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SPER Assessment on Campus Undergraduate Program

Mission - Undergraduate (BS)

At an undergraduate level, the Department offers a B.S. degree in Special Education. It is the largest Special Education Licensure program among universities and colleges in Utah. The mission of the program is to prepare teachers in one of three areas:

  • teachers of students with Mild/Moderate disabilities
  • teachers of students with Severe disabilities
  • teachers of young children with disabilities (Early Childhood)

Completion of the Mild/Moderate or Severe emphasis areas allows graduates to teach students with disabilities from kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12). Completion of the Early Childhood emphasis areas qualifies graduates to teach children with disabilities from birth to five.

The Program produces teachers of the highest quality who meet the national knowledge and skill standards described by the Council for Exceptional Children. Our goal is to produce teachers with state-of-art knowledge and skills who are committed to engaging in professional activities that benefit individuals with exceptional learning needs and their families.

Students may also certify as dual teaching majors. That is, in addition to a K-12 certification in Special Education they may also certify to teach:

  • Elementary education
  • Preschool special education
  • Secondary education

The undergraduate program combines didactic courses with practica. This provides a variety of first-hand classroom experience with students of all ages and abilities. It also enables graduates to practice different teaching techniques in several subjects.

Learning Objectives

The Special Education program at USU aligns coursework and practica experiences with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Initial Level Special Educator Preparation Standards.  “In December 2012 the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approved the initial and advanced CEC Preparation Standards for special educators. The revised preparation standards will support CEC’s continued leadership in performance-based recognition of special education preparation programs. The CEC Preparation Standards have adopted a structure of seven standards with twenty-eight major elements that bring its structure into alignment with all the professional association partners in NCATE.” (

  1. “Learner Development and Individual Learning Differences:  Program graduates will understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities.”
  2. “Learning Environments:  Program graduates will create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination.”
  3. “Curricular Content Knowledge:  Program graduates will use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.”
  4. “Assessment:  Program graduates will use multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions.”
  5. “Instructional Planning and Strategies:  Program graduates will select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities.”
  6. “Professional Learning and Ethical Practice:  Program graduates will use foundational knowledge of the field and the professional Ethical Principles and practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning and to advance the profession.”
  7. “Collaboration:  Program graduates will collaborate with other families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences.”

All Special Education course syllabi provide a matrix of how these preparation standards (through the use of the subset of specialty standards) are incorporated and assessed within each course.  To assure high quality graduates, students are required to get a B- or higher in each of the their Special Education courses.  Once admitted to the Special Education major, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.  Students may retake one Special Education course only.  If they earn a B- or lower in two courses, they must choose a different USU major.  Typically this happens to one or two students per year (2-5% of students).

Course Prefix Course Name Addressed CEC Standards
SPED 5010 Applied Behavior Analysis 1 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
SPED 5040 Foundations of Effective Assessment and Instructional Practices 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5050 Applied Behavior Analysis 2 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
SPED 5060 Consulting with Parents and Teachers 1, 2, 4, 6, 7
SPED 5070 Policies and Procedures in SPED All
SPED 5200 Student Teaching in Special Education All
SPED 5210 Student Teaching in Special Education: Dual Majors All
SPED 5310 Teaching Reading and Language Arts to Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5320 Teaching Content Areas and Transition to Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities All
SPED 5330 Eligibility Assessment for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities All
SPED 5340 Teaching Math to Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5410 Practicum: Direct Instruction Reading and Language Arts for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities All
SPED 5420 Practicum: Teaching Mathematics to Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities All
SPED 5510 Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5520 Curriculum for Secondary-Level Students with Severe Disabilities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5530 Technology for Teaching Exceptional Learners All
SPED 5540 Assessment of Persons with Severe Disabilities All
SPED 5600 Practicum:  Instruction in Academic Skills All
SPED 5610 Practicum:  Instruction in Daily Living Skills All
SPED 5710 Young Children with Disabilities: Characteristics and Services All
SPED 5730 Intervention Strategies for Young Children with Disabilities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5810 Seminar and Field Experiences with Infants and Families 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
SPED 5820 Preschool Practicum with Young Children with Disabilities in Community Environments All
SPED 5840 Practicum:  Working with Young Children with Autism