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Master of Education - Special Education

The Graduate Special Education program is based on a conceptual framework which focuses on the following perspectives: Academic Scholar, Reflective Practitioner, and Professional Dispositions. The preparation of skilled and knowledgeable practitioners who understand reflective and inquiry-based teaching is also emphasized. The program is based on the notion that students can achieve. Graduate students learn how assessment drives instruction and the importance of data-based decision making.

The program is designed to produce teachers who understand the purposes of education as well as the developmental aspects of learning.  Another major program emphasis is placed on preparing teacher candidates to perform skillful and continous monitoring of student learning.

The program provides the candidate with a foundation for the teaching and management of students with disabilities, based on current knowledge, research, and practice in the field. Action research is emphasized to document the efficacy of teaching methodology. The student is expected to demonstrate an understanding of students with disabilities relative to their cultural, emotional, social, academic, cognitive, transition from school to adult environment, and physical needs. Students become proficient in the use of computer technology, and application of behavior management techniques. As an extension of the inclusion model, students learn to work collaboratively in order to generate creative solutions to mutually defined problems.

The program is generic in nature and focuses on children and youth with mild and moderate disabilities from elementary through middle school (grades 1-8). The program consists of 36 credit hours grouped sequentially to provide the student with a hierarchy of knowledge and skills. The program requires three (3) field-based experiences.  The first practicum experience occures during SPED 511, Special Education Prespectives, where students are required to perform 25 hours of observation and class-based participation.  The second field experience occurs in the from of Practicum I, a six-week, full-time school experience, which will take place after the candidate completes the first five (5) courses in the program.  Practicum II, another six-week, full-time school experience, occurs as the end of the program and is the culminating experience in this graduate program.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

  • All students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4-point scale from an accredited college or university.
  • All students must submit three (3) professional letters of recommendation and may be asked to interview with graduate special education faculty.
  • All student must complete an essay (2 pages, typed) on their philosophy of teaching diverse learners.
  • All student must pass PRAXIS I as an entrance requirement for this program.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

All prospective graduate special education students whose undergraduate degrees are not in the field of education are required to complete foundation courses. The exact number of courses required is based on an evaluation of each student's transcript. The student's advisor will conduct transcript evaluations.

Students are required to have three (3) semester hours in Human Growth and Development prior to entry into the program, maintain a 3.25 average GPA during the program, and pass a written comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Students are required to complete an exit interview prior to graduation.  Passing PRAXIS II is an exit requirement for this program.

PROGRAM

SPED 511 Special Education Perspectives (required first course)
SPED 545 Computers and Technology in Special Education
SPED 522 Behavioral Intervention and Classroom Management
Prerequisite:  SPED 511)
SPED 520 Instructional Methods and Curriculum Planning
(Prerequisite:  SPED 511)
SPED 649 Partnerships and Lifestyles
(Prerequisite:  SPED 511)
SPED 615 Practicum I in Special Education
(taken after 15 credits listed above)
SPED 602 Math, Science and Social Studies Curriculum
(Prerequisite:  SPED 511, 515, 520, 522)
SPED 626 Language and Reading Development
(Prerequisite:  SPED 511, 515, 520, 522)
SPED 629 Interdisciplinary Team: Assessment, Communication, and Intervention
(Prerequisite:  SPED 507, 511, 515, 520, 522, 526 & 549)
EDUC 706 Introduction to Research
(Prerequisites:  SPED 502, 507, 511, 515, 520, 522, 526 & 549)
SPED 730 Seminar in Special Education
(Taken the semester prior to SPED 516)
SPED 716 Practicum II in Special Education
(last course)
Total 36 Credits


PROGRAM GOALS

The student shall:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to characteristics of learners with and without exceptional learning needs, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; the implications of those individual difference; and the effects of the child's cultural milieu.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of formal assessment instruments used for identification of disability and of informal assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation procedures (academic, cognitive, communicative, social-emotional, and physical) used for IEP development and ongoing instructional revision. The use of performance-based assessment data is emphasized to monitor ongoing educational progress and to guide instructional decision-making.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge and skills of both general and special curricular necessary to develop instructional content and appropriate practice in response to individual needs of learners.
  5. Demonstrate the knowledge and use of best practices and technology for effective management and modification of teaching and learning environments to accommodate individual learning needs.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to managing student behavior and the support of intercultural social interaction skills development.
  7. Demonstrate appropriate communication with parents and students from diverse backgrounds in order to assist them in becoming active collaborators in the educational partnership.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of effective collaboration approaches among professionals, community, and family members and particularly between general and special education professionals.
  9. Exhibit knowledge of the importance of teachers as models of professionalism and ethical practice and demonstrate commitment to developing the highest potential of individuals with exceptional learning needs.
  10. Design, conduct, analyze, and apply various types of research.
  11. Use reflection as a means of judging the effectiveness of their performance.
  12. Demonstrate knowledge of educational applications of current technology.
  13. Articulate problems and issues that cut across cultural, economic, political, and technological systems are interconnected. Students will also identify the differences and commonalities that exist in various global perspectives and the ways they shape education today.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Thelon Byrd, Jr.
233-G Center for Learning and Technology
14000 Jericho Park Road
Bowie, MD 20715
tbyrd@bowiestate.edu

301-860-3137