuals of all ages with ASD will be introduced in SPED 252. An overview of the research supporting interventions at each of the five levels of the Intervention Ziggurat and an in-depth review of the research on a broad range of treatment techniques will be presented.

Candidates will be able to identify the underlying characteristics of an individual student, along with the importance of strengths and skills in the development of the intervention plan. The candidates will understand the importance to programming to each of the following levels: Sensory and biological needs, reinforcement, structure, task demand and skills to teach. Candidate will learn the importance of planning for generalization amongst various settings, environments, people and activities. Candidates will have knowledge of data collection, and progress monitoring to ensure success for the individual student.

Candidates will be able to complete the Underlying Characteristic Checklist (UCC), Individual Strengths and Skills Inventory (ISSI), ABC-iceberg (ABC-), Global and Specific Intervention Guide, Ziggurat Worksheet, and Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS).

In SPED 251 Candidates will understand the need for social skills programming for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and other social difficulties by providing a comprehensive model that incorporates the following five steps: assess social functioning, distinguish between skill acquisition and performance deficits, select interventions strategies, implement intervention and evaluate and monitor progress. Candidates will describe how to organize and make sense of the myriad social skills strategies and resources available to professionals.

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