College of Education2021-2022

Department of Educational Specialties

Special Education, Master of Education

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the MEd in Special Education Continuing Professional Program is to prepare professionals to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in human service agencies. Students gain knowledge and skills to develop and expand their leadership and practice in meeting the needs of individuals with learning and behavior challenges. Building upon a foundation in research and a common understanding of individuals with disabilities, students select an emphasis area aligned with professional goals. Students in the mild/moderate emphasis area will develop effective learning and behavioral interventions, differentiate instruction, provide ability-appropriate accommodations, and collaborate to help individuals with disabilities meet their full potential. The Early Childhood emphasis explores the same areas, but for children from birth to age eight years. The Positive Behavior Support emphasis focuses on principles and tactics for improving quality of life for individuals of all ages who exhibit challenging behaviors, and consists of the six courses required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board for individuals who want to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Students also may select to develop their skills and knowledge in the areas of Assistive Technology, Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This program does not lead to teacher certification.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. At the completion of the program, students will be able to:
  2. Analyze the social, cultural, and educational underpinnings of disability, and describe their influences on growth and identity;
  3. Evaluate the impact that disabilities may have on the individual, and facilitate appropriate experiences that lead to emotional and social well-being;
  4. Identify, examine, and apply evidence-based practices that effectively and efficiently address the needs of individuals with disabilities;
  5. Explain the influence of current issues, diversity, and ethical standards on professional practice; and
  6. Demonstrate effective collaboration with professionals, peers, and families.
The five learning outcomes are common across the three emphasis areas (Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, and Positive Behavior Support). Some of the performance indicators will be assessed in courses that are common across the emphasis areas. Other performance indicators may be evaluated in courses unique to an emphasis area, although the signature assignments measure the same learning outcomes. 
Emphasis Area 1: Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  1. Explain and apply knowledge of effective communication with families of culturally and linguistically diverse students.
  2. Create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments to engage individuals with exceptionalities in meaningful learning activities and social interactions through collaboration with general educators and other colleagues.
  3. Identify and discuss the etiology and characteristics of learning disabilities and language disorders in regard to how they interact with learning.
  4. Understand how foundational knowledge and current issues influence professional practice.
  5. Modify general and specialized curricula to make them accessible to individuals with exceptionalities.
Emphasis Area 2: Early Childhood Special Education
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the developmental principles and patterns for young children ages birth to eight.
  2. Design positive classroom environments and effective behavioral interventions when needed.
  3. Conduct appropriate assessments of young children that inform IEP development and implementation and progress monitoring.
  4. Describe how services are delivered to young children birth to eight eligible for services under IDEA and their families.
  5. Collaborating with others, develop and implement IEPs for students and plan instruction that is grounded in recommended practices.
  6. Design appropriate accommodations and interventions for young children with disabilities ages birth to five.
Emphasis Area 3: Positive Behavior Support
  1. Demonstrate a functional understanding of operant and respondent conditioning and how each contributes to the development and maintenance of challenging behavior;
  2. Develop systems for collecting and analyzing data to determine functional relations between the individual's behavior (including verbal behavior) and surrounding environmental events across settings and activities;
  3. Utilize the principles and applications of applied behavior analysis (e.g., discrimination training, shaping, chaining, fading, differential reinforcement, self-management, planned generalization) for making problem behavior irrelevant, inefficient, and ineffective, while increasing the individual's ability to accomplish goals in socially acceptable ways;
  4. Design behavior monitoring systems to track changes in behavior/skills over time and summarize the results of those observations in visual (graphic) format to facilitate understanding and data-based decision making among all team members; and
  5. Describe a problem-solving process in which ethical dilemmas can be identified and resolved using the BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (2014).


Go to mobile site