Education Program of Study
The Early Childhood Education (PreK-2), Elementary Education (1-6), Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8), and Special Education: Severe Disabilities (All Levels) programs lead to an initial license. Education majors place emphasis on college coursework that honors cultural, racial, linguistic, and social diversity.
Field-based experiences begin freshman year and are enhanced by strong departmental collaboration with exemplary schools and host teachers in the region. Candidates continue to hone their skills toward becoming highly qualified, classroom-ready teachers throughout their four years at Fitchburg State University. Following their freshman year, each methodology course is paired with intensive field-based experiences that include faculty-based coaching. Beginning Junior year, teacher candidates enroll in a field experience, which is a uniquely guided teaching and learning experience in a classroom under the supervision of a MA licensed teacher and university faculty. Candidates’ time in the field increases their first semester senior year when they enroll in a semester-long professional experience preceding the practicum. During this time, they participate in a minimum of a 150-hour Integrated Partial Practicum that is linked to methods courses where candidates continue to receive specific feedback in areas of reinforcement and refinement. To assure that our teacher candidates are classroom-ready, during their final semester they complete a full-time practicum consisting of inclusion placements in a classroom under the guidance of the program supervisor and under the direction of a supervising practitioner who is certified in the area of licensure sought by the candidate. Candidates enrolled in this course fulfill the hours for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education practicum requirements. As with all of the field experiences, candidates plan and deliver instruction to diverse learners in small group and whole class settings where they will practice and demonstrate the Subject Matter Knowledge standards (SMKs) as well as the Professional Standards for Teachers (PSTs). In addition, they will implement content coursework knowledge and pedagogy obtained from their education methods courses, connecting theory to practice. Candidates will receive targeted, specific feedback in areas of reinforcement and refinement.
Student Learning Outcomes
All Teacher Candidates will meet the following Professional Standards for Teachers:
(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.
Teacher candidates from Fitchburg State University will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for their license including the following subject-matter knowledge standards:
a. Support the integration of standards for literacy across the content areas as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Framework.
b. 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.
c. Apply the theories of cognitive, social, emotional, language, and physical development from childhood through adolescence.
d. Understand the characteristics and instructional implications of moderately and severely disabling conditions.
e. Apply special education policies and procedures.
f. Support English learners through English learner education instruction.
In addition to the standards above, each program has specific subject-matter knowledge standards that teacher candidates must meet.
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.
In addition to the content outlined above that aligns with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, teachers of Students with Moderate Disabilities should demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:
- Educational terminology for students with mild to moderate disabilities.
- Preparation, implementation, and evaluation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
- Design or modification of curriculum, instructional materials, and general education classroom environments for students with moderate disabilities.
- Instruction on the appropriate use of augmentative and alternative communication and other assistive technologies.
- Ways to prepare and maintain students with disabilities for general education classrooms; for example, use of behavioral management principles.
- Knowledge of services provided by other agencies.
- Federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to special education.
Teacher candidates must demonstrate the necessary depth and breadth of content knowledge needed to support all students in mastering expectations outlined in the following Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks:
2017 English Language Arts(ELA)/Literacy Framework:
2017 Mathematics Curriculum Framework:
2016 Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Curriculum Framework:
2018 History and Social Science Framework:
Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Framework
Grades K - 12