Program Standard 3: Educating Diverse Learners

The program provides instruction in understanding and acceptance of differences in culture, cultural heritage, ethnicity, language, age, religion, social economic status, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and abilities and disabilities of individuals served. In addition, the program provides knowledge and application of pedagogical theories, development of academic language and principles/practices for English language usage leading to comprehensive literacy in English. The program ensures each candidate is able to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities to become proficient in implementing evidence based and multifaceted methodologies and strategies necessary in teaching and engaging students with disabilities from diverse populations.

Program Standard 3 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

Instruction in understanding and acceptance of differences (culture, ethnicity, etc.)

SPED 120; 145; LEE 172

Knowledge & application of pedagogical theories, development of academic language, principles/practices for English language usage to comprehensive literacy in English

SPED 120; 145; 146, 136; 246; LEE 172

Knowledge, skills and abilities to implement evidence based & multifaceted methodologies & strategies to teach and engage students w/disabilities

SPED 120; 130; 136; 246; 145; 146; 247; 171; 172; 175, 176; 219, 233

Program Standard 3 is addressed in a multitude of ways in the credential programs. First, each candidate is evaluated with regard to the demonstration of his/her "commitment to diversity", or respect for students from various backgrounds and differences and the focus of students, as valued and unique on the Dispositions Evaluation throughout the program (see the policy about dispositions). As a NCATE institution, all of our programs evaluate our six dispositions, previously listed, with valuing diversity being taught, modeled, and assessed.

The understanding and acceptance of differences in culture, cultural heritage, ethnicity, language, age, religion, social economic status, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and abilities and disabilities of individuals served are covered in SPED 120, SPED 145, LEE 172, and SPED 219.

Teacher candidates also attend a seminar connected to fieldwork related to At-risk students that specifically covers gender identity/expression and sexual orientation as it relates to educating and serving diverse learners and their interactions in schools and community. Teacher candidates do an activity matching school and community resources with classroom or environmental supports for the students. Bullying and resiliency are also covered. SPED 145 has curriculum covering issues of gender and sexuality for students with disabilities.

One of the first assignments in the Education Specialist credential program requires candidates to examine their beliefs about education in the form of a philosophy statement that is written in LEE 172: Cultural and Language Contexts of the Classroom. This assignment gives candidates an opportunity to formally examine their thoughts about the values and beliefs necessary to meet the needs of all students. Their written statements are then used as a starting-point in examining their own beliefs and values. High expectations and appropriate instructional strategies for all students are discussed and practiced through activities and assignments throughout the program.

Each candidate in the Education Specialist credential program participates in field assignments, which by design include diverse placements. For example, candidates experience children with different ethnic backgrounds, culture, language, socioeconomic conditions, grade and instructional levels different from their own. Starting with undergraduate coursework, the candidates have a field assignment linked to elementary classrooms. This begins in EHD 50: Introduction to Teaching. Then, in their first semester, candidates have an early fieldwork experience (EHD 174: Field Study A: Grades 4-8) in a diverse placement. In addition SPED 171/172: Initial Practicum in SPED and SPED 175/176: Final Practicum in SPED, provide opportunities for experiences to effectively teach diverse students. Placements afford candidates the opportunity to prepare and use instructional strategies, activities, and materials that are appropriate for students with diverse needs, interests, and developmental levels.

Secondly, this standard is the focus in several courses. In both the M/M and M/S Credential programs, candidates are required to take SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education, which provides an introduction to the terminology, identification, and issues commonly encountered when addressing the needs of diverse students with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on inclusion, diversity issues, federal and state legislative mandates pertinent to nondiscriminatory assessments, parental involvement and individualized educational plans, and professional practice and foundations in special education. This course incorporates an observational fieldwork component, which allows candidates to reflect on evidence-based content of the course in the context of a real classroom experience through the completion of the School-based Observation and Interview Report/Reflection assignment.

In SPED 125: Positive Behavior and Social Supports, candidates learn that many culturally-influenced factors affect a student's classroom behavior, and that in order to be effective in diverse educational settings, teachers must give consideration to these factors when they interact with students. Candidates complete an IRIS Module: Understanding Cultural Influences on Behavior to learn about culturally responsive instruction.

Coursework throughout the program focuses on response to instruction, universal design for learning, evidence-based curricula, and effective instructional methods for students with diverse learning needs. Candidates are encouraged to integrate the strategies learned in SPED 130, 136, 137, 146, and 147 in their practicum experiences (SPED 171/175 [MM] & 172/176 [MS]). In addition, candidates learn to accommodate classroom instruction based on individual learner characteristics. Specific content related to curricular adaptations and an adaptation decision-making model is introduced in SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education and further enhanced in SPED 130: Assessing Students with Special Needs, and 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.

In SPED 130: Assessing Students with Special Needs, teacher candidates complete formal and informal assessment projects to identify needs of diverse learners. In their core curriculum coursework, students complete projects that require them to plan instruction for children with diverse learning needs. In SPED 136: Assessment, Curriculum, & Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, students identify barriers to accessing instruction, curriculum, and assessment; then they plan a unit in mathematics, science, or social studies that incorporates elements of universal design and differentiated instruction. In SPED 246: Specialized Academic Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, students plan an intervention in reading or mathematics and evaluate their instruction based on student response. In SPED 146: Assessment and Instruction for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities students use the ecological assessment process to identify learning goals and/or skills in need of instruction for students with moderate-severe disabilities. This multi-faceted assessment process is then used to guide teacher candidates to the developing of plans of systematic instruction, IEP goals, and participation plans, which articulate individual student participation, curricular adaptations, and supports. These same skills and processes are applied to instruction of communication skills and development of individualized augmented communication systems in SPED 247: Advanced Environmental Design and Instruction for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities.

Guest speakers are used throughout SPED 219: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships in order to support candidates' acceptance of and reflection on a range of student and family differences. Because these guest speakers come from the local community, they represent the tremendous race, ethnicity, SES, and disability diversity that exists in area school. Additionally, one component of the Student Project in SPED 156: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships requires candidates to interview parents and/or family members from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Initial and final practicum experiences in both the MM and MS credentials focus on the implementation of the knowledge and skills related to the education of diverse learners addressed in core methods courses. The concurrent fieldwork experiences in both credentials have multiple, structured opportunities for candidates to receive formative and summative feedback about their ability to apply a range of methodologies and strategies to classroom settings and other school environments. Program standards 15 & 16 address the structure of fieldwork and formative and summative evaluation processes for candidates in both the MM and MS credentials. During the last practicum experience of the Preliminary credential program, candidates are evaluated in each area of this standard related to their instructional delivery and student learning during supervisor visits, observations, and meetings.

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 3: Planning and Implementing Mild/Moderate Curriculum and Instruction

The program prepares candidates to select curricula that will give access to core standards and to use evidence-based instructional strategies that meet the diverse learning characteristics of students with mild/moderate disabilities across an array of environments and activities. The program prepares candidates to utilize standards-based assessment data to collaboratively develop IEP goals, adaptations and instructional plans that are responsive to the unique needs of the student and the requirements of the core curriculum, and are implemented and adjusted systematically to promote maximum learning and academic achievement. The program prepares candidates to have knowledge of evidence-based curricula and instructional methods that are effective with students with mild/moderate disabilities, including specially-designed curricula and methods of instruction for students with mild/moderate reading disorders. The program provides a knowledge base of strategies and interventions for students who are not responding to the current instructional environment. The program prepares candidates to create instructional and behavior support partnerships with parents/families.

M/M Standard 3 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

candidates to select curricula that will give access to core standards

SPED 136

use evidence-based instructional strategies that meet the diverse learning characteristics of students with mild/moderate disabilities across an array of environments and activities

SPED 120; 136; 246; 145; 171; 175

candidates to utilize standards-based assessment data to collaboratively develop IEP goals, adaptations and instructional plans that are responsive to the unique needs of the student and the requirements of the core curriculum implemented and adjusted systematically to promote maximum learning and academic achievement

SPED 130; 136; 246; 171; 175

have knowledge of evidence-based curricula and instructional methods that are effective with students with mild/moderate disabilities, including specially-designed curricula and methods of instruction for students with mild/moderate reading disorders

SPED 136; 246; 171; 175

Knowledge of basic strategies and interventions for students who are not responding to the current instructional environment.

SPED 136; 246; 171; 175

candidates to create instructional and behavior support partnerships with parents/families.

SPED 125

The Education Specialist credential program prepares teacher candidates to select and modify curricula to make core content accessible to students. Teacher candidates learn and implement multiple evidence-based instructional strategies to meet the diverse learning characteristics of students with mild/moderate disabilities across an array of environments and activities. Across courses in the program, students are given a knowledge base of strategies and interventions for students who are not responding to the current instructional environment. SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education and SPED 145: Designing Effective Environments for Students with Disabilities, both contain content, such as Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, and development of individual student adaptations. Further, assignments in each course (the Eligibility Category and Instructional Relevancy and Curricular Access and Adaptation assignments, respectively) provide opportunities for candidates to apply skills across these content areas.

The core methods courses (SPED 136/246) and concurrent practicum experiences (SPED 171/175) for the Mild/Moderate disabilities credential focus on the design and delivery of accessible and effective assessment, curriculum, and instruction (including intervention) for students with diverse learning needs. Students are supported in delivering appropriate, targeted, and evidence-based instruction; communicating with students, families, and school personnel; and collaborating with supervisors and Cooperating Teachers, with opportunities for formative feedback and reflection.

In SPED 136: Assessment, Instruction, and Curriculum for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities and concurrent fieldwork (SPED 171), candidates are prepared to design and deliver effective, standards-based instruction and assessment for students with mild/moderate disabilities in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and mathematics. The course focuses on providing students with knowledge 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. Students identify barriers to accessing instruction, curriculum, and assessment; then they plan a unit in mathematics, science, or social studies that incorporates elements of universal design and differentiated instruction. A major assignment for this course requires students to design and implement a universally-designed, differentiated instruction unit in science, social studies, or mathematics, and evaluate and reflect upon their ability to plan a unit that is accessible to all students in the classroom.

Candidates extend their knowledge base, utilizing standards-based assessment data to collaboratively develop IEP goals, adaptations and instructional plans that are responsive to the unique needs of the student and the requirements of the core curriculum, and are implemented and adjusted systematically to promote maximum learning and academic achievement. In SPED 130: Assessing Students with Special Needs, teacher candidates complete a Curriculum-Based Assessment project, for which they are instructed to use data to make instructional decisions, i.e., data-based instruction. The curriculum-based assessment, by design, is standards-based. Students are required to communicate the results in a written assessment report.In addition, candidates gain knowledge of evidence-based curricula and instructional methods that are effective with students with mild/moderate disabilities, including specially-designed curricula and methods of instruction for students with mild/moderate reading disorders. They apply this knowledge through a variety of assignments and practicum experiences.  In SPED 246: Specialized Academic Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, students plan an intervention in reading or mathematics and evaluate their instruction based on student response. This course is designed to introduce students to appropriate methodology and an array of research-based strategies that address specialized academic instruction students for students with diverse learning needs, including students with mild-moderate disabilities and English Learners. A major project in this course requires students to plan and implement an intervention designed to support struggling students in reading or mathematics. In addition, co-requisite practicum experience (SPED 175) provides students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in this core academic course. In addition, students are required to develop an IEP, including goals and objectives based on a variety of assessment and observational data.

The program prepares candidates to create instructional and behavior support partnerships with parents/families. In SPED 125: Positive Behavior and Social Supports, candidates learn about the beliefs and values of a variety of cultures and gain insight into issues facing diverse students and communities, as well as how their own opinions, values, and expectations affect their expectations about students and, in turn, affects their students’ performance. Students learn about the importance of building relationships with students and their families to support students’ success in school. In SPED 219: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, candidates utilize effective communication skills in course activities and assignments, as well as use individual and systemic approaches to collaboration and consultation with teachers, parents/families, and other school professionals on behalf of students with disabilities.

M/S Standard 3: Developing Social Interaction Skills and Facilitating Social Context

Each candidate collaborates with others to facilitate each student’s ability to effectively communicate and increase the extent and variety of social interactions to achieve and expand meaningful social relationships across all settings.

M/S Standard 3 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

collaborates with others to facilitate each student’s ability to effectively communicate and increase the extent and variety of social interactions to achieve and expand meaningful social relationships across all settings.

SPED 247; 219; 172; 176

In SPED 247: Advanced Environmental Design for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities, supporting the development of and facilitating peer relationships and other social supports are covered, as well as building and enhancing systems of natural supports. 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. One 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. Candidates are required to reference course content (in-class lecture and discussion, guest speakers, and/or assigned reading) as the evidence for the practices/strategies you describe. Finally, candidates also write a plan to support relationship development/active participation for students in two areas, utilizing evidence-based practices. Again, they are asked to consider the range of course content in this area in light of the results of their ecological assessment of social environments, observations, and the areas of strength that they describe in the first part of the project.

In SPED 219: Effective Communication and Collaborative Partnerships, the educational, psychological, and political issues that arise when developing collaborative relationships with families, interdisciplinary team members, general educators, agency professionals, and students themselves are addressed. The focus is on the development of materials, strategies, and skills to work the range of individuals on the educational teams of students with disabilities effectively and positively. The Case-Study of Collaborative Teaming assignment helps candidates learn more about how different constituents (e.g. you, general educators, IEP team members, support staff, and other school professionals) view collaborative educational arrangements.

SPED 172 and SPED 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. Narrative observation notes are provided after each university supervisor visit and are the basis for structured feedback and dialogue between the university supervisor, candidate, and a master teacher. An Evaluation Criteria Checklist is introduced in SPED 172 and utilized throughout both semesters of fieldwork to guide candidates in programmatic development and change. Items on the checklist need to be developing and/or in place in order for candidates to exit SPED 176: Final Practicum in Moderate-Severe Disabilities. Additionally, the Management Activities form is used at each visit from the university supervisor in order to support the candidate in creating ongoing programmatic changes throughout the semester in order to meet all items on the Exit Criteria Checklist. This form identifies three items related to program development/management that the candidate needs to complete prior to the next visit from the university supervisor.

ASDAA Standard 3: Collaborating with Other Service Providers and Families

The program will ensure that each candidate teaching students with ASD is able to demonstrate the ability to collaborate as a member of a multidisciplinary team with all service providers and effectively interact with families.

Standard addressed in SPED 250, 251 & 252

Candidates will design a Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS) to provide an overview of a student's daily schedule by time and activity as well as the supports that she/he needs during each period. Following the development of the student's IEP, all educational professionals, including parent(s)/Guardian(s) who work with the student will develop the CAPS. The CAPS allows the candidate and parents to answer the all-important question for students with an ASD: what supports does the student need for each activity? The candidate will be able to list the student's daily tasks and activities, the times they occur, along with the important delineation of the supports needed to support student success. In addition the candidates will include notations about data collection and how skills are to be generalized and communicated amongst the team.

Candidates will understand the majority of the IEP objectives should target the underlying needs in the areas of social understanding/functioning and communication. They will learn that quality evaluation and collaboration equals a road to success for individuals students diagnosed with ASD.

The table below references specific ASDAA and Program standards with assignments in SPED 250, SPED 251, and SPED 252.

Course

Assignment

ASDAA Standard(s)

SPED 250, 251 & 252

Participation/Attendance

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 250, 251 & 252

Fieldwork Observations/Report

ASDAA 1,2,3

SPED 250

Article Critiques-Evidence Based practices

ASDAA 1,2

SPED 250

Article Critiques- Characteristics

ASDAA 1,3

SPED 250

Book Review- Written by an adult with ASD

ASDAA 1,3

SPED 250

Book Review- Autism Awareness

ASDAA 1, 3

SPED 250

Movie Review and reflection

ASDAA 1,2,3

SPED 250

Parent Panel Reflection

ASDAA 1,3

SPED 250, 251 & 252

Exams- Midterm/Final exam

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 250 & 252

Research Project – evidence-based practices

ASDAA 1,2

SPED 250, 251 & 252

Chapter Reflection Questions

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 252

Fieldwork Project- Completion of the UCC, ISSI, ABC-I, Ziggurat Worksheet and CAPS

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 252

Paper- The Importance of the Five-Tiered Approach to Intervention

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 252

Individual Project- Sharing the Ziggurat Model with the collaborative team

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 251

Paper – Five-Step Model for Social Skill Programming

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 251

Research to Practice Project – Social Skills evidence based practices

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

SPED 251, 252

Individual Projects – Social Stories, Comic Strip Conversations, 5 Point scales, Power Cards, Scripting, Peer Training, Video Modeling, Circle of Friends, and Social Behavior Mapping.

ASDAA 1, 2, 3

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