MEd in Special Education - Curriculum

Hands-On Experience through Special Education Degree Courses

The M.Ed. Special Education degree is 13-course program that leads to New Hampshire certification in General Special Education (K-12). General special education focuses on mild to moderate disabilities.

If you are earning initial licensure through this program, you will complete a 42-credit program and must first pass PRAXIS 1 before beginning your 16-week student teaching and seminar experience. Applications to student teach should be completed one year in advance of teaching.  All M.Ed. Special Education students are also required to pass PRAXIS II for Elementary Education content.

A customized 39-credit track that includes a certification internship is also available for certified teachers looking to obtain an additional endorsement with this program. This track includes an internship and e-portfolio that demonstrates your mastery of core competencies. Please speak with an admission counselor for more details. All courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Special Education (MEd) Required Courses

EDU-501: Methods of Teaching Reading
This course is an overview of reading and writing processes. The course addresses current trends for teaching literacy including basal programs, whole language, language experience, thematic teaching, literature-based instruction, and technology-based instruction. Students will learn about the components of balanced literacy instruction that includes word attack, word identification, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension and writing.
EDU-503: Methods of Teaching Elementary Math
This course focuses on the concepts of mathematics that are taught in grades K-6 and the current methods of teaching that content, including experience with manipulative materials. TCP acceptance is required.
EDU-543: Learning Theories and Instruction
This course studies the role of contemporary learning theories and their application to educational practice, including issues of readiness, motivation, problem solving, and the social context of learning. Students will understand how to apply scientifically based instructional strategies to promote learning.
RDG-582: Assessing and Instructing Students with Literacy Difficulty
This course presents methods and materials to assess the needs and plan instructional interventions for students with literacy difficulties. Students will learn to analyze and interpret formal and informal literacy assessments and use instructional techniques to improve literacy in students with a range of literacy difficulties (K-12). This course includes an examination of literacy development among diverse learners.
Prerequisites:
RDG-503 or EDU-501
SPED-501: Students with Exceptionalities
Students will be introduced to the issues related to children with disabilities and the educational implications for participation within the general education classroom will be examined. The course includes the history of Special Education, as well as current trends and research. Federal and state legislation will be reviewed as well as the NH State Standards for Children with Disabilities. Students will review the Individuals with Disabilities Act as it relates to the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorized as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) including title II of the ADA and section 504 and The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1973, as amended.
SPED-520: Assessment of Student Performance
This course is designed to provide an overview of practical performance assessments that can be used to measure student progress in the general education setting. Learners will become familiar with a repertoire of authentic assessments and knowledge of progress monitoring tools including but not limited to formative and summative assessments, diagnostic tools, performance tasks, criteria checklists, rubrics, student portfolios and the use of multiple sources of data in measuring student performance. The course will examine a variety of accountability measures including standardized tests, observation, curriculum based measures, utilization of Response to Intervention (RTI) as a system for planning, instruction, progress monitoring and interventions. The role Professional Learning Community Models (PLC's) in targeting both behavioral and academic achievement will be explored. The overall goal of the course is to prepare educators to utilize assessment data in the design of classroom instruction and monitoring of student progress for a broad range of students.
Prerequisites:
EDU-503 EDU-543 RDG-582 and SPED-501
SPED-526: Multisensory Literacy Strategies
This course is designed to help educators become more knowledgeable about how literacy develops and to understand why research-based, structured language strategies are necessary for teaching reading to students of diverse abilities. The course will demonstrate that reading is not an intuitive skill and that educators need to develop appropriate multisensory instructional strategies for the student who is either at risk or is a struggling reader. The overall goals are to introduce the scientific rationales and specific instructional methods for teaching the major components of literacy: phonological awareness, phonics, decoding and fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing.
Prerequisites:
RDG-582
SPED-540: Classroom and Behavior Management
This course focuses on the principles and approaches that foster a positive learning environment and help to reduce the challenging behaviors that often confront teachers in the classroom. The course will provide both the theoretical foundations of behavior as well as the evidence-based strategies that have proved most effective for classroom management. The concept of positive behavioral interventions and supports will be explored, including the preventive steps that can be used to avert behaviors from escalating. Educators will also become knowledgeable about the federal requirements and guidelines for the discipline of students with disabilities under I.D.E.A. In addition, the course will emphasize the critical connection between student behavior, classroom management and well-designed instructional practices.
SPED-580: Special Education Assessment
Students will gain an awareness of procedures involved in the evaluation of students to determine eligibility for special education services. Students will be introduced to a variety of assessment tools and gain an understanding of what the tests measure and how they are used in the identification of specific disability categories. The course includes theoretical and legal foundations, the characteristics of learners with and without disabilities across cognitive, social, emotional and sensory areas. Students will recognize the impact of family and cultural backgrounds on classroom and test performance. Students will become familiar with the administration, scoring, interpretation and reporting of selected diagnostic testing used in special education evaluations.
Prerequisites:
SPED-520
SPED-601: Content-Based Literacy
This course is designed to help educators become more skilled and versatile in their application of teaching strategies within the regular education classroom, including discussion formats, varied questioning techniques, flexible groupings and differentiated instructional methods. Learners will understand the rationale and importance of using research-based strategies that enable a wide range of learners to access the Core Curriculum in general education classrooms. The course will examine curriculum and instructional design in relationship to students' diverse learning styles and cognitive, readiness and cultural differences. The overall goal is prepare educators to design and demonstrate lessons that incorporate engaging learning materials and methods and varied assessment tools that enable a broad range of students to achieve understanding, application and mastery of key curriculum concepts and skills.
SPED-624: Professional Collaboration
This course has been designed to assist special education teachers in examining their consultative roles and responsibilities when working in inclusive settings. Students will be introduced to, and examine the nature of collaboration, developing relationships between general and special educators, and paraprofessionals. The focus of the course will be on practical application and establishing strong relationships between general and special educators. The course also includes facilitating engagement of parents, and families as well as appropriate community agencies. The purpose of the course is to prepare special educators to interact and collaborate with a variety of stakeholders that are typically associated with students placed in inclusive settings. In order for special education teachers to be successful they must have the skills and ability to support students in the general education setting which means collaborative interaction, decision making, accountability and team work. Knowledge of general education curriculum requirements, related assessments, researched based interventions and use of data are all topics that will be covered as part of this course.
Prerequisites:
SPED-501
SPED-680: IEP Development
This course will give students the opportunity to review special education law, with an emphasis upon NH Rules for the Education of Students with Disabilities and 2004 Reauthorization of IDEA. Course expectations will require heavy emphasis upon IEP development through examination of required elements of Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and participation on mock IEP Teams. Students will be introduced to state and federal special education rules and regulations, practical application of the law, ethical codes and related professional standards. The course will require working through mock IEP team experiences in the development of such plans. This will require knowledge of curriculum standards, review of mock student records, participation in mock IEP/Placement meetings, development of mock IEPs and the identification of methods for monitoring progress. Students will also review current cases and trends in special education law, analyze and interpret case studies and learn how to research both statutory and case law. Time will also be spent on review of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the impact of such law upon students with educational disabilities.
Prerequisites:
SPED-580

Select One of the Following:

EDU-571: Student Teaching and Seminar
All teacher education majors seeking certification will participate in 16 weeks of full-time practice teaching at nearby schools. During the 16 weeks, the student teacher receives close and continuous supervision and guidance from teaching personnel at the school and by a member of the Southern New Hampshire University faculty. This course also includes a weekly seminar at the University.
EDU-770: Certification Internship
This is the capstone course for certified teachers seeking an additional certification. Students complete a full-time, competency-based internship at a site appropriate to the area of certification being sought. During this internship, the student is mentored by like-credentialed site personnel as well as by a member of the Southern New Hampshire University faculty. This course also includes a weekly seminar held on campus.

EDU-543 and SPED-501 are required for acceptance into the Teaching Certification Program (TCP). Certified Teachers may be eligible to replace these courses with any course with the EDU, SPED, or RDG prefix.

Licensure Information

This program is approved by the New Hampshire State Department of Education for Teacher Certification as leading to an initial teacher’s license or endorsement in New Hampshire.  Southern New Hampshire University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, endorsement, or salary benefits.  View disclosure information.

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