Elon, North Carolina

Elon University

Undergraduate Special Education, Traditional

#3

National Rank

Updated 2014
Key Standards
Selection Criteria
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User Comments

The program fully meets the standard because the institution in which it is housed is sufficiently selective to provide assurance that teacher candidates have the requisite academic talent.

Early Reading
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User Comments

Courses reviewed: EDU 323, and EDU 444

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

Courses reviewed: MTH 208, and MTH 209

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 institution meets this standard because it requires both a sufficient amount of elementary mathematics content coursework that is designed to appropriately cover the necessary topics and adequate field practice through an elementary mathematics methods course or a concurrent practicum.

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:

  • Science

Coverage is somewhat deficient in:
  • Literature

Coverage is very deficient in:
  • History

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 fully satisfies this standard because it requires several courses (or the equivalent) with a strong focus on instructional design in a particular content area or in multiple content areas and this coursework requires a sufficient number of assignments requiring teacher candidates to design instruction that can meet a range of student needs.

We note a substantial number of relevant assignments in additional required coursework for special education candidates that is not offered by the special education department and/or has a clinical focus but nonetheless clearly addresses instructional design in content instruction.

We also note a substantial number of relevant assignments in additional required coursework for special education candidates that does not appear to otherwise address instructional design in content instruction.

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 does not meet this standard because while it provides student teachers with sufficient feedback, it does not do so at regular intervals. Nor does it assert its critical role in the selection of cooperating teachers by obtaining substantive information of any kind.

Although this did not affect the rating, the program does not clearly communicate 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 partly meets the standard because the feedback provided to student teachers omits some critical 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 student engagement
  • manage disruptive student misbehavior

The program's evaluation and/or observation instruments do not provide feedback on student teachers' ability to:
  • manage materials; manage the physical classroom
  • recognize appropriate behavior through meaningful praise or other positive reinforcement
  • manage minor student misbehavior

Outcomes
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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 Elon University
Undergraduate Elementary
Undergraduate Secondary