Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University

Undergraduate Special Education, Traditional


National Rank

Updated 2014
Key Standards
Selection Criteria
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User Comments

The program fully meets the standard because it is housed within an institution that is relatively selective and the average GPA for the incoming class of teacher candidates is 3.3 or higher. Both of these measures provide assurance that candidates have the requisite academic talent.

Early Reading
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User Comments

Courses reviewed: RDG 322, and SPE 423

The research-based content proven to be necessary for teaching all children to read should be clearly evident in course materials such as lecture topics, assignments and textbooks. All of a program's required reading courses — not just some courses — should impart what is necessary to teach reading.

The program meets the standard because its coursework covers all five of the components of effective reading instruction:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension Strategies

Elementary Mathematics
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User Comments

Teacher candidates, even those who excel in math, generally require three semesters of coursework, complemented by adequate field practice in order to progress from a procedural to a conceptual understanding of the essential mathematics topics taught in the elementary grades.

The program meets only a small part of this standard because it falls well short of providing the amount of coursework necessary to ensure that all essential topics are adequately covered and the coursework design is inadequate.

Content for Special Education
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User Comments

Because they cannot teach what they do not know, special education teacher candidates need to have a solid grasp of literature and composition, American and world history, geography and science.

Commendably, special education teacher candidates in this state can obtain certification to teach in the elementary grades alone, rather than the overly broad certification to teach in grades PK-12. However, the program fails to meet this standard because the combination of institution and program requirements provides no coverage of the elementary content special education teachers need in:

  • History
  • Science

Coverage is somewhat deficient in:
  • Literature

Instructional Design for Special Education
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User Comments

The central feature of accommodations for students with high-incidence special needs is the design of instruction that allows them to access the general education curriculum. Preparation for special education teacher candidates must contain sufficient instruction and practice on the minor modifications, major adaptations or major enhancements to the curriculum that will allow students with special needs to learn access content in English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

The program only partly satisfies this standard because while it requires several courses (or the equivalent) with a strong focus on instructional design in a particular content area or in multiple content areas, this coursework falls well short of requiring a sufficient number of assignments requiring teacher candidates to design instruction that can meet a range of student needs.

Student Teaching
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User Comments

A high-quality student teaching experience depends on: 1) sufficient feedback as defined by at least four -- and ideally five or more -- observations with written feedback provided at regular intervals, and 2) the capacity of the program to play an active role in the selection of cooperating teachers, as evidenced by its solicitation of substantive nominating information related to mentoring skills and instructional effectiveness. The standard separately reports on, but does not rate, clear communication to school districts that cooperating teachers must be both strong mentors of adults and highly effective instructors. Such communication may be either explicit (in letters or handbooks directed at school district personnel) or implicit (in the nature of information solicited from principals or teachers nominated for the role of cooperating teacher).

The program meets this standard because it provides student teachers with nearly sufficient feedback at regular intervals, and fully asserts its critical role in the selection of cooperating teachers by obtaining substantive information on both of the characteristics of cooperating teachers required by the standard -- that they be effective instructors and capable mentors.

Although this did not affect the rating, the program clearly communicates to school districts both of the characteristics of cooperating teachers required by the standard -- that they be effective instructors and capable mentors.

Booster Standards
Classroom Management
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User Comments

Teachers can teach and students can learn only in a functional classroom environment where students are engaged and productive. Teacher candidates will be better prepared to establish a productive classroom environment if the evaluation and/or observation instruments used to evaluate their student teaching performance provide feedback on specific classroom management strategies that together constitute a coherent management approach.

The program meets the standard because the feedback provided to student teachers addresses nearly all components of a coherent management approach as outlined by the standard.

The program's evaluation and/or observation instruments provide feedback on student teachers' ability to:

  • establish and/or reinforce expectations for classroom behavior
  • manage time; manage materials; manage student engagement
  • recognize appropriate behavior through meaningful praise or other positive reinforcement
  • manage minor student misbehavior
  • manage disruptive student misbehavior

The program's evaluation and/or observation instruments do not provide feedback on student teachers' ability to:
  • manage the physical classroom

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User Comments

Like K-12 institutions, colleges and universities must commit themselves to gathering the data needed for teacher preparation program accountability. Some institutions are privileged by the initiatives taken by their state to provide them with outcomes information, but all institutions have the capacity to obtain such information, independent of state initiatives if necessary.

The teacher preparation institution only partly meets the standard. The institution:

  • Surveys its graduates regarding topics relevant to program evaluation;
  • Surveys its graduates' employers about their professional performance; and
  • Collects both of these forms of data on an established timetable that supports regular program evaluation.
However, it does not:
  • Secure data from teacher performance assessments administered to candidates just prior to or at graduation; or
  • Secure growth data on its graduates' students.

Other Standards

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Other Ranked Programs at Arizona State University
Undergraduate Elementary
Undergraduate Secondary
Graduate Elementary
Graduate Secondary