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MSU Teacher Education Unit (TEU)

Advanced Programs for Teachers

Special Education
9.9.1 The program curriculum is advanced in rigor and results in advanced knowledge, skills, and dispositions in teacher students with special needs. The program reflects consideration of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the National Council for the Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) standards for advanced study.

Minot State University prepares graduate level special education personnel in the following emphasis areas: Early Childhood Special Education, Education of the Deaf, Learning Disabilities, Severe Multiple Handicaps, Special Education Strategist. Each of these emphasis areas is attached to the Master of Science Degree in Special Education (refer to MSU Graduate Catalog and Attachment E), and consists primarily of graduate coursework.

Per MSU policy students are allowed to take graduate coursework in these programs only after approval by the Graduate School. Students must either be admitted to an MSU Graduate Program, or be approved as non-degree seeking students. Undergraduates may take limited coursework through the non-degree status option only if they possess MSU standing as a senior, have a minimum 3.00 GPA, and receive instructor and department approval.

All MSU special education programs follow the CEC standards for personnel preparation. Each program has adopted the particular set of standards that pertains to the emphasis area. Table 1 shows these alignments.

Table 1. Alignment of MSU graduate programs to CEC standards

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9.9.2 The program provides candidates with advanced knowledge and skill that parallels all requirement areas in the North Dakota Standards for Program Approval 8.11.CC: Common Core standards for all special education teachers.

The MSU special education faculty have incorporated the ND standards for Program Approval, Common Core components, into all graduate programs. Attachment A shows the CEC standards for each program area (per alignment in Table 1). These standards include specific special education area standards as well as the common core standards. When the ND Education Standards and Practices Board revised the state special education standards to match those of CEC, MSUís programs were directly aligned with both state and national standards.

Students complete performance assessments related to these common core standards. Refer to Attachment A for guidelines for graduate student portfolios for these programs.

9.9.3 The program provides candidates with advanced knowledge and skill that parallels all requirement areas in the applicable special education area of the North Dakota Standards for Program Approval 8.11 being addressed (i.e., 8.11.DH: Deaf and Hard of Hearing, 8.11.VI: Visual Impairment, 8.11.MR: Mental Retardation, or 8.11.ECSE: Early Childhood Special Education, etc.).

All program areas in special education are aligned with the applicable state standards as outlined in standard area 8.11. Since these state standards align with CEC standards, MSU is in alignment with 8.11.

Students complete performance assessments related to these special education area standards. Refer to Attachment A for guidelines for graduate student portfolios for these programs.

9.9.4 The program requires candidates develop the ability to apply research and research methods relevant to the advanced field of study, including recent research-based knowledge, concepts, and analytical capabilities of the exceptional child specialty area. The program uses a variety of performance assessments of candidatesí understanding and ability to apply that knowledge.

MSU students are required to take SPED 501 ≠ Introduction to Graduate Studies for their degree programs. This course is designed to prepare students to be consumers of research literature, and to expose them to the development, design and presentation of research methods (see syllabus in Attachment B). Each student is required to develop and present a research proposal for the course. Examples are included in Attachment C. In addition, nearly all graduate courses require students to read, synthesize, and provide a written review of current literature in their field. Examples of these activities can be found in the course syllabi.

Finally, all degree seeking students complete either a graduate thesis or written and oral comprehensive examinations. In the thesis, the student develops, conducts, and writes about a particular research project in the field of study. Completed student theses are available in the MSU Graduate School and in the MSU Olson Library. During the comprehensive written examination, the student is evaluated on his/her ability to support written responses with appropriate research and theory (see Attachment D).

9.9.5 The program requires observation and field practicum experience in elementary school, secondary school, or preschool settings appropriate to the exceptional child specialization area. Programs leading to initial licensure meet all state requirements for initial licensure, including student teaching in the specific area and grade level of licensure. The program uses a variety of performance assessments of candidatesí understanding and ability to apply that knowledge.

Each special education graduate program requires multiple practical experiences, and each program has a culminating practicum (refer to MSU Graduate Catalog for specific courses). These experiences are developed and implemented in concert with school districts, special education units, and other service agencies (e.g., Infant Development programs, School for the Deaf, etc.).

Each program has a practicum packet which specifies a set of integrated outcomes for the students. These outcomes are often demonstrated through the development of a final student program portfolio.

In addition, each student is observed in the practicum. Faculty use a variety of evaluation instruments, all which focus on student performance of the required components. Cooperating teachers also complete multiple observations and evaluations of student performance. Examples of these instruments are displayed in the practicum packets (see Attachment A).

9.9.6 The program requires the study of current, appropriate instructional technologies. The program uses varied performance assessments of candidatesí understanding and abilities to apply that knowledge.

All students in the graduate special education programs take advanced methods courses. The syllabi show that all students are required to learn about various instructional technologies, including assistive technology. Many courses have graded activities designed to measure student knowledge of instructional methods. Further, all practicum experiences and portfolios require demonstration of student proficiency in instructional design and implementation, including development of IEPs or IFSPs, individualized student instructional programs, and small and large group instructional lessons.

Advanced Programs for Teachers

Severe Multiple Handicaps
The Severe Multiple Handicaps (SMH) program is an emphasis area attached to the MSU Masterís degree in Special Education. The general advanced standards in Special Education (9.09 Special Educators - Advanced) have been addressed in other documentation. This report outlines Minot State Universityís response to the ND program approval standards 8.11.IC.

8.11.IC.1 The program requires the study of philosophical, historical and legal foundations related to teaching students in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidates in the SMH program are admitted by the MSU Graduate School. Candidates must have a bachelorís degree in Mental Retardation, Developmental Disabilities or a closely related field. Individuals with an MR or DD bachelorís degree will have completed a course SPED 310 - Introduction to Developmental Disabilities or a similar course, which would cover the particular aspects of standard 8.11.IC.1. Individuals who have a degree in a closely related field are required to take SPED 310 if they have not already done so. See Attachment A for curriculum advising forms for the two tracks.

8.11.IC.2 The program requires the study of characteristics of learners that would benefit most from an individualized curriculum.

Candidates in the SMH program are required to take SPED 530 - Physical and Medical Aspects of People with Severe Disabilities. Refer to the SPED 530 syllabus for examples of how the course addresses the particular aspects of this standard.

8.11.IC.3 The program requires the study of assessment, diagnosis and evaluation of students in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidates complete two courses that address this standard. SPED 550 - Assessment in Special Education addresses the general purposes and processes for screening, assessment, diagnosis and evaluation of students with disabilities. SPED 533 - Clinical Practice is designed to provide hands on experience with procedures and instruments specific to students with severe disabilities. Refer to the syllabi for examples of how the courses address this standard.

8.11.IC.4 The program requires the study of instrumental content and practice related to teaching students with disabilities in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidates are required to take SPED 542 - Methods and Materials for Teaching Persons with Developmental Disabilities. This course covers all aspects of items outlined in the standard. Refer to the course syllabus for specific examples.

8.11.IC.5 The program requires the study of planning and managing the teaching and learning environment for students with disabilities in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidates address this standard in SPED 542. Refer to the course syllabus for specific examples.

8.11.IC.6 The program requires the study of managing student behavior and social interaction skills for students in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidatesí knowledge and skills are addressed through several courses for this standard. SPED 561 - Behavior Aspects, addresses behavioral theory, functional behavioral assessments and behavioral interventions. SPED 531 - Theoretical Aspects of Exceptional Children, addresses several teaching and learning theories related to the persons with disabilities. SPED 542 addresses instructional techniques related to social and interaction skills. Candidates also address augmentative and alternative communication through CD 536. Specific examples of activities that address the standard are shown in the course syllabi.

8.11.IC.7 The program requires the study of communication and collaborative partnerships related to teaching students in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidates are required to take SPED 505 - Supervision and Collaboration in Special Education, which addresses most aspects of this standard. SPED 530 addresses the aspects of medical and related services for students with severe disabilities. Refer to the course syllabi for specific details.

8.11.IC.8 The program requires the study of professionalism and ethical practices related to teaching students in individualized independence curriculums.

Candidates take several courses to address the components of this standard. SPED 505 addresses consumer organizations, professional journals and ethical practices. Confidentiality and rights are also covered in SPED 505 as well as in SPED 542. Types and transmission routes of infectious disease as well as universal precautions, are addressed in SPED 530. Refer to course syllabi for specific examples.