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Special Education Masters Program

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives serving as the foundation of the Masters Special Education Programs are based on an analysis of the critical competencies necessary to be successful educational professionals (e.g., http://www.cec.sped.org/Standards , http://bacb.com/experience-standards/ ).

Objectives are organized according to the sequence of activities necessary to prepare students to graduate with the full set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of professionals in their field.

Admission. 
  1. Students will enter the program with prerequisite skills and knowledge necessary for high quality graduate-level education.
  2. Admitted students will surpass rigorous criteria applied in the admission process that compares applicant data to program standards in a competitive process.
Course and fieldwork
  1. Courses will include syllabi with
    1. measurable objectives,
    2. recognized professional standards, and
    3. identified competencies.
      Fig 1: Course Syllabus ExcerptExample Syllabus
  2. Students pursuing BCBA certification will pass courses designed to teach competencies in applied behavior analysis, including functional behavior assessment, functional analysis, data collection and analysis, understanding of behavioral research, and implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of behavioral treatments.
  3. Students pursuing transition concentration will pass courses designed to teach competencies in supporting youth and young adults in transition from school to adulthood, including transition assessment and planning, strategies for placing students into employment and postsecondary education, working with families, and collaborating with adult service agencies.
  4. Students pursuing the advanced special education concentration will pass courses designed to teach assessment strategies, implementation of multi-tiered systems of supports, data-based approaches to responding to intervention effects, inclusive educational methodologies, co-teaching and coaching strategies, legislative and policy updates, and working with children representing cultural and linguistic diversity.
Thesis or Creative Project
  1. Students will successfully complete a thesis or creative project as the culminating activity for the masters degree by demonstrating competencies such as written and oral presentation/defense of analysis of published research, review and synthesis of literature review, conduct of a research project, and analysis of results. 
Student Evaluation of Masters Program at Graduation
  1. Graduates will evaluate the Masters Special Education Program by completing a comprehensive survey to identify their accomplishments, barriers, facilitators, and level of satisfaction with the program.
  2. Faculty will analyze graduate data regarding the Masters Special Education Program and make programmatic our course changes based on data.

Assessment Plan

Student knowledge, skills, and dispositions are measured on numerous levels in the program (e.g., individual objectives within courses, by course grades, by performance on authentic integrative products, and by the quality of thesis/creative project), overall programmatic decisions depend most heavily on quality of products because these include all critical objectives and allow for evaluation in appropriately authentic and complex contexts. Assessment activities in the Masters Program are aligned with learning objectives relative to Admission, Course and Field Work, Thesis/Creative Project, and Student Evaluation of the Masters Program at Graduation, as shown below.

Assessment Plan and Outcome Data for Learning Objectives
Learning Objective Assessment Plan Outcomes Data
Admission: (a) Students will enter the program with prerequisite skills and knowledge necessary for high quality graduate-level education. Students submit applications including GRE scores, transcripts, letters of intent, letters of recommendation, resumes, and other relevant information. As an admissions committee, masters program faculty review and score applications of each student, then make decisions as a group based on quantitative and qualitative data.
Admission: (b) Admitted students will surpass rigorous criteria applied in the admission process that compares applicant data to professional standards in a competitive process. Students submit credentials, certifications, and/or awards established by professional organizations for faculty review. As an admissions committee, masters program faculty evaluate student credentials, certifications, and/or awards.
Courses and field work: (a) Courses will include syllabi with (1) measurable objectives, (2) recognized professional standards, and (3) identified competencies. Student performance is compared to grading criteria in syllabi, professional standards, and identified competencies. Student grades for courses and field work.
Courses and field work: (b) Students pursuing BCBA certification. Student performance across all courses is reviewed in a Program of Study. Students who meet/exceed minimum GPA required by the School of Research and Graduate Studies. Student Program of Study and GPA for courses and field work.
Courses and field work: (c) Students pursuing transition concentration. Student performance across all courses is reviewed in a Program of Study. Students who meet/exceed minimum GPA required by the School of Research and Graduate Studies. Student Program of Study and GPA for courses and field work.
Courses and field work: (d) Students pursuing advanced special education concentration Student performance across all courses is reviewed in a Program of Study. Students who meet/exceed minimum GPA required by the School of Research and Graduate Studies. Student Program of Study and GPA for courses and field work.
Thesis or Creative Project: Students will successfully complete a thesis or creative project as the culminating activity for the masters degree.

(1) Students submit a 15-30 page proposal with description of problem/topic, review of research literature, research questions, method, and anticipated results to masters faculty committee.

(2) Students will submit a 20 – 40 page thesis or creative project report with refined and final versions of the above sections plus a complete report of results, discussion, and conclusions.

Faculty approval of research proposal, faculty approval of final thesis/project, approval by School of Research and Graduate Studies.
Student Evaluation of Masters Program at Graduation: Graduates will evaluate the masters program by completing an evaluation survey. Upon completion of the thesis/project, students complete the Special Education Masters Program Evaluation Survey. Quantitative and qualitative data from the Special Education Masters Program Evaluation Survey are submitted to the Masters Faculty Committee for review, analysis, and development of action plans if changes to masters program are warranted.

Outcomes Data

  1. Admission. Measures of learning objectives: (a) numeric ratings of GRE scores, transcripts, letters of intent, letters of recommendation, resumes, and other relevant information. (b) ratings of student application materials.

Special Education Master's Degree Programs
Outcomes Data on Recruitment and Admissions

Program Applications

Program Applications

Program Acceptances

Program Acceptance

Average GRE Verbal Score

GRE Verbal Average

Average GRE Quantitative Score

GRE Quant Average

Average GRE Analytical Writing Score

GRE Analytic Average

Average GPA

GPA Average

  1. Course and fieldwork. Measures of learning objectives: (a) Student grades for courses and field work. (The masters transition specialist program also evaluates outcome data with an independent evaluation team who analyze syllabi, field assignments, and products in relation to Council for Exceptional Children Transition Specialization standards.) (b) Student Program of Study and GPA for courses and field work.
  2. Thesis or Creative Project. Measures of learning objectives: Faculty approval of research proposal, faculty approval of final thesis/project, approval by School of Research and Graduate Studies.
  3. Student Evaluation of Masters Program at Graduation. Measures of learning objectives: Student evaluation data.
    Data on student evaluations are available here . Note that our most current data from student evaluations combine all three of our graduate programs.

Data-Based Decisions

  1. Admission.  The faculty admissions committee review student data in relation to admissions criteria. On the basis of student admission data, decisions made by faculty may include (a) adjusting expectations of student applications and credentials admitted to the masters program, (b) recruiting new students through presentations or exhibits at conferences or at district meetings, (c) promoting program offerings on websites, or (d) disseminating print materials describing program offerings.
  2. Course and fieldwork. The masters faculty meet regularly to review student Programs of Study and GPA for courses and field work. On the basis of student data, decisions made by faculty may include (a) adjusting student assignments within courses, and/or (b) adjusting field requirements.
  3. Thesis or Creative Project. The masters faculty meet regularly to review student thesis and project products. On the basis of student data, decisions made by faculty may include (a) identifying exemplary theses/projects for posting on the masters program website (b) recommending new areas of research, (c) identifying supports needed to adjust the quality of products, and/or (d) gathering additional data for analysis.
  4. Student Evaluation of Masters Program at Graduation. The masters faculty meet regularly to review student evaluation data. On the basis of student data, decisions made by faculty may include (a) adjusting program requirements, (b) adding/subtracting courses or course requirements, (c) adjusting student representation to masters program committees, and/or gathering additional data for analysis.