Graduate Catalog

2014 – 2015


2013-2014 Graduate Catalog Archive

Office of Graduate Studies
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763
gradstudy@wcupa.edu

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Revised October 2014

Special Education


309 Recitation Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
610-436-2579
Dr. Wandry, Chairperson
Dr. McGinley, Graduate Coordinator

Professors [top]

Vicki A. McGinley, Ph.D., Temple University
Donna Wandry, Ph.D., University of Florida

Associate Professors

N. Kim Doan, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Tara C. Guerriero, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Corinne Murphy, Ph.D., Ohio State University
Claire Verden, Ed.D., Arcadia University

Assistant Professors

Beatrice A. Adera, Ph.D.,University of North Texas
S. Christy Hicks, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
Mary Houser, Ed.D., Fayetteville State University
Dean Schofield, Ph.D., University of Virginia
York Williams, Ph.D., Temple University

Programs of Study [top]

The Department of Special Education offers the master of education in special education (in traditional or online formats), post baccalaureate Pennsylvania teacher certification in special education, a graduate certificate in autism studies, and a graduate certificate in universal design for learning and assistive technology (online program).

THE MASTER OF EDUCATION PROGRAM ALONE DOES NOT LEAD TO PENNSYLVANIA LEVEL I CERTIFICATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION. THE GRADUATE CERTIFICATES DO NOT LEAD TO PENNSYLVANIA LEVEL I CERTIFICATION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION.

Master of Education in Special Education

Admission Requirements

  1. An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  2. Two letters of recommendation
  3. Application, including goal statements
  4. Submission of satisfactory GRE or MAT scores at the 50th percentile if GPA is below the required University GPA of 3.0
  5. Admission interview (only if deemed necessary)

Degree Candidacy

Students must apply to be admitted to candidacy after the completion of 12 semester hours of work at West Chester University, including EDF 500 or 501 and two courses from the special education program. Grade point averages must be consistent with standards required in graduate studies at West Chester University (minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0).

Curriculum (33 semester hours) [top]

  1. Professional education courses (6 semester hours)
    EDF 500 or 501, and one of the following selected with adviser: EDF 510, EDP 550, and EDT 500
  2. Special education core (15 semester hours)
    EDA 503, 506, 544, 580, and 591
  3. Areas of concentration/tracks (6 semester hours)
    Student will select an area of concentration:
    Universal design for learning and assistive technology (online program)
    Autism*
    Diversity in the classroom/multicultural and urban education
    Literacy
    Mathematics
    Sciences
    Special education (high or low incidence)
    TESL*

*This area of concentration has an optional certificate program. Certificate programs may require special admission and additional course work for certificate completion. Contact the host department for details.

Note: Applicants to the M.Ed. in special education who show evidence of Pennsylvania state teaching licensure issued prior to 2013 or teaching licensure from another state may be required to complete EDA 541/542 and/or EDA 505 to fulfill PDE Chapter 49.3 guidelines.

Online Master of Education in Special Education

Admission Requirements

  1. An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  2. Two letters of recommendation
  3. Application, including goal statements
  4. Submission of satisfactory GRE or MAT scores at the 50th percentile if GPA is below the required University GPA of 3.0
  5. Admission interview (only if deemed necessary)

Degree Candidacy

Students must apply to be admitted to candidacy after the completion of 12 semester hours of work at West Chester University, including EDF 500 or 501 and two courses from the special education program. Grade point averages must be consistent with standards required in graduate studies at West Chester University (minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0).


Curriculum (33 semester hours)

  1. Professional education courses (6 semester hours)
    EDF 500 and EDT 500
  2. Special education core (15 semester hours)
    EDA 503, 506, 544, 580, and 591
  3. Areas of concentration/tracks (12 semester hours)
    Select one area of concentration from those below and
    complete four courses in that area:
    • Universal design for learning and assistive technology (online program)
    • Special education (high or low incidence)

Note: Applicants may be required to take EDA 542, prior to core special education (EDA) courses. This is determined through advisement and transcript review.

Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Special Education

Admission Requirements

The applicant must have the following:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale calculated on the most recent 48 credits of college/university course work and 2.8 total undergraduate cumulative GPA. (If the applicant possesses a master's degree, the GPA requirement applies to that degree.)
  3. Evidence of having taken courses in mathematics and English. (Students may be admitted provisionally without these courses; however, they must take them within the first two semesters of graduate work.)

Formal Admission to Teacher Certification Program

Students must do the following:

  1. Meet the above program entry requirements
  2. File a form in the certification office
  3. Receive a passing score on Praxis Skills examinations
  4. Receive department approval

Certification Requirements

A. Students already possessing teacher certification in an approved area of study must have the following:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or
    university
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale calculated on the most recent 48 credits of college/university course work and 3.0 total undergraduate cumulative GPA. (If the applicant possesses a master’s degree, the GPA requirement applies to that degree.)
  3. Evidence of a Pennsylvania teacher certification in an approved area of study (early grades preparation Pre-K–4; middle grades preparation, grades 4–8; grades 7–12 content area; reading specialist, and elementary education K–6)
  4. Evidence of having completed college-level studies in English composition (three credits), literature (three credits), and mathematics (six credits).

Note: Students may be admitted provisionally without these courses; however, they must take them within the first two semesters of graduate work.

B. Students who wish to pursue certification in special education at the post-baccalaureate level at WCU must follow these requirements:

Students who do not already possess a teaching certification in one of the approved areas of study listed above may not be admitted into the post-baccalaureate certification in special education. However, with evidence of admission into teacher certification in another approved area of study (early grades preparation, middle grades preparation, grades 7–12 content area, or reading specialist), students may concurrently take courses toward their special education certification listed below. Upon completion of their initial certification in the other approved area of study, students will need to reapply to WCU as a post-baccalaureate certification student in special education and take any remaining course work needed to complete the special education certification. Department advisement is necessary for this process.

Note: Evidence of Chapter 49.13 competencies must be met. If this is not present, or if course work does not meet these competencies, students may need to take additional course work, under advisement.

Curriculum (24-30 semester hours)
Special education core courses

EDA 514 or 515, 516, 521, 523, 542, 544, 574, 582

Certificate in Autism

This certificate is being offered for practitioners and parents alike who wish to earn a certificate of specialization in autism spectrum disorders. The program provides participants, who currently (or may in the future) work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, the skill sets necessary to build and work within an interdisciplinary approach to effective and empirically based treatment of these individuals. Interdisciplinary areas covered include communicative disorders, kinesiology, psychology, and special education.

Admission requirements are a bachelor’s degree from an accredited, four-year, degree-granting institution and a 3.0 GPA.

Required courses include EDA 503, EDA/SPP 521, EDA 530, EDA 544, KIN 587, and PSY 521

Certificate in Universal Design for Learning and
Assistive Technology (online program) (18 semester hours)

The certificate in UDL/AT provides professionals, parents, and other community members instruction and training in assessment, pedagogy, and technology that support the students who rely on UDL and AT for learning.

Admission requirements are a bachelor’s degree from an accredited, four-year, degree-granting institution and a 3.0 GPA.

Required courses are EDA/EDT 517, EDA/EDT 519, EDA/SPP 521, EDA 522, EDA 542, and EDT 500.

Course Descriptions [top]

Special Education
Symbol: EDA

The following courses may be taken as electives by anyone in a graduate program, subject to approval from the department and the student's adviser.

503 Family Systems in Special Education: Field and Seminar (3) This course bases its objectives on the knowledge of families of children with disabilities as essential for the child's education. The family is studied so that the teacher can best know how to work with diverse families and family systems.

504 Advanced Methods of Low-Incidence Disabilities (3) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the essentials of the systematic instruction of functional life skills for learners with severe disabilities across the domains of a functional curriculum. A field component is required in the class.

505 Advanced Methods for High-Incidence Disabilities (3) This course is designed to prepare teachers to work with children with high-incidence disabilities. It provides an overview of curriculum and instructional methods. Emphasis is placed on understanding and analysis of learning problems and academic interventions.

506 Legal Issues in Special Education (3) This course presents information on legislation that governs the delivery of special education services. Attention will be given to teachers’ challenges in implementation and compliance, and writing legally sound individualized educational plans and service agreement plans.

507 Diversity Within the Context of Disability (3) Required for the post baccalaureate and M.Ed. programs in special education, this course gives students an opportunity to explore different race, social class, gender and ethnic group orientations in relation to disability status in order to educate all children effectively. The course will cover desirable changes in attitude perceptions, understanding, and practices when working with exceptional children, youth, and families.

508 Introduction to Early Childhood/Special Education (3)This course is an overview of the field of early childhood special education (ECSE).  We will explore the processes of early intervention including screening, assessment, instructional programming, integrating children with and without disabilities, and family involvement.  Emphasis is placed on assessing and promoting the development of cognitive, language, social, self-help and motor skills.

509 Single-Subject Research (3) This course addresses the application of research methods commonly referred to as single-subject design to problems in education.

510 Collaboration (3) This course will prepare teachers in inclusive strategies and effective skills for collaboration. Students will learn practical methods to support the needs of all students in the K-12 classroom. Teachers will understand the importance of collaboration in the planning and evaluation of educational programs of children with disabilities in the general education classroom.

511 Inclusion and Collaboration (3) The purpose of this course is to prepare teachers to cultural changes evident in American public education with respect to inclusion and the education of students with disabilities. Students will examine their beliefs about inclusion and collaboration, hear new perspectives on these philosophies, learn how to work collaboratively with other professionals, and learn practical methods to support all students in the classroom.

513 Career Development and Transition Systems Structures (3) This course will address post-school support structures that serve students with disabilities as they transition into adult life, stressing legislative foundations, interagency linkages, school-business partnerships, referral processes, and seamless systems of service delivery. The teacher practitioner as change agent will be an underlying theme.

514 PreK-8 Aspects of Transition (3) This course will address support structures that serve students with disabilities as they transition from homebound to and throughout the PreK-8 school system. PREREQ: EDA 542.

515 Middle/Secondary Career Development and Transition (3) This course addresses lifespan issues for persons with disabilities, stressing assessment, planning, and instructional strategies that promote successful movement to and through adult roles. PREREQ: EDA 542.

516 Curriculum and Instruction for Individual Learning Differences I (3) This course is designed to prepare students to assist children and youth with disabilities achieve skills in academics and functional life domains. PREREQ: EDA 542.

517 Technology and Universal Design for Learning (3) This course provides an introduction to the principles of universal design for learning (UDL), the incorporation of assistive technologies to accomplish UDL, and strategies for its inclusion in diverse instructional settings. Crosslisted with EDT 517.

519 Introduction to Assistive Technology (3) This course focuses on the awareness of assistive technologies as it relates to education, communication, vocation, recreation and mobility for students with disabilities. Crosslisted with EDT 519.

520 Introduction to Autism: Understanding Autism and the Interdisciplinary Process (3) This course addresses the principles and strategies involved in an interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of individuals with autism. Faculty from the departments of Communicative Disorders, Kinesiology, Psychology, and Special Education provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon the characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorders within the individual discipline and how to work successfully within an interdisciplinary setting.

521 Assistive Technologies for Communication and Participation (3) This course will present various types of communication disorders and the impact of high- and low-level technology, specifically augmentative and alternative communication systems and assistive technologies to support the child with disabilities in the K-12 classroom. This course is cross-listed with SPP 521.

522 Integrating Assistive Technology in the Classroom (3) This seminar/field experience is the final course in the assistive technology certificate program. Designed for educational professionals, it is focused on the integration of assistive technologies into the K-12 classroom.

523 Curriculum and Instruction for Individual Learning Differences II (3) This course is designed to support students in the research, development, and implementation of instruction for students with disabilities. PREREQ: EDA 516 and 574.

529 Communication Development and Assistive Technologies for Students with Disabilities (3) This course will provide a broad overview of normal and atypical communication development among students with disabilities, including the impact of high- and low-level technology. PREREQ: EDA 542.

530 Teaching Children with Autism (3) This course serves as an in-depth analysis of the unique education needs of students with autism spectrum disorders. Students will learn about the educational issues surrounding autism spectrum disorders including history, etiology, current legislation, instructional strategies, and issues related to transition. In addition students will develop a working sense of classroom assessment and intervention strategies specific to educational settings for students with autism spectrum disorders.

541 Foundations of Special Education (3) The study of children whose intellectual, physical, social, and/or emotional characteristics are significantly different from those of children whose needs are met through regular educational routes.

542 Foundations of Special Education (3) This course is designed to acquaint the prospective teacher with the historical legal evolution of the field, special education processes, and the characteristics of individuals with disabilities.

544 Classroom Management (3) Exploration of current practices in the management and modification of behavior. The professional’s role in achieving a better basis for meaningful communication with the special child. Problems that may interfere with teacher effectiveness are discussed. PREREQ: EDA 542 or equivalent.

573 Assessment in Special Education (3) Diagnostic procedures and subsequent educational prescriptions useful with students experiencing learning difficulties. PREREQ: EDA 541 or equivalent.

574 Assessment and Special Education (3) This course is designed to introduce students to instructional assessment in special education and the development of relevant education plans to meet federal regulations. PREREQ: EDA 542.

580 Contemporary Issues and Trends (3) Current trends, problems, and issues in special education, teacher education, research, and administration will be explored. Emerging concepts relating to special education will be emphasized. PREREQ: EDA 541 or equivalent.

581 Practicum: Special Education (3) Offers students an opportunity to put skills gained through course work into practice under supervision from the department. Weekly seminar required. PREREQ: EDA 541 or equivalent.

582 Special Education Modified Student Teaching and Seminar (1-3) This is a required course for students pursuing special education certification at the post-baccaluarate level. The student will have direct experience with students with disabilities receiving special education services. PREREQ: EDA 516, 529, 542, 544, 574, and 514 or 515.

590 Independent Study (1-3)

591 Final Project (3) This course will provide the student the opportunity to learn how to evaluate and interpret published research, to conduct a critical research review, and to develop and produce an original research paper. Offered on a two-semester basis with each part carrying three credits. PREREQ: EDF 500.

592 Workshops in Special Education (1-3) A number of these workshops will be focused on inclusive instruction and strategies.