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
The Special Education Guided Studies, Dyslexia Specialist, will meet the needs of individuals who are seeking a Master’s degree as well as Wilson Language Training® Level I and Level II certification. This program is not designed for students seeking a teaching license. Students complete four core courses, including a capstone course on implementation of best practices, and 27 credits in three goal areas. In this Dyslexia Specialist Concentration, individuals will complete 9 courses/27 credits with content meeting the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading set forth by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Three courses are associated with Wilson Reading Level I Certification, three courses are associated with Wilson Reading Level II Certification, and the three courses in the Foundations of Literacy goal area have been selected to meet IDA standards.
Fitchburg State University intends to seek accreditation through the IDA as an accredited program. Graduates of IDA accredited programs will be eligible to sit for the IDA exam and received Dyslexia Specialist IDA certification.
Student Learning Outcomes
Candidates develop an understanding of language processes (phonological, morphological, orthographic, semantic, syntactic, and discourse) and how they impact the development of reading and writing.
Candidates are able to identify language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and determine the need for intensive, multisensory instruction with the Wilson Reading System.
Candidates develop proficiency in the elements of instruction necessary for students with a language-based learning disability: direct, explicit, systematic, structured, sequential, integrated, multisensory, synthetic, analytical, diagnostic, prescriptive, mastery/automaticity, cumulative, metacognitive, and emotionally sound.
Candidates develop proficiency in the key components of Wilson Reading System: alphabetic knowledge, rapid naming skills/word retrieval, sound-symbol relationships, word identification, accuracy, automaticity, phonology, morphology, orthography, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Candidates develop the skills and knowledge to effectively deliver instructional techniques, demonstrating explicit teaching, modeling, guided practice, and consistent review in lessons.
Candidates accurately teach the structure of the English language and appropriately pace students through the curriculum, developing mastery of material taught and designing lessons that focus on accuracy, automaticity, fluency and comprehension.
Candidates diagnostically plan and deliver lessons, addressing and understanding specific areas of weakness that impact the ability to learn to read and write.
Candidates are able to incorporate both formative and summative assessments to determine appropriate progression through the Wilson Reading System.
Admissions Standards and Criteria
To apply for enrollment in the Special Education, Guided Studies, Dyslexia Specialist M.Ed. program, a student must submit documents as outlined in the Graduate Admission section, as well as:
- Official transcripts of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Personal Statement
- Note: MAT/GRE exams are not required
Students must complete an essay of no more than one page in response to one of the following questions/statement:
- Tell about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
- What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
- 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, if anything?