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Master of Arts in Special Education (LBS I)

College of Education


Program Description

The Department of Special Education prepares reflective professionals whose goal is to transform the lives of individuals with exceptionality. Our department is housed in the College of Education, which is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Colleges of Education (NCATE), the premier accrediting body approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The Learning Behavior Specialist-I is an initial certification program  in special education at the K-12 grade level It is aligned with the standards and code of ethics set forth by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Our teacher candidates work in a wide variety of educational settings throughout the greater Chicago metropolitan area. In order for candidates to be eligible to enter the LBS I program, they must provide evidence of having passed the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), or former Illinois Test of Basic Skills, if not older than five (5) years. Candidates may substitute the ACT or SAT for the TAP, but only in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Board of Education.


Admission Requirements

Students must fulfill the requirements for admission to the Graduate College.

All applicants are required to have two letters of recommendation submitted in support of their applications. These letters should be addressed directly to the dean of the Graduate College. The recommendations should be made by persons who have had a supervisory relationship with the applicant in a teaching situation. For applicants with little or no prior teaching experience, letters will be accepted from student teaching supervisors or from professors of education who have observed the applicant’s potential as a teacher in the area of Special Education.


Degree Requirements
  1. Thirty-six (ECH-SPED) or forty-five (LBSI) approved graduate credit hours.
  2. Master’s degree project.
  3. Practicum experiences in an approved special education setting.
  4. Appropriate passage of state content area test before final Internship/Practicum.

Advisement
All students will be assigned an advisor. Students will plan their programs in consultation with their advisors. Prerequisite and required courses may be waived when competence can be demonstrated.

Course Requirements for Master of Arts in Gifted Education

Prerequisite Course Requirements for Master of Arts in Gifted Education: Students must have a current teaching certificate.

GIFT-450 Psychology of Individuals who are
Gifted and Talented..................................3 cr.
GIFT-451 Creativity......................................................3 cr.
GIFT-452 Education of Individuals who are
Gifted and Talented..................................3 cr.
GIFT-453 Seminar in Curriculum
and Materials for the Gifted.....................3 cr.
GIFT-455 Bibliography and Methodology in
Research in Gifted Education..................3 cr.
GIFT-456 Parenting and Advocacy for Individuals
who are Gifted and Talented....................3 cr.
GIFT-457 Research Seminar for the Gifted..................3 cr.
GIFT-459 Field Demonstration in Gifted Education ....3 cr.
and four electives...........................................................12 cr.
Subtotal 36 cr.

Prerequisite Course Requirements for Master of Arts in Special Education (ECH SPED):
Students must have one of the following: a current teaching certificate with an Illinois Early Childhood 04 Type 10-LBSI or 03/09 Certification.

Course Requirements for Master of Arts

Sequences in Special Education:

Early Childhood Special Education
This is not a certification program. In order to use this degree in public education, it must be attached to early childhood 04 certification or Type 10-LBS I Certification.
SPED-502 Language and Cognition
or
ECED-408 Language Acquisition and Intervention
Strategies for Teachers
of Young Children.....................................3 cr.
ECED-403 Early Childhood Assessment.......................3 cr.
ECED-410 Curriculum Development in Early
Childhood Education...............................3 cr.
ECED-411A Practicum in Early Childhood
Education.................................................3 cr.
SPED-481 Principles of Diagnosis and Teaching the
Child with Special Needs
Aged Three to Six Years...........................3 cr.
SPED-482 Assessment and Intervention with Infants
and Toddlers who are At-Risk
or Handicapped.......................................3 cr.
SPED-483 Working with Parents of Young Children
with Special Needs..................................3 cr.
SPED-488 Practicum in Early Childhood
Special Education....................................3 cr.
SPED-515 Research Seminar in Special Education
Three electives (must be selected in
consultation with advisor).................................................9 cr.
Subtotal 36 cr.

Comprehensive Examination: All ECH SPED students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination.

Course Requirements for Master of Arts in Special Education, First Certificate

Student Requirements
Graduate students seeking their initial teaching certificate must complete the following forty-five-hour entitlement sequence as part of the requirement for the Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I). In this program students will be required to complete two field-based clinical experiences arranged by the department in addition to a full-time sixteen week student teaching experience in an approved school setting or an on campus site practicum experience for certified teachers.

Admission Requirements
Prospective students apply for admission to the program through the Graduate College.

  1. Graduate students are admitted for Fall and Spring Semesters.
  2. Undergraduate degree.
  3. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale). Previous graduate credit is also taken into appropriate consideration.
  4. Passing Score on The Illinois Test of Basic Skills.
  5. Spontaneous writing sample and/or interview at the discretion of the Department.

Masters of Arts in Special Education (LBS I)

Program Sequence

Block I: Foundations, Characteristics and Fundamentals of Research in Special Education – 12 hours
SPED-500 Research I: Critical Writing and Research in
Special Education................................... 3 cr.
Prerequisites: Acceptance into program
SPED-501 Development and Characteristics of Children
and Youth with Disabilities...................... 3 cr.
Prerequisites: SPED-500
SPED-502 Development of Cognition, Learning and Language.......................................3 cr.
Prerequisites: SPED-500
SPED-503 Historical, Philosophical and Legal Foundations
of Special Education.............................. 3 cr..

Block II: Fundamentals of Assessment and Applied Teaching Mild to Moderate Disabilities – 13 hours
SPED-504 Assessment I: Principles of Educational
Assessment in Special Education............3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block I
SPED-509 Methods I: Specialized Curriculum
& Methods in Special Education..............3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block I
READ-402 Issues in Reading Instruction.......................3 cr.
SPED-506 Technology in Special Education.................3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block II
SPED-507 Internship I: Assessing and Teaching
Individuals with Mild to
Moderate Disabilities.............................1.5 cr.
Prerequisites: SPED 509 or concurrent; Degree Candidacy

Block III: Collaboration, Technology & Applied Teaching Moderate to Severe Disabilities – 11 hours
SPED-505 Consultation and Collaboration: Special and
Regular Education....................................3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block II
SPED-508 Methods II: General Curriculum
& Methods in Special Education..............3 cr.
Prerequisites: SPED 509
SPED-511 Alternative Programming and Curriculum in
Special Education....................................3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block II
SPED-512 Internship II: Assessing and Teaching
Individuals with Moderate to
Severe Disabilities.................................1.5 cr.
Prerequisites: SPED 507, 509 and 511

Block IV: Behavior Management, Assessment and Student Teaching in Special Education- 9 hours
SPED-510 Methods III: Strategies of Behavior
Management............................................3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block III
SPED-513 Assessment II: Applied
Diagnostic Testing ...................................3 cr.
Prerequisites: Block III
SPED-514 Internship III: Applied Teaching in
Special Education....................................3 cr.
Prerequisites: All LBS I coursework
Total 45 cr.

Program Benchmarks
Students must complete all benchmarks for each level before being allowed to progress to the next level. Students cannot obtain more than two grades of "C" in graduate course work as per The Graduate College Policy.

Level I – 12 hours
Successful Completion of Block I: Foundations, Characteristics & Fundamentals of Research in Special Education (SPED-500, 501, 502, 503)

  1. Minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. Completion of any deficiencies for those admitted conditionally.
  3. Candidacy.
  4. Beginning student portfolio.
  5. Demonstration of appropriate Professional Teaching Behaviors and Dispositions.
  6. Pass key program assessments

Level II – 13 hours
Successful Completion of Block II: Fundamentals of Assessment and Applied Teaching Mild to Moderate Disabilities (SPED-504, SPED-509, READ-402, SPED-507, SPED-506)

  1. Minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. Current student portfolio.
  3. Demonstration of appropriate Professional Teaching Behaviors and Dispositions.
  4. Pass key program assessments

Level III – 14 hours
Successful Completion of Block III: Curriculum, Teaching, Behavior Management and Programming in Special Education (SPED-505, 508, 511, 512)

  1. Minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. Current student portfolio.
  3. Demonstration of appropriate Professional Teaching Behaviors and Dispositions.
  4. Passage of Content Area Test LBS I.

Level IV – 9 hours
Successful Completion of Block IV: Internship and Applied Research in Special Education (SPED-510, 513, 514)

  1. Minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. Completed and acceptable portfolio.
  3. Demonstration of appropriate Professional Teaching Behaviors and Dispositions.

EXIT REQUIREMENTS
Successful Completion of Blocks I – IV, 45 hours.

LBSI-Focus Program in Special Education

Program’s purpose:
In an effort to meet the needs of certified teachers seeking certification in Special Education (SPED): Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I), the Department of Special Education is offering an LBS I Focus Program.

Admission requirements:
In order to be accepted into the program, candidates must first apply to the Graduate College (http://www.neiu.edu/~gradcoll/admissions/index.html). Candidates must meet all conditions of the Graduate College to be eligible for admission and retention in the program. In addition, candidates must hold a valid initial Illinois teaching certificate (Type 03 elementary; Type 04 early childhood; Type 09 secondary; Type 10 other than LBS I).

Program requirements and sequence:
Upon entrance to the program: Candidates who are admitted to the program must schedule a meeting with the Focus Program Advisor in order to organize an initial program portfolio. This portfolio will be organized by the ten standards set forth by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). This process will assist candidates in determining which and how many courses candidates will need to take to meet all ten CEC standards.

In addition, each candidate will need to complete at least twenty-one hours at NEIU (including a special education practicum course). Coursework will include:

  • SPED-501 (Characteristics)
  • SPED-509 (Methods II)
  • SPED-504 (Assessment I)
  • SPED-510 (Methods III)
  • SPED-511 (Methods IV)
  • SPED-513 (Assessment II)
  • SPED-514 (Practicum III)

Candidates will need to pass the ICTS Content Test (LBSI) prior to registering for SPED 514. Candidates with a Type 03 or Type 09 certificate must also pass the ICTS APT-Type 10 prior to completing the LBS I course sequence graduation and in order to obtain LBS I certification.

Special note: For candidates holding the initial Illinois teaching certificate who are interested in obtaining an emergency certificate prior to receiving the Special Education Approval (per 23 ILAC 226.810.b), SPED 404 (Survey of the Exceptional Child), and either SPED 501 OR SPED 504 would meet two of the four areas required by the state of Illinois for the approval. Therefore, if a Focus Program candidate is interested in obtaining an emergency certificate prior to completing the Focus Program, he/she must take SPED 404 in addition to his or her program.

Candidates must maintain the conditions set forth by the Graduate College for retention in the program with one exception: Successfully completing all of the requirements for the LBS I Focus Program will take the place of the Graduate College’s Application for Candidacy.

Applying the Focus Program to a master’s degree:
Candidates who have completed all of the requirements for the LBS I Focus Program may complete the appropriate coursework needed to earn an LBS II certificate. Two LBS
II certificate paths exist in the SPED Department. These include (a) Curriculum Adaptation Specialist (CAS) and (b) Behavior Intervention Specialist (BIS). Candidates who are interested in applying their LBS I Focus Program coursework toward a master’s degree must submit a written statement to the Focus Committee and to the Graduate College indicating their intention to begin LBS II coursework. The courses required for the LBS II (in either CAS or BIS) include five courses plus an additional capstone experience course. To obtain certification in either CAS or BIS, candidates must also pass the ICTS Content Test for that area.

Master of Science in Special Education (LBS II)
Candidates successfully completing the Master of Science in Special Education will be able to obtain certification in the areas of Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS II) Curriculum Adaptation Specialist (CAS) or Behavior Intervention Specialist (BSI) or both.

The three masters level options are: (1) Combined Curriculum Adaptation Specialist (CAS) and Behavior Intervention Specialist (BIS) masters program, (2) CAS-only masters program, and (3) BIS-only masters program (see Table 1). The CAS core courses prepare candidates to work collaboratively with the general education program professionals to include students with disabilities. These courses focus on making adaptations and modifications to curriculum and instruction for individuals with special needs in inclusive classroom settings. The BIS core courses prepare candidates in assessment and intervention for students who exhibit emotional and/ or behavioral challenges in a variety of settings such as public schools, therapeutic day schools and alternative settings. The CAS and BIS core courses are embedded in three master’s degree program options.

The Combined CAS-BIS Program option is a thirty-six credit hour program designed to provide advanced training in the areas of curriculum adaptations and behavior intervention for certified special education teachers, holding an LBS I. It leads to preparation for the advanced Illinois certificate (type 10), Learning Behavior Specialist II in Curriculum Adaptation Specialist (CAS) and Behavior Intervention Specialist (BIS).
For the combined CAS-BIS program, candidates will complete the following: the CAS core of fifteen hours of coursework and the BIS core of fifteen semester hours of coursework, plus a three semester hour capstone experience project and a three semester hour approved elective.

The CAS-only option is a thirty-hour master’s level program designed to offer certification in the CAS area only. Candidates will complete the following: the fifteen semester hour CAS core courses, plus four additional graduate electives (twelve semester hours), and the capstone experience course (three semester hours.)

The BIS-only option is a thirty-hour master’s level program designed to offer certification in the BIS area only. Candidates will complete the following: the fifteen semester hour BIS core courses, plus four additional graduate electives, and the capstone experience course (three semester hours).

Requirements for Admission to the Master of Science Degree Program:
Applicants must fulfill the requirements for admission to the Graduate College. In addition, applicants must hold an LBS I (or equivalent), Blind and Visually Impaired (or equivalent), Deaf/Hard of Hearing (or equivalent) or Speech-Language Pathology on a type 10 and have passed the ICTS Content Test for that certificate. They should have passed the Illinois Test of Basic skills (or equivalent) and the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) exam or equivalent. A spontaneous writing sample and department interview are required at the discretion of the Department.

Course Requirements for Master of Science in Special Education (LBS II)

Combined CAS-BIS Program Option:
SPED-522 Foundations and Practices in
Challenging Behaviors.............................3 cr.
SPED-523 Educational Assessment and Planning
for Positive Behavior Management..........3 cr.
SPED-521 Issues and Interventions for Individuals with
Autism, PDD, and Low Incidence
Disorders and Syndromes........................3 cr.
SPED-505 Consultation and Collaboration in
Special Education....................................3 cr.
SPED-524 Practicum in Behavior Disorders..................3 cr.
(taken after BIS core courses)
SPED-526 Adaptations and Accommodations
of Curriculum............................................3 cr.
SPED-527 Assessment and Intervention Strategies for
Language-Based Disorders.....................3 cr.
SPED-528 Teaching Mathematics to Individuals
with Special Needs..................................3 cr.
SPED-525 Alternative Assessment and
Test Accommodations.............................3 cr.
SPED-529 Practicum in Curriculum Adaptations..........3 cr.
(taken after CAS core courses)
Graduate Elective (taken anytime)
SPED-530 Capstone Experience Project......................3 cr.
(taken after BIS and CAS core courses)
Subtotal 36 cr.

CAS-Only Program Option:
SPED-526 Adaptations and Accommodations
of Curriculum............................................3 cr.
SPED-527 Assessment and Intervention Strategies for
Language-Based Disorders.....................3 cr.
SPED-528 Teaching Mathematics to Individuals
with Special Needs..................................3 cr.
SPED-525 Alternative Assessment and
Test Accommodations.............................3 cr.
SPED-529 Practicum in Curriculum Adaptations..........3 cr.
(taken after CAS core courses)
Four graduate elective courses
SPED-530 Capstone Experience Project (taken anytime after CAS core courses plus at least 24 hours)
Subtotal 30 cr.

BIS-Only Program Option:
SPED-522 Foundations and Practices in
Challenging Behaviors.............................3 cr.
SPED-523 Educational Assessment and Planning
for Positive Behavior Management..........3 cr.
SPED-521 Issues and Interventions for Individuals
with Autism, PDD, and Low Incidence
Disorders and Syndromes........................3 cr.
SPED-505 Consultation and Collaboration in
Special Education....................................3 cr.
SPED-524 Practicum in Behavior Disorders..................3 cr.
(taken after BIS core courses)
Four graduate elective courses
SPED-530 Capstone Experience Project (taken anytime after BIS core courses plus at least 24 hours)
Subtotal 30 cr.

Program Retention Requirements:

  • GPA 3.00
  • Appropriate Professional Dispositions
  • Maintain a current Program Portfolio
  • Acceptable rating on applicable key program assessment

Program Exit Requirements:

  • ICTS Content Test (LBS II CAS or BIS or both)
  • Acceptable rating on all key assessments
  • Successful rating on program portfolio
  • Successful completion of all required electives
  • Successful completion of the capstone experience project