Unit: Special Education
Program: Special Education (MEd)
Degree: Master's
Date: Fri Oct 14, 2011 - 4:22:28 pm

1) Below are your program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

Graduate Student Learning Outcomes: The SLOs are the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards for advanced roles in special education. The six standards include knowledge and skill indicators. The standards are:

1.  Leadership and Policy. Special educators in advanced programs learn to use their deep understanding of the history of special education, current legal and ethical standards, and emerging issues to provide leadership. Special educators promote high professional self-expectations and help others understand the needs of individuals with exceptional learning needs. They advocate for educational policy based on solid evidence-based knowledge to support high quality education for individuals with exceptional learning needs. As appropriate to their role, they advocate for appropriate resources to ensure that all personnel involved have effective preparation.  Special educators use their knowledge of the needs of different groups in a pluralistic society to promote evidence-based practices and challenging expectations for individuals with exceptional learning needs. They model respect for all individuals and ethical practice. They help to create positive and productive work environments and celebrate accomplishments with colleagues. They mentor others and promote high expectations for themselves, other professionals, and individuals with exceptional learning needs.

2.  Program Development and Organization. Special educators apply their knowledge of cognitive science, learning theory, and instructional technologies to improve instructional programs. They advocate for a continuum of program options and services to ensure the appropriate instructional supports for individuals with exceptional learning needs. They help design and deliver, as appropriate to their role, ongoing results-oriented professional development designed to support the use of evidenced-based practices at all relevant organizational levels. They use their understanding of the effects of cultural, social, and economic diversity and variations of the individual development to inform their development of programs and services for individuals with exceptional learning needs. Special educators continuously broaden and deepen their professional knowledge, and expand their expertise with instructional technologies, curriculum standards, effective teaching strategies, and assistive technologies to support access to learning. They use their deep understanding of how to coordinate educational standards to the needs of individuals with exceptional learning needs to help all individuals with exceptional learning needs to access challenging curriculum standards.

3. Research and Inquiry. Research and inquiry inform the decisions of special educators who have completed advanced programs in guiding professional practice. Special educators know models, theories, philosophies, and research methods that form the basis for evidence-based practices in special education. This knowledge includes information sources, data collection, and data analysis strategies. Special educators evaluate the appropriateness of research methodologies in relation to practices presented in the literature. They use educational research to improve instructional techniques, intervention strategies, and curricular materials. They foster an environment supportive of continuous instructional improvement, and engage in the design and implementation of action research. Special educators are able to use the literature to resolve issues of professional practice, and help others to understand various evidence-based practices.

4.  Individual and Program Evaluation.  Evaluation is critical to advanced practice of special educators. Underlying evaluation is the knowledge of systems and theories of educational assessment and evaluation, along with skills in the implementation of evidence-based practices in assessment. Effective special educators design and implement research activities to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional practices and, as appropriate to their role, to assess progress toward the organizational vision, mission, and goals of their programs. It is critical in evaluation that nonbiased assessment procedures are used in the selection of assessment instruments, methods, and procedures for both programs and individuals.

With respect to evaluation of individuals, special educators prepared at the advanced level are able to apply their knowledge and skill to all stages and purposes of evaluation including: prereferral and screening, preplacement for special education eligibility, monitoring and reporting learning progress in the general education curriculum and other individualized educational program goals.

5. Professional Development and Ethical Practice.  Special educators are guided by the professional ethics and practice standards. Special educators have responsibility for promoting the success of individuals with exceptional learning needs, their families, and colleagues. They create supportive environments that safeguard the legal rights of students and their families. They model and promote ethical and professional practice. Special educators plan, present, and evaluate professional development, as appropriate to their roles, based on models that apply adult learning theories and focus on effective practice at all organizational levels. Special educators model their own commitment to continuously improving their own professional practice by participating in professional development themselves.

6. Collaboration.  Special educators prepared at the advanced level have a deep understanding of the centrality and importance of consultation and collaboration to the roles within special education and use this deep understanding to integrate services for individuals with exceptional learning needs. They also understand the significance of the role of collaboration for both internal and external stakeholders, and apply their skill to promote understanding, resolve conflicts, and build consensus among both internal and external stakeholders to provide services to individuals with exceptional learning needs and their families.

They possess current knowledge of research on stages and models in both collaboration and consultation and ethical legal issues related to consultation and collaboration. Moreover, special educators prepared at the advanced level have a deep understanding of the possible interactions of language, diversity, culture and religion with contextual factors and how to use collaboration and consultation to enhance opportunities for individuals with exceptional learning needs.

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://coe.hawaii.edu/sped
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: NA
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA
Other: http://www.cec.sped.org/Content/NavigationMenu/ProfessionalDevelopment/ProfessionalStandards/?from=tlcHome

3) Below is the link(s) to your program's curriculum map(s). If we do not have your curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2011:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) For the period June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

The M.Ed. program assessment system monitors candidate performance while enrolled in the program; candidates are expected to demonstrate mastery of the CEC Advanced Program Standards. From June 2010 through September 2011 all candidates in the M.Ed. Interdisciplinary program were assessed via the five required products completed during their program. Through completion of the products, candidate performance on CEC Advanced Standards One: Leadership and Policy, Two: Program Development and Organization, Three: Research and Inquiry, Four: Individual and Program Evaluation, Five: Professional Development and Ethical Practice, and Six: Collaboration was documented. Candidate performance on each product related to the CEC advanced standards is recorded as Acceptable, or Unacceptable. At Mid-Point check, candidate performance is assessed by (a) artifacts (products) that indicate the candidates’ knowledge gained by successful completion of courses, (b) skills demonstrated in research projects and final paper, and (c) dispositions documented in all courses. A decision is made on each candidate at Mid-Point Check: (a) candidate may proceed with no conditions, (b) candidate may proceed with conditions, or (c) candidate is dismissed from the program. At Exit, the unit requires all candidates to meet Graduate Division requirements for graduation (GPA 3.0, Plan A or B). The Program again assesses candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions prior to exiting the candidate from the program. A Final Checkpoint decision is made: (a) candidate has satisfactorily met requirements for graduation, (b) candidate must remain in program to meet certain conditions, or (c) candidate is dismissed from the program. A Follow-Up assessment by the unit gathers surveys for all program graduates.

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #5.

Assessment data of candidate performance on the five assessments related to the CEC Advanced Program standards were gathered. All candidates in the program were assessed on the five products as they completed each course with a required product. A frequency count of ratings (Acceptable, Unacceptable) was generated for each product.

7) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

Sixteen candidates currently enrolled in the revised M.Ed. Interdisciplinary program and taking courses with required assessment products were assessed. All M.Ed. candidates enrolled in courses with required assessment products were included in this sample.

8) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

9) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

10) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #5:
Summarize the actual results.

Assessment 1. Analysis and Issues Paper, CEC Advanced Standard 1: Leadership and Policy; Fall 2010: Acceptable=14, Unacceptable=2

Assessment 2. Midterm Exam, CEC Advanced Standard 3: Research and Inquiry, and Standard 4: Individual and Program Evaluation; Fall 2010: Acceptable=11. Unacceptable 3

Assessment 3, Exemplary Practices Paper, CEC Advanced Standard 2: Program Development and Organization; Spring 2011: Acceptable=15, Unacceptable=0

Assessment 4, IRB Proposal, CEC Advanced Standard 5: Professional and Ethical Practice; Spring 2011: Acceptable=9, Unacceptable=0

Assessment 5, Plan A/B Paper, CEC Advanced Standard 3: Research and Inquiry, and Standard 6: Collaboration; Spring 2011: Acceptable=3, Unacceptable=0

Overall, of all candidate ratings on assessment products:

        Acceptable = 91.2%

Unacceptable = 8.7%

11) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

Results of the five assessments indicate mastery of the CEC Advanced standards, with the strong majority of candidates receiving a rating of Acceptable on most assessments. On three of five of the assessments 100% of the candidates received a rating of Acceptable. However, on one of the assessments, the Midterm Exam, 78.5% (n=14) of the candidates received Acceptable and 21.4% (n=3) received Unacceptable. On another of the assessments, Analysis and Research Paper, 87.5% (n=14) received Acceptable and 12.5% (n=2) received Unacceptable.  Overall, the results indicate strong candidate mastery of the CEC standards.

The department had already used the assessment data to review candidate progress and to make substantial changes to the M.Ed. program. The M.Ed. Interdisciplinary program underwent a significant change beginning fall 2010. The 2009-2010 M.Ed. in Special Education Interdisciplinary program was a 43-credit non-licensure program. Beginning fall 2010 we admitted candidates into the new 30-credit non-licensure program. This program change, including a reduction in credits and a clear delineation of coursework between our licensure and non-licensure programs, allows us to focus on higher level graduate studies in the M.Ed. program, and focus on the practical aspects of teaching in the PB licensure program. The revised M.Ed. program is designed for those who: (a) are already licensed in special education, or (b) wish to work in non-classroom-based services/settings for persons with disabilities, or (c) wish to engage in a graduate course of study to meet individualized educational objectives in the field of special education. The revised 30-credit M.Ed. Interdisciplinary program aligns well with other UHM and COE master’s level non-licensure programs, which range from 30 to 36 credits.

2009-2010 M.Ed. – Interdisciplinary program (43 credits)

*SPED 600:     Foundations of Exceptionality


*SPED 603:     Principles of Behavior


*SPED 605:     Collaboration in School and Community Settings


*SPED 642:     Seminar on Applied Research/Special Education


SPED 629:     Clinical Practice Special Projects


SPED 699:     Directed Reading/Research




*Plan A Thesis, or Plan B Paper or Exam required for completion of degree      

*indicates a course with a required assessment product             Total:                   43

New fall 2010 M.Ed. in Special Education program (30 credits)

*SPED 602:     Special Education Law and Compliance


*SPED 641:     Seminar on Issues in Special Education (Topics to be announced;  repeatable unlimited times)


*SPED 642:     Seminar on Applied Research/Special Education


*SPED 688:     Research Practicum in Special Education


Electives:       To inform area of study in special education


*Plan A Thesis, or Plan B Paper required for completion of degree      

*indicates a course with a required assessment product             Total:                    30

The M.Ed. in Special Education program changes included:

  1. Program is offered statewide; courses are available online/hybrid.
  2. Reduction in program credits from 43 to 30 credits.
    1. Retained the SPED 642 research course from current program; addition of a course on law, SPED 602; a seminar on issues, SPED 641, repeatable with different topics; and a new practicum research course, SPED 688: Practicum on Applied Research in Special Education.
    2. Deletion of 12 credits of special projects; projects are completed in required coursework.
    3. Eighteen credits of elective coursework remain; program of study is individualized for students with their academic advisor. Focus for electives meet individualized educational objectives in the field of special education. Students may choose to prepare for National Board Certification in the program.
    4. Students must complete a Plan A Thesis or a Plan B Paper for completion of the degree.

Strengths of the proposed M.Ed. in Special Education program include:

  1. Coursework provides graduate level foundation in special education law, issues, and research.
  2. Electives allow candidates the ability to choose area of focus from courses within and/or outside the Department of Special Education to meet individual objectives.
  3. Addition of a practicum in research allows candidates greater opportunity to conduct research under guidance of faculty member(s).
  4. Students may complete the program with a cohort group schedule or take the courses on an individualized plan.
  5. Required courses are all separate from those offered to candidates in teacher licensure programs; change of focus toward graduate studies versus licensure.

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

The M.Ed. Interdisciplinary program underwent substantial program change fall 2010 and as a result the assessments were revised. One of the assessment products remained in the revised program (Plan A/B Paper), four assessment products were eliminated (Foundations Paper, Collaboration Project, ABA Intervention Project, and Research Proposal/Intervention; and four new assessment products were added (Analysis and Issues in SPED Law Paper, Exemplary Practices Paper, Research Mid-Term Exam, and IRB Proposal).

13) Other important information.
Please note: If the program did not engage in assessment, please explain. If the program created an assessment plan for next year, please give an overview.

Based on SLO data and a review of the CEC Advanced Standards from the 2010-2011 report the curriculum map was revised. The program courses remained the same but standards addressed in each course, and products aligned with the standards were revised.  Three of the assessment products remained in the revised curriculum map (Midterm Exam, IRB Application, Plan A/B Paper) and two products were replaced (Analysis and Issues Paper was replaced with Service Learning Project; Exemplary Practices Paper was replaced with Presentation/Workshop) and one new product (Dispositions) was added.

Products that Address CEC Advanced Standards & NCATE Required Assessments 2011-2012

CEC Advanced Standard

SPED 602

Service Learning Project

SPED 642



SPED 641



SPED 688

IRB Application

SPED 695/700

Plan A/B Paper


1. Leadership and Policy


2. Program Development and Organization

3. Research and Inquiry




4. Individual and Program Evaluation


5. Professional Development and Ethical Practice



6. Collaboration