Document Type

Program Change

Alternate Date

2007 - 2008


INTRODUCTION, RATIONALE, & PROGRAM OUTCOMES THE UNDERGRADUATE SPECIAL EDUCATION OPTION Introduction The undergraduate special education certification option is based on the Education four-credit model and feedback received in response to recent accreditation reports and visits to KSC (New Hampshire Department of Education 2005 and NCATE 2007). This proposal addresses two program options: 1) Elementary and Special Education and 2) Secondary and Special Education. The program received NH State accreditation and NCATE approval and will be submitting program data to the Council for Exceptional Children in September 2008. The proposed revisions to the special education option enhance the integrity of the program, bolstering connections among courses and the depth of preparation. These changes represent rethinking, re-envisioning, and strengthening the existing program. The number of hours inherent in the four credit model affords pre-service teachers opportunities to explore additional topics pertinent to becoming special educators, engage in extended hours in the field during methods, develop additional competencies relevant to the demands of the role, and demonstrate an increased number of pertinent competencies. The program revisions provide more in-depth treatment of how individual differences and language impact learning and socializing, more approaches to instructional planning and instructional strategies to address K-12 student needs, and how collaboration enhances the effectiveness of services delivered by special education teachers and programs. Further, pre-service teachers will have increased opportunities to shadow professionals in secondary schools along with their elementary and middle practica. The bold-face topics indicate five of the ten Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards infused throughout the program that warrant further attention. Overall, the special education option requires 36 credits, three more than previously to address research on highly effective special educators (additional documents available). The special education option continues to build on the background students receive through the core education courses and is responsive to the feedback received from self-study and accrediting bodies. Rationale The field of special education continues its development through the advancement of practices and services for students, families, and schools. Renewed attention to promote early proactive intervention, enhance the interface with general education curriculum and classrooms, and improve evidence-based practices to advance the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral competence of learners support the revisions included in the redesign of the Special Education Option. The focus on early intervention (referred to in the literature as Response to Intervention) is a part of a movement to promote classroom teachers’ work as they adjust and modify programs, materials, strategies, groupings, and technologies to meet needs, documenting student responsiveness to interventions and evaluating his or her progress. The redesign of the Elementary and Special Education Option affords pre-service teachers greater exposure to bridging work done in general education [regular education] with that in special education while strengthening their understanding of learner needs, ways to work collaboratively with teams and in schools, and enhancing their competence as evaluators, planners, instructors, and reflective practitioners. In consultation with secondary education faculty, it was determined that students could not complete a combined Secondary and Special Education certification program in four or four and one half years. Secondary education students seeking certification in special education will be advised to pursue their interests through the Advanced Studies in Education, Post Baccalaureate Special Education certification program. As the college transitions from the three-credit to the four-credit model, programs need to minimize the number of increased credits. The standard that was set was that programs could only increase the program requirements by three credits. The proposed catalog language will indicate that the credit change for the major increases from 63 to 70 credits, which appears to exceed the limit. However, Math 172 will be the quantitative literacy requirement for this program and fulfills the ISP requirement and technically is part of the 44 credit Integrative Studies Program. Thus, the increase in credits meets the requirement of three credits. Credit Changes Program Outcomes The vision of the KSC Teacher Education program is to graduate professionals in the field of education who will be advocates for social justice and equity, who possess intellectual and personal integrity, and who are responsive to the needs of students in a changing, multicultural world. We expect our graduates to: • Explore the dynamic nature of the teaching and learning process • Demonstrate professional and ethical behaviors by meeting high expectations and standards • Understand the world from multiple perspectives • Contribute to a just and equitable world The themes of the conceptual framework for the education program work hand-in-hand with the beliefs, values, practices, and standards that are inherent in the preparation of special educators. Candidates use CEC Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice as guides and are held accountable for accepting responsibility for their actions; respecting and empathizing with others; understanding legal mandates and moral obligations of the profession; and meeting standards for academic honesty and excellence as they strive to meet program expectations. Through their direct service with students with special needs, collaborations with families and professionals, and their advocacy work to secure services and create open, non-discriminatory learning environments, pre-service special educators are prepared to advance strength-based approaches to work with identified students and foster multiple perspectives while discovering ways to contribute to the world in just and equitable ways. The conceptual framework is woven throughout the course curricula, standards for evaluation, and field experiences. The special education certification option prepares candidates to engage in the range of tasks and responsibilities involved in serving students with mild to moderate special needs. This program option builds on the course work and field experiences that comprise elementary teacher preparation and expands on the areas of competence defined by Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching that has been adopted by the KSC Teacher Education Programs. The special education certification program option further incorporates the standards defined by Council for Exceptional Children and infuses the expectations set forth by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is the federal law that guides special education practices and professional responsibilities. The course work and field experiences that comprise the program are designed to support pre-service teachers’ developing competencies to:  gain understanding of learners and the challenges they face  assess and identify student competence and needs  design, plan, and implement direct and modified instruction to address student needs in the area(s) of concern and support access to the general education curriculum and classrooms when appropriate  develop strategies and interventions for addressing learning and behavior challenges  document and monitor student progress to evaluate lesson effectiveness, responsiveness to interventions, and appropriateness of program and service delivery plans  write Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and collaborate with members of multidisciplinary teams  examine the multiple forms special education programs take. Course Work and General Outcomes : The content of courses infuses both current and historic literature relevant to the topics covered and the expected outcomes. Students are given opportunities to compare and contrast existing practices, identify assets and drawbacks of approaches, and examine ways to incorporate ideas and ideals into their own repertoires. Field-based assignments and supervised field work support pre-service teachers’ growth as they acquire perspectives on the role for which they prepare, gain understanding of the nature of the field, and reflect on their own practices and effectiveness. Courses in this program option are organized sequentially to support candidates as they: • acquire background knowledge and historical perspectives about the laws impacting special education and roles and services special educators provide • evaluate potential factors interfering with student academic and social performance, participation, and progress in learning environments • learn the values and uses of assessment to support their work with students • connect assessment to instructional planning to design proactive and intervention strategies, and make choices that respond to student challenges and advance their academic and social competence and development • develop competence in problem solving and decision making related to planning assessment, instruction and intervention, delivery of direct services, teaming, and program coordination. • apply understanding and competence to address the demands placed on special educators to: develop assessment plans; conduct, analyze, and chart assessment data; integrate and report assessment to profile students in the area(s) of concern; develop, articulate, and construct individualized education plans (IEP); conduct functional behavior assessment; and develop behavior intervention plans; provide instruction and direct services to students in and out of the general education and monitor their progress. This progression of learning is incorporated into the following sequence of courses that comprise the certification option: EDSP 202 Development, Exceptionality and Learning (4 credits) EDSP 250 Context for Special Education (4 credits) EDSP 350 Curriculum Design for Students with Special Needs (4 credits) EDSP 352 Behavior and Social Supports (2 credits) EDSP 354 Assessment in Special Education (2 credits) EDSP 356 Practicum and Methods in Special Education (8 credits) EDSP 405 Student Teaching (6 credits) EDSP 450 SPED Student Teaching Seminar (2 credits) Summary As a result of the changes to the undergraduate education program, faculty have agreed to provide students with different options to pursue special education certification with elementary education or secondary education. For those seeking elementary education certification, completion of the additional certification depends on the content major students elect in conjunction with the education program. Also, the number of semesters that students require to complete the program is contingent on whether they decide early in their college careers, receive the appropriate advising, and/or elect to enroll in summer courses. For this reason, students will be informed that undergraduate programming with the additional special education certification may require four years to four and one half years. Given the requirements for students seeking secondary and special education certification, they will enroll in the post-baccalaureate certification program and/or the graduate program.


Senate Curriculum Committee




Keene State College

4-credit BS Education Special Education Option Rantionale