May 29, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Elementary Education, M.Ed., (1-6), Initial Licensure

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Graduate Program Chair


Graduate Curriculum Committee

Nermin Bayazit, PhD
Lyndsey Benharris, PhD
Anne Howard, PhD
Laurie Link, EdD
Margaret O’Hearn-Curran, PhD
Phillip Saisa, EdD

Robert Shapiro, PhD, BCBA-D
Annette Sullivan, EdD

Program Objectives

The Elementary Education Initial Licensure program is designed for individuals who have completed an appropriate baccalaureate degree and wish to acquire the competencies and requirements to obtain a Massachusetts Elementary 1-6 initial teaching license.

Program Description

This program is aligned with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Professional Standards for Teachers (PST), Subject-Matter Knowledge Standards (SMK), and Pre-practicum Guidelines. The Initial Licensure Concentration aims to enable candidates to:

  • Acquire the competencies and habits of mind of effective teaching
  • Reflect on historical, philosophical, and theoretical perspectives related to current educational issues and practice
  • Examine empirical research and engage in the scientific reasoning process
  • Acquire and apply advanced knowledge of child development theory and research in the design and implementation of education curricula, practices, and environments
  • Acquire knowledge of how children develop as thinkers and learners
  • Acquire and apply advanced knowledge of emerging, research-based educational principles in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the educational environment and instructional program
  • Become more aware of societal demands on the curriculum as they relate to meeting the diverse needs of students
  • Investigate effective educational partnership models, which focus on family strengths, circumstances, and cultural experiences
  • Demonstrate effective strategies and techniques for working with diverse populations of students in integrated learning environments
  • Examine the shared values, ethics, purposes and commitments, which bond the educational community
  • Acquire a professional orientation of collegiality and support, whereby contributions can be made to the improvement of education through the construction of knowledge and applications

Student Learning Outcomes

All Students, from here on now known as Teacher Candidates (TCs), will meet the following Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE/ESE) Professional Standards for Teachers (PSTs):

  1. Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an on-going basis, and continuously refining learning objectives.
  2. Teaching All Students standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency.
  3. Family and Community Engagement standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.
  4. Professional Culture standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice.

In addition to the Professional Standards for Teachers identified above, Teacher Candidates will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for their license including the following Subject Matter Knowledge (SMKs) standards:

  • Support the integration of standards for literacy across the content areas as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Framework.
  • Apply basic principles and concepts for digital literacy and computer science in Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, and Computing Systems as outlined in the 2016 Digital Literacy Computer Science Framework.
  • Apply the theories of cognitive, social, emotional, language, and physical development from childhood through adolescence.
  • Understand the characteristics and instructional implications of moderately and severely disabling conditions.
  • Apply special education policies and procedures.
  • Support English learners through English learner education instruction.

In addition to the Subject Matter Knowledge standards identified above, the M.Ed. in Elementary Education (1-6) Initial Licensure program has the following specific SMKs that Teacher Candidates must meet:

Elementary 1-6

  • Knowledge of the significant theories, approaches, practices, and programs for developing reading skills and reading comprehension:
    • Current research-based theories and practices for developing proficient and strategic readers; familiarity with programs and approaches for teaching literacy/reading.
    • Principles and research-based instructional practices for developing proficient readers (phonics and word recognition, vocabulary, reading fluency, comprehension, and the reading-writing connection).
    • Theories, research, and instructional practices for supporting readers with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, strengths, and challenges.
    • Knowledge of reading standards as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Curriculum Framework: reading for key ideas and details, craft and structure, integration of knowledge and ideas, and range of reading and text complexity.
      • Instructional practices for supporting comprehension in a variety of genres and content areas
      • Knowledge of selection criteria for classroom literary and informational texts.
  • Principles and research-based instructional practices for developing emergent reader skills (alphabetic principle, concepts of print, phonological and phonemic awareness).Phonemic awareness and phonics; principles, knowledge, and instructional practices.
  • Use of assessment for instruction and intervention.
  • Knowledge of a variety of formal and informal reading assessment tools.
  • Use of data from screening, diagnostic, and formative assessments to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and to differentiate instruction (prepare mini-lessons, select appropriate materials, form flexible groups).
  • Knowledge of Response to Intervention models/components, including tiered instruction, shared responsibility and decision-making, research-based interventions, and progress monitoring.
    • Diagnosis and assessment of reading skills using standardized, criterion- referenced, and informal assessment instruments.

Teacher Candidates must also demonstrate the necessary depth and breadth of content knowledge needed to support all students in mastering expectations outlined in the following Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks:

Teacher Candidates in the M.Ed. in Elementary Education (1-6) Initial Licensure program will be assessed on the above student learning outcomes throughout the program utilizing various assessment instruments and scoring rubrics including the following:

  • Candidate Dispositions Assessment [With each field experience]
  • Gateway I Assessment [Reading data analysis with EDUC 7645]
  • Gateway II Assessment [Observation with EDUC 7640]
  • Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) [During practicum]

The following assessment instruments are also used in the M.Ed. in Elementary Education (1-6) Initial Licensure program:

  • Stage 2 Review prior to admission to practicum (student teaching)
  • The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs)

Admissions Standards and Criteria

To apply, a candidate must submit documents as outlined in the Graduate Admission section as well as:

  • Passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills portion of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)
  • Personal Statement
    Students must complete an essay of no more than one page in response to one of the following questions/statement:
    1. Tell about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
    2. What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
    3. Tell us about a significant event that involved you in a teaching or helping role.
      • Describe the situation as it occurred at the time.
      • What did you do in that particular situation?
      • How did you feel about the situation at the time you were experiencing it?
      • How do you feel about the situation now?
      • What would you change now, if anything?

Program Requirements

The Elementary Education, M.Ed., (1-6) program for initial licensure requires 39 semester hours, which should be acquired in a suggested sequence. The course sequence has been designed to ensure a developmental approach to acquiring the necessary competencies of effective teachers. A program advisor assists each candidate with the planned sequence and advises on the selection of courses each semester.

Candidates in the Elementary Education, M.Ed., (1-6), Initial Licensure program must complete or demonstrate:

  • Passing scores on the Communications and Literacy Skills portion of MTEL (required for matriculation)
  • Passing scores on the General Curriculum, (multi-subject plus Mathematics Subtest) and the Foundations of Reading MTEL in the selected discipline.
  • 135 hours of pre-practicum/ field-based experiences (These field experiences should be conducted in diverse settings.)
  • 300 hours of practicum/student teaching

Admission to the practicum is dependent upon a passing score on all of the required MTELs listed above, passage of Gateway One and Gateway Two assessments, completion of all field experiences with positive disposition assessments, and a Stage 2 review. 

Total for Degree: 39 credits

Note: (*A) (*B) (*C) indicate sequence suggested to strengthen knowledge, skills and dispositions. It is strongly recommended that students follow this sequence in order to gain the necessary knowledge and competencies for more advanced courses.

Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Course

Prior to completion of the program of study, initial licensure candidates are required to take the Fitchburg State University ESE-approved SEI course, if needed, in order to be endorsed for licensure.  Please note that SEI endorsement occurs following the completion of the program, not before. Please note that the DESE requires that the SEI course include at least 30 contact hours face-to-face to meet their requirements.

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