Program Standard 5: Assessment of Students

The program provides opportunities for candidates to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to assess students in a comprehensive manner within the breadth of the credential authorization. Each candidate understands and uses multiple sources of information in order to participate in progress monitoring and in decision- making regarding eligibility and services. The program provides candidates with the knowledge and skill to assess students from diverse backgrounds and varying language, communication, and cognitive abilities. The program provides opportunities for using both formal and informal assessments to evaluate students' needs and strengths for the purpose of making accommodations, modifications, instructional decisions and ongoing program improvements. The program provides the opportunities for each candidate to demonstrate the knowledge of required statewide assessments and local, state and federal accountability systems.

Program Standard 5 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

Knowledge & skills to assess students from diverse backgrounds and varying language, communication & cognitive abilities

SPED 120; 130; 136, 146; 247

Uses multiple sources of information to monitor progress and make decisions re/eligibility & services

SPED 120; 130; 136, 246, 146, 247

Assess students using formal & informal assessments to evaluate students’ strengths

SPED 130; 136, 146, 247, CI 176

Use assessment data to make accommodations, modification, instructional decisions & program improvement

SPED 120; 130; 145, 146, 247; 136; 246, 175/6, CI 176

Knowledge of statewide assessments, local, state & federal accountability systems

SPED 130; 146; 136; 246, CI 175/6

Role of parents, students and other professionals on assessment teams

SPED 120; 130; 146, 247; 136; 246; 247; 219; 175/6

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 process and RTI practices. 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. In SPED 233: The Special Educator as Researcher, assessment is completed (baseline to intervention) to measure the effectiveness of intervention and to reflect on learning that took place through action research/single subject design.

Candidates take CI 176: Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment. In this course teacher candidates utilize the current national and state mathematics content standards and framework to analyze curriculum and assessments and plan lessons. In CI 176, teacher candidates explore multiple forms of pre-, formative, and summative assessments and demonstrate their ability to use assessment to inform mathematics instruction and analyze learning through a Mini Unit assignment.

In SPED 130: Assessment of Students with Special Needs, teacher Candidates learn to conduct formal and informal assessments such as the WJ-III, a 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. In SPED 130, candidates are informed of local assessments (such as DIBELs), state assessments (such as STAR/CST, CAHSEE, and CAPA) and are instructed to make testing accommodations and modifications to support students, as needed. Understanding of federal accountability measures, current and future, are in an outcome and are part of Topic 2 (see SPED 130 syllabus).

In SPED 136: Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities and concurrent practicum (SPED 171), students complete a Response to Intervention (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 local (CBM) and state assessments used at the school site for screening, progress monitoring, and diagnosis in reading and math. Federal accountability standards are also shared. 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 the subsequent semester, students take SPED 137: 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 or math. In addition, students write an IEP or IFSP using multiple sources of information to make decisions regarding eligibility & services.

SPED 146: Assessment and Instruction for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities, is entirely focused on use of multidimensional assessments to make instructional, support, and accommodation decisions, as well as to inform progress monitoring. All content and course assignments in SPED 146 are based on the ecological assessment process, identification of skills in need of instruction, and subsequent development of individual plans of systematic instruction. Additionally, the use of individual planning tools, such as an IEP matrix, discrepancy analysis, and contextually-based participation plans, is also addressed. Assignments in SPED 146 include: collecting ecological data across three contexts for a focus student, subsequent development of instructional plans, and creation of an both IEP matrix, which identifies where and how instruction in IEP goals and other skills can be embedded across the day, as well as a participation plan that articulates partial participation, adaptations, and individualized student supports in one context/environment. These same assessment processes are applied to the development of individualized communication systems, supports, and skills in SPED 247: Advanced Environment Design for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities.

The entire program will be using examples from the new SmarterBalance assessment related to California Common Core Standards as adopted by the state.

M/M Standard 5: Specific Instructional Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

The program provides each candidate with a depth of knowledge and skills in the teaching of reading, speaking, listening, written language, and mathematics to insure access to general education curriculum across settings. The program prepares candidates to know how mild/moderate disabilities impact student learning in these areas and know how to insure that evidence-based methods are used for teaching developmental reading and subject-specific reading skills to students with mild/moderate disabilities. The program prepares candidates to know and be able to use effective methods for teaching students the conventions and composition skills that enable them to communicate through writing, to know how to teach mathematical skills, applications and problem-solving methods, and to know how to select and adapt standards-based curricula and supplementary materials in these skill areas.

M/M Standard 5 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

depth of knowledge and skills in the teaching of reading, speaking, listening, written language, and mathematics to insure access to general education curriculum across settings

LEE 173; EHD 178; LEE 177; CI 176; SPED 136; 246; 171; 175

know how mild/moderate disabilities impact student learning in these areas and know how to insure that evidence-based methods are used for teaching developmental reading and subject-specific reading skills to students with mild/moderate disabilities

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

Know and be able to use effective methods for teaching students the conventions and

composition skills that enable them to communicate through writing, to know how to teach mathematical skills, applications and problem-solving methods

CI 176; SPED 136; 246

know how to select and adapt standards-based curricula and supplementary materials in these skill areas.

LEE 173; EHD 178; LEE 177; CI 176; SPED 136; 246; 171; 175

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.

LEE 173: Teaching Reading and Social Studies in Grades 4-8 and LEE 177: Teaching Reading and the Arts in K-3 provide substantive, research-based instruction to effectively prepare teacher candidates in the Education Specialist credential program to deliver a comprehensive program of systematic instruction in reading, writing, and related language arts that is carefully aligned with the state adopted English Language Development and English Language Arts Academic Content Standards for Students and the Reading/Language Arts Framework and provide universal access. Candidates are also expected to integrate the standards and provide universal access into their fieldwork practice. In addition, the internal design of both courses includes the essential reading areas recommended by the National Reading Panel, an evidence-based assessment of the scientific research-based literature for reading and its implementation for reading instruction.

Candidates are prepared to deliver a comprehensive program of systematic instruction through the selection of specific pedagogy drawn from the state adopted English Language Arts Content Standards and the Reading/language Arts Framework. Throughout both courses, LEE 173: Teaching Reading and Social Studies in Grades 4-8 and LEE 177: Teaching Reading and the Arts in K-3, candidates are provided with several opportunities to interpret the standards to meet the needs of students who have varied reading and language backgrounds and are expected to participate in an incremental series of activities which prepare them for the development and implementation of specific literacy and technology competencies. These competencies are based on a graduated level of comprehension, serious involvement, and extend theory to practice. Candidates study how all students, including struggling readers, students with special needs, English learners, speakers of non-standard English, and advanced learners, learn through language and become literate as they read and respond to core literature selections, participate in reading and writing workshops, participate in theme cycles and other thematic units, and create portfolios to document their learning processes and products. Reading and writing skills are also intensively practiced in practicum experiences. The program places all candidates in field experience sites and student teaching assignments with teachers whose instructional approaches and methods in reading and writing are consistent with the Reading/Language Arts frameworks and who collaborate with institutional supervisors and instructors. Students are placed in schools that reflect the diversity of the Fresno region and include struggling readers, students with special needs, English language learners, speakers of non-standard English, students who have no communication/language system, and advanced learners.

In LEE 173: Teaching Reading and Social Studies in Grades 4-8, candidates are required to assess and design an instructional plan for a student in grades 4-8 with a focus on social studies and other content areas using assessments and instructional techniques consistent with the Reading/Language Arts Frameworks (2007) for vocabulary, writing, and reading comprehension. This assignment includes practicing and analyzing assessments at a field experience site where instructional approaches and methods in reading are also consistent with the state adopted Reading/Language Arts Framework. Strategies for teaching word analysis, vocabulary, writing, and comprehension are demonstrated in class and practiced by candidates in their concurrent field experience placement. In another assignment, the content area focus unit, candidates construct a week-long block plan that is implemented out in the field. The series of lessons found on the block plan demonstrate candidate’s ability to make curricular choices, identify relevant skills and concepts, integrate standards, and assess the transference and generalization of the skills taught in the unit.

In LEE 177: Teaching Reading and the Arts in K-3, candidates are required to plan, teach and assess lessons for students in grades K-3 with a focus on beginning reading instruction and instructional techniques consistent with the Reading/Language Arts Frameworks (2007) for teaching phonemic awareness, word analysis, fluency, vocabulary, writing, and reading comprehension to provide universal access. This assignment also includes practicing guided reading, use of varied research-based teaching strategies for teaching reading and writing and using assessments at a field experience site where instructional approaches and methods in reading are also consistent with the state adopted Reading/Language Arts Framework and whose student body includes struggling readers, students with special needs, English language learners, speakers of non-standard English, students who have no communication/ language system, and advanced learners. Strategies for teaching and assessing phonemic awareness, alphabetic knowledge, word analysis, vocabulary, writing, and comprehension are demonstrated in class and practiced by candidates in their concurrent field experience placement.

In addition, candidates are required to take CI 176: Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment. This course is designed to prepare teacher candidates to plan instruction based on the assessment of students’ mathematical understanding and to teach mathematics using multiple strategies and methods in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Candidates demonstrate the ability to make mathematics concepts concrete and meaningful by engaging students in real-world problems and multiple representations (e.g., manipulatives, diagrams, physical models, computer-generated models), encouraging discussions of multiple solution strategies, and providing clear explanations and academic language so that all students can learn. Candidates identify, evaluate, adapt, and apply methods to assess children’s understanding in mathematics, including assessment strategies such as observation, questioning, student work, scoring guidelines, written tests, student journals, self-assessment, and portfolios. Candidates learn to interpret evidence gathered using assessment strategies and use it to pace mathematics instruction and to address students’ misconceptions and misunderstandings. See assignments: Planning and Assessment Portfolio and Mini Teaching Unit in CI 176 syllabus.

The core methods courses (SPED 136/137) 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. 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.

Competencies required for EHD 178: Field Study B, SPED 171: Initial Practicum, and SPED 175: Final Practicum ensure that candidates demonstrate the ability to effectively provide instruction in writing strategies, writing applications, and written and oral English language conventions to students with diverse learning needs.

M/S Standard 5: Movement, Mobility, Sensory and Specialized Health Care

Each candidate demonstrates knowledge of and ability to support the movement, mobility, sensory and specialized health care needs required for students to participate fully in classrooms, schools and the community. The candidate uses appropriate and safe techniques, procedures, materials, educational technology, assistive technology, and other adaptive equipment. Each candidate demonstrates knowledge of federal, state, and local policies related to specialized health care in educational settings. Each candidate will consult and collaborate with designated staff and parents, to provide the appropriate, safe, and consistent support across all settings. Each candidate demonstrates an understanding of the procedures required to procure services and how to access other professionals and agencies to acquire information regarding student’s sensory, movement, mobility and specialized health care services.

M/S Standard 5 Component:

Courses in which the component is addressed:

demonstrates knowledge of and ability to support the movement, mobility, sensory and specialized health care needs required for students to participate fully in classrooms, schools and the community

SPED 145

uses appropriate and safe techniques, procedures, materials, educational technology, assistive technology, and other adaptive equipment

SPED 145; 247; 172; 176

demonstrates knowledge of federal, state, and local policies related to specialized health care in educational settings

SPED 120; 145

consult and collaborate with designated staff and parents, to provide the appropriate, safe, and consistent support across all settings

SPED 120; 125; 145; 219; 172; 176

demonstrates an understanding of the procedures required to procure services and how to access other professionals and agencies to acquire information regarding student’s sensory, movement, mobility and specialized health care services

SPED 120; 145; 247; 219

Education Specialist candidates demonstrate knowledge of federal, state, and local policies related to specialized health care in educational settings in SPED 120: Introduction to Special Education. A midterm exam administered via Blackboard is used as a formative assessment of this course content. 

Candidates extend this knowledge as they learn to support the movement, mobility, sensory and specialized health care needs required for students to participate fully in classrooms, schools and the community. Candidates learn to use appropriate and safe techniques, procedures, materials, educational technology, assistive technology, and other adaptive equipment. They also learn to consult and collaborate with designated staff and parents, to provide the appropriate, safe, and consistent support across all settings. Each candidate demonstrates an understanding of the procedures required to procure services and how to access other professionals and agencies to acquire information regarding student’s sensory, movement, mobility and specialized health care services. These standard components are met in a number of courses. For example, inSPED 125: Positive Behavior and Social Supports, candidates learn to practice effective strategies and techniques for crisis prevention, conflict management, and resolution in ways that contribute to respectful, effective learning environments, including recognizing and defusing situations that may lead to student conflict or violence. Candidates also learn about the effects of student health and safety on learning and study the legal responsibilities of teachers related to student health care needs and safety in several activities. Candidates read and discuss several reports related to the use of restraint and seclusion (i.e., School is Not Supposed to Hurt, The Cost of Waiting, and Restraint and Seclusion in California Schools). Candidates are provided with resources and guidelines to prevent/reduce/eliminate restraint and seclusion except as an emergency intervention; Sped 125 content related to crisis intervention and Classroom Management Plan assignment. In SPED 145, candidates learn about the health care needs and safe techniques for positioning and handling students who have severe motor disabilities, practices for students who are medically fragile, feeding issues and strategies, policies regarding specialized health care and health practices. A team of local teachers who serve students with these kinds of complex support needs are guest speakers. A formative quiz is used to assess candidates’ knowledge of this content. SPED 247: Advanced Environmental Design for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities, addresses assistive, and educational technologies and adaptive equipmentfor communication development and access to curriculum. This is assessed through Part 1 of the Communication Project, which requires documentation of a student’s unique mobility, sensory, cognitive, and affective characteristics that would influence the design of an individualized AAC system or technology supports to access curriculum.

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