Undergraduate Catalog

2012 – 2013


2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Archive

Office of Admissions
Emil H. Messikomer Hall
100 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-3411
Fax: 610-436-2907
ugadmiss@wcupa.edu


Revised June 2012

Academic Programs

Teaching Certification Programs

The primary mission of the undergraduate teacher education programs at West Chester University is the preparation of teachers for the classrooms of Pennsylvania. The University’s conceptual framework, Learning and Teaching in Context, guides the preparation of teachers who can ensure strong academic achievement for PK-12 students in schools and other educational environments of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The University is committed to excellence in teacher education by preparing candidates to exhibit knowledge, skill, and professional dispositional outcomes exemplified in the following roles: knowledge and pedagogical specialist, assessment and instructional designer, diversity advocate and classroom community builder, school and community professional, and self-directed practitioner.

The University is committed to preparing exemplary professionals to assume roles and responsibilities as educators in a multicultural, global society; to pursue personal and professional development opportunities; to support the continuing improvement of schools; to assume leadership; and to participate in the education community.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has replaced three current teacher certification programs (early childhood education PreK-3; elementary education K-6; and special education K-12) with four new programs (early grades preparation, PK-4; middle grades preparation, 4-8; special education PK-8; and special education 7-12). Currently enrolled students seeking the certifications that were replaced have until August 31, 2013 to complete all requirements and to secure those certifications.

WCU received PDE approval to offer the four new certifications. They apply to first year and most transfer teacher certification students who have entered since fall 2009.

PDE adopted new regulations that affect all of Pennsylvania’s teacher certification programs by adding nine credits, 270 hours, or an equivalent combination of content related to adaptations and accommodations for diverse students in inclusive settings; and three credits, 90 hours, or an equivalent combination to meet the instructional needs of English language learners. Additional program requirements were developed and incorporated into certification programs to comply with the new regulations. These program requirements became effective January 1, 2011.

Recent guideline changes from PDE will soon lead to new program requirements in secondary education, 7-12 programs in English, mathematics, social studies, and the sciences (biology, chemistry, earth science, physics). Although teacher education faculty from WCU are working to address the new guidelines through new or amended program requirements, work on these new program characteristics is on hold pending clarification from PDE on several key aspects of the guidelines. The new requirements will be published in a forthcoming addendum when they become available.

West Chester University offers 20 undergraduate certification programs for students who wish to prepare themselves to be certified teachers. These programs, which are described more fully in the departmental listings, include the following:

Department Program and/or Degree
Biology B.S.Ed., Biology
Chemistry B.S.Ed., Chemistry
Early And Middle Grades Education B.S.Ed., Early Grades Preparation, PK-4
B.S.Ed., Middle Grades Preparation, 4-8
English B.S.Ed., English
Geography and Planning B.A., Elective Certification – Social Studies, 7-12
Geology and Astronomy B.S.Ed., Earth and Space Sciences, 7-12
Certification only: General Science, 7-12
History B.A., Elective Certification – Social Studies, 7-12
Kinesiology B.S., Health and Physical Education, K-12
Languages and Cultures B.A., Elective Certification: French, German, Russian, Spanish, K-12
Mathematics B.S.Ed., Mathematics, 7-12
Music Education B.M., Music Education, K-12 (vocal, choral, general, instrumental)
Physics B.S.Ed., Physics, K-12
Political Science B.A., Elective Certification – Social Studies, 7-12
Special Education

B.S.Ed., PK-8
B.S.Ed., 7-12

FORMAL ADMISSION TO TEACHER EDUCATION

All students seeking a bachelor’s degree in education or a bachelor of arts degree with elective certification must apply for formal admission to teacher education (FATE), a process required by Pennsylvania Code that is different from being admitted to the University. This provision applies to those who have already received University admission to pursue majors in teacher education. Achieving FATE enables teacher education candidates to enroll in the advanced course work required to complete degree and certification programs.

Beginning September 1, 2003 the minimum standards for formal admission to a WCU teacher preparation program include the following:

  1. Major in a teacher-education program or enrolled in an elective certification program
  2. 48 semester-hour credits of college-level study
  3. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on all college-level work
  4. Passing scores, as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) on the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessments (PAPA) in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Details for these exams were not available at press time. Please consult with the Teacher Certification Office, 302 Recitation Hall, regarding up-to-date testing information or visit the PDE Web site (www.pde.state.pa.us/).
  5. Six semester-hour credits of college-level (100 level or above) mathematics, three semester-hour credits of college-level (100 level or above) English composition, and three semester-hour credits in literature taught in English; and
  6. Recommendation by the department of the student's major. (Department recommendation may be contingent upon completion of additional and/or more rigorous requirements than the minimum described above.) Secondary education majors obtain a recommendation from their content adviser as well as their professional and secondary education adviser.
  7. See department listing to determine whether community service or other requirements apply.

WCU teacher education students who achieve formal admission to teacher education must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.80 to retain formal admission status. In most cases, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 must be earned to qualify for Pennsylvania public school teacher certification. Each program has designated, for its own majors, its advanced professional courses. Only those majors who have been formally admitted to teacher education are eligible to take these courses. The undergraduate program counselor, 251 Francis Harvey Green Library, processes all applications for formal admission to teacher education programs.

Students who earn formal admission to teacher education and later fall below the required cumulative GPA are permitted to repeat advanced professional education course work to improve their GPA to the required level (2.80). Such students will not, however, be permitted to register for additional advanced professional education course work in their programs until they again achieve the minimum cumulative GPA required for formal admission (2.80).

Early Field Experiences

Designated courses require early field experience to observe and work with PK-12 students in schools and other settings. Students must have a current TB test result, Pennsylvania State Criminal History Record, Federal Criminal History Report, and Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse Report before they can be assigned to schools to perform course assignments/other requirements. Under no circumstances may candidates complete clinical experiences in the field without the proper clearances. The WCU policies on clearance are located on the College of Education Web site.

STUDENT TEACHING

Student teaching is the culminating experience of the teacher education program. Students majoring in early grades preparation PK-4, middle grades preparation 4-8, languages, secondary, and special education must file applications to student teach with the Office of Field Placements and Student Teaching (251 Francis Harvey Green Library) one year before the semester in which they intend to teach. Students majoring in music education and health and physical education (kinesiology) must file applications with their departments.

To be eligible to complete a student teaching experience, candidates (undergraduates and post-baccalaureates) must have

  • completed the prerequisite course requirements,
  • met the state-mandated grade point average (2.80) or higher,
  • satisfied the requirements for formal admission to teacher education, and
  • provided a score report that they took, and in some programs passed, the appropriate licensure exam as identified by PDE in the subject area where the candidates are enrolled to achieve certification.

See program listings and advising sheets for specifics and any other program requirements. Students should contact their departments for the requirements. A student must earn an academic grade of C or better in both student teaching assignments and graduate with the state-mandated minimum grade point average (3.0) or higher to qualify for a Pennsylvania teaching certificate.

Students are assigned a student teaching placement in schools with which the University has a formal agreement.

To graduate from a teacher education program with a baccalaureate degree, that is, to be a program completer, candidates must have

  • completed the required course work,
  • earned at least minimum grades in courses specified by their program,
  • achieved and maintained formal admission,
  • earned an overall GPA of at least 3.0,
  • achieved grades of at least C in both student teaching courses, and
  • earned passing scores on the appropriate licensure exam as identified by PDE in the subject area/program where they are enrolled to achieve certification.

TEACHING CERTIFICATION

Students apply for a Pennsylvania certificate through the University’s Teacher Certification Office. As soon as all certification requirements have been met, students’ applications are signed by the certifying officer at West Chester University and forwarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Applicants for the certificate must be citizens of the United States. A noncitizen must declare the intent to become a citizen of the United States and possess a permanent resident visa to qualify for a teaching certificate. For more information, contact the University’s Teacher Certification Office.

Information about Pennsylvania certification is available from the Teacher Certification Office, College of Education Web site, and PDE.

Postbaccalaureate students who wish to obtain teaching certification should consult with the academic program of interest.

PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENT FOR BEGINNING TEACHERS

Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers

Students pursuing initial Pennsylvania Instructional Level I Certification must meet the passing score on the examinations at the time of application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Currently, these examinations include the following:

  • As part of the requirements for formal admission to teacher education, all students must pass the PPST (Praxis I) or the PECT (PAPA) series of exams in reading, mathematics, and writing. Students are strongly encouraged to take these exams in the second semester of the first year of college study.
    Note: Any student who has registered for the PPST’s prior to April 2, 2012 or has successfully passed them before that date will have their scores honored by the PDE. Students also are permitted to repeat any portion of the PPST necessary to be successful beyond the April deadline. For all others, PAPA testing replaces PPST on April 2, 2012.
  • All candidates for certification must take all required licensure tests prior to student teaching. Score reports of all Praxis II, PECT, or ACTFL (OPI/WPT) tests must be produced during preregistration for student teaching, as evidence of completing the academic department’s test requirements.
  • Some programs require a passing score for the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge exam (#0511) prior to student teaching. Students should consult with their academic department for requirements specific to their major.
  • All candidates must pass all required licensure examinations in order to graduate from their teacher education major program.

HEA - Title II Praxis Test Results for Program Completer, including Pass Rates Regular Teacher Preparation Program for the 2009-2010 Academic Year

Aggregate results from Educational Testing Service:

Assessment Type Number Taking Number Passing

Passing Rate Institutional

Statewide
Praxis I-Reading
711
708
100%
99%
Praxis I-Writing
711
685
96%
99%
Academic Content Knowledge Areas
Biology
10
10
100%
100%
Chemistry
3
3
100%
100%
Early Childhood Education
81
81
100%
99%
Earth Science
7
7
100%
100%
Elem Ed Curriculum, Instruction,
and Assessment
302
297
98%
94%
English Lang Lit Comp
41
40
98%
98%
French
4
4
100%
88%
Fundamental Subjects
612
612
100%
99%
General Science
3
3
100%
96%
German
2
1
100%
91%
Health and PE
97
97
100%
100%
Mathematics
13
13
100%
96%
Music
61
61
100%
98%
Physics
2
2
100%
94%
Social Studies
39
37
95%
95%
Spanish
19
19
100%
86%
Teaching Special Populations Content Knowledge
Ed of Exceptional Students
121
121
100%
100%
Teaching Speech to Students with Language Impairments
26
26
100%
100%

Questions related to these tests should be directed to the Teacher Certification Office, 302 Recitation Hall. West Chester University is a designated Praxis test center and administers these tests six times a year according to the dates established by Educational Testing Service (ETS).

INSTRUCTIONAL I CERTIFICATE

A student who completes one of the University's teacher education curricula and passes all licensure tests required by the state qualifies for an Instructional I Certificate, which is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This certificate is valid for six years of teaching in Pennsylvania. Recommendation for the certificate is made by the dean of the College of Education, who serves as the certifying officer of the University.

INSTRUCTIONAL II CERTIFICATE

This certificate requires three years of successful teaching in Pennsylvania under the Instructional I Certificate, successful completion of an Induction Plan approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the satisfactory completion of 24 semester hours of additional course work completed at a baccalaureate-granting institution, after issuance of the baccalaureate degree. This certificate is a valid license to teach in Pennsylvania.

All or part of the educational requirements for this credential may be obtained through approved, in-service programs. Effective July 1, 2000 (ACT 48) the state requires all certified teachers and administrators to engage in continuing professional development activities. WCU course work is an acceptable option for the six hours of college credit (or its equivalent) required for teachers and administrators every five years.

Certification in additional subject areas may be obtained by completing requirements for that area, or in certain areas, by completing a Praxis specialty examination (see the Pennsylvania Department of Education Web site: www.pde.state.pa.us/). Students should consult the department in which they seek certification for information and an evaluation of their credits.

Teacher Education, Student Dispositions
Dispositional Expectations

If a faculty member documents that a particular teacher education or pre-service student is having difficulty with one of the following dispositional expectations in a University class or field-based course that the faculty member is teaching/supervising, he/she will request a meeting with the student, share evidence of the concerns, hear the student's reason for behavior(s) of concern, make recommendations for improvement where appropriate, and follow up the meeting with a notice and action plan sent to the student and his/her department chair. The notice and action plan will be placed in the student's file in the department. The student also may be required to meet with a committee of faculty within the major department, at the department's discretion, to

  1. explore the nature of the concerns,
  2. hear the student's reasons for the behavior(s) of concern, and
  3. discuss corrective measures for remaining in the professional education sequence.

If the behavior of concern is not corrected satisfactorily, it may lead to the department's recommendation to deny formal admission to teacher education and/or advancement in the program. These recommendations would be forwarded to the associate dean of the College of Education for a final ruling. At this time, if the student chooses to appeal the ruling, the matter would come before the Teacher Education Student Appeals Committee, according to established protocol.

The purpose of this committee is to hear student appeals of decisions made by the associate dean, College of Education, related to formal admission to teacher education and other matters regarding students' progress in teacher education programs. Information related to this committee is on the University's Web site under academic programs, College of Education.

For dispositional expectations, go to the College of Education Web site, www.wcupa.edu/_academics/coed/studentinfo/dispositions.asp.

Fees and Other Expenses

All students pursuing teacher certification in Pennsylvania can expect to spend approximately $100 on LiveText courseware, $300 on required licensure tests, $65 per year on criminal clearances, $15 TB testing, and $100 on the Pennsylvania certification application. If Praxis testing or clearances must be repeated for any reason during the student’s enrollment at WCU, he or she will incur additional expenses. Note: TB testing must be updated annually for all early grades preparation PK-4 majors entering early childhood centers.

LiveText

LiveText is a courseware product required of all candidates. This product contributes to their learning; to the posting of assignments for assessment; to storing their work, growth, and development over their undergraduate career; and to applying for student teaching. Candidates purchase this courseware as they would a textbook or other material for a course. They can use LiveText throughout their undergraduate studies and one year after graduation. Purchase takes place at the campus bookstore, LiveText, or other outlets