Education Department General Requirements
Program Competencies and Exit Criteria:
Elementary, Early Childhood and Secondary Education
All students in the Early Childhood, Elementary, or Secondary Education Certification programs must cognitively, physically and socially be able to meet specific competencies as part of the admissions process, through the completion of approved coursework and fieldwork experiences, and when exiting the program. Evidence of cognitive abilities includes a G.P.A. of 3.0 and successful completion of all coursework and experiences. Evidence of physical capabilities is the demonstration of an ability to fully maintain a safe and supportive learning environment for children as demonstrated through field experiences in specific courses, approved practicum placements, and student teaching. Evidence of social capabilities is the demonstration of a student’s ability to teach with poise, confidence, and control in a classroom environment, as well as to develop and maintain professional relationships as demonstrated in coursework, practicum and student teaching experiences.
General Requirements for Admission to the Certification Programs
The Chapter 354 rules and regulations from the Pennsylvania Department of Education determine the requirements for admissions to an approved certification program. First-year students declaring Elementary, Early Childhood, or the five-year combined program must take the Reading and Writing PPST tests before registering for their first education courses in their sophomore year. Students who do not pass one or both of the tests will be advised about the assistance that is available, including the Writing Center, PLATO Praxis series practice tests, and other available support. Candidates for Early Childhood, Elementary Education, the five-year Elementary and Special Education program and Secondary Education Certification should apply to the Education Department for formal acceptance to the Certification Program after completion of 48 credits and not later than 60 credits. Students who apply at a later time may need to take courses in summer sessions and/or take courses for an additional semester in order to complete the program within a four-year schedule.
The formal application process (also included in the Education Department’s Admissions Handbook), includes submission of the following items:
- Two letters of recommendation attesting to the student’s cognitive, physical and social capabilities in preparation for teaching;
- Documentation of a minimum overall G.P.A. of 3.0 at the time of application;
- Documentation of 6 credits of English (one writing course, one literature) and 6 credits of Math (Math 231 and 232 are out-of-department requirements for education majors);
- Documentation of 10 hours of observation or participation in educationally related settings (can be accomplished through required field experiences in education courses);
- Stage One Portfolio;
- Documentation of passing the three PPST tests (Reading, Writing and Math) at time of application to the certification program; and successful completion of designated courses.
- Grades of “C” or higher are required in English 101 and Mathematics 231 and 232. These courses may be repeated only once to attain a grade of “C”. A G.P.A. of 3.0 in all major courses is required.
Note: Requirements for transfer students seeking admission to the certification program will be determined on an individual basis by their advisor and Education Department. Education majors admitted to the desired certification program are required to participate in field experiences and to complete the student teaching requirement during the senior year. An applicant for student teaching in Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, and Montessori education must have the approval of the department.
The Admissions and Review Committee of the education department (consisting of three education department faculty members) will review all applications that are missing one or more criteria (for example, students who have less than a 3.0 GPA at the time of application). Depending on the information submitted as part of the admissions process, the following might occur: a student would be advised to choose another major so that the student has time to fulfill the requirements for the new major or a student may receive conditional approval to continue one additional semester of coursework in order to meet admissions requirements.
After examining the information, the Admissions and Review Committee will notify the student’s advisor of the decision. A student will receive a letter from the department indicating the decision to include further steps necessary either to continue in the process of acceptance or to work with the advisor for other options.
A student whose application for admissions to the certification program is denied may appeal to a faculty panel made up of a minimum of five Education Department faculty members, inclusive of the Chair of the Department. The faculty panel will review the information and make a final decision.
Students who are accepted into the Education Department will begin their practicum and student teaching experiences. In addition, specific physical, social and cognitive capabilities are continually assessed through the monitoring of coursework requirements and evaluation during the practicum and student teaching experiences. These experiences are key to determining a final recommendation for certification.
The Education Department uses criteria outlined in the practicum and student teaching handbooks to continually evaluate a candidate’s performance. These criteria are based on the exit competencies listed below. If any concern about the candidate’s performance is raised during the practicum and/or student teaching experiences, the concern will be brought to the Admissions and Review Committee. Information and documentation will be gathered from faculty members as well as practicum and/or student teaching supervisors who have had the student in class. In addition, completed evaluations and other relevant information will be obtained in order to make a determination of the candidate’s continuation in the certification program.
Exit Competencies and Criteria
All students in the early childhood, elementary, or secondary education certification programs must have cognitively, physically and socially demonstrated specific competencies when exiting the program. The following exit competencies need to be demonstrated by all students:
- The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline the teacher teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for all students.
- The teacher understands how all children learn and develop, and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social, career and personal development.
- The teacher understands how students differ in their ability and approaches to learning and creates opportunities that foster achievement of diverse learners in the inclusive classroom.
- The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies, including interdisciplinary learning experiences, to encourage students’ development of critical thinking, problem-solving and performance skills.
- The teacher cognitively, physically and socially demonstrates the ability to provide for the safety and well being of all students. The teacher will utilize individual and group behavior strategies that create a learning environment supporting positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-discipline.
- The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques, supported by appropriate technology to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
- The teacher plans instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, and the community and curriculum goals.
- The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.
- The teacher thinks systematically about practice, learns from experience, seeks the advice of others, draws upon educational research and scholarship and actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
- The teacher contributes to school effectiveness by collaborating with other professionals and parents by using community resources, and by working as an advocate to improve opportunities for student learning.
In addition, students are required to complete a student teaching portfolio that provides documentation of the above exit competencies and exit criteria as indicated below.
- Successful completion of all program coursework, field experiences and student teaching in the certification program.
- G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher
- Successful completion of exit competencies evaluated by the PDE 430 form and student teaching (Stage III) portfolio.
- Passing of all appropriate Praxis Series exams required by PDE.
A student interested in becoming a Montessori preschool teacher may also take additional course work in the College’s Montessori Preprimary Teacher Preparation Program. Successful completion of this program leads to a Preprimary Credential from the American Montessori Society, usually in conjunction with the state certification program in Early Childhood Education. Students enrolled in other majors may also take additional course work in Montessori Education.
The development of a portfolio is considered a work in progress. Beginning in the sophomore year students will gather evidence (including coursework papers, observations, and education course class presentations) for review by their advisors and in subsequent years by their practicum supervisors and their student teacher advisors. The sophomore and junior year portfolio criteria have been configured to meet the PDE’s specific program content, performance and professionalism guidelines for elementary, early childhood or secondary education. The student teaching portfolio has been configured to demonstrate the exit competencies that reflect an integration of the pre-services experiences. This final portfolio also serves as part of the professional application process when seeking a teaching position.
Unit Benchmarks and Program Assessment (Effective: Fall 2013)
Division of Teacher Education and Leadership
Note: To view these Benchmarks as a PDF, click here.
All teacher education candidates must be physically, socially, cognitively, and professionally able to meet specific competencies as part of the admissions process through the completion of approved coursework, field work, clinical, and when exiting the teacher education program. In compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) regulations, admission requirements for all students in all program modalities seeking Instructional I certification. Criteria at each benchmark must be completed before a candidate is considered for the next benchmark.
Initial Teacher Preparation Programs
School of Undergraduate Studies (SUS) and
School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS)
Benchmark I: Formal Admission into the Division of Teacher Education and Leadership upon completion of the following:
1. Complete a minimum of 48 credit hours and documentation of GPA of 2.8 or higher (SCPS GPA 3.0)
2. Documentation of six credits of English (one writing course, one literature with a grade of C or better required in ENGL 101: College Writing) (may require a writing sample to be evaluated)
3. Documentation of six credits of Math (MATH 231; Basic Mathematical Theory and Applications I and MATH 232: Basic Mathematical Theory and Applications II) with a C or better
4. Successful qualifying scores for Praxis I PPST or PAPA tests in reading, math and writing no later than by the end of the of the sophomore year Required tests depend on your program
5. Documentation of 40 hours of observation; and participation in educationally related settings; Completion of Stage I&II field experiences and Portfolio EDP4 203/204, ML 222/202, EDSEC 315
6. Documentation of a minimum career GPA of 2.8 and a major GPA of 3.0 in all pre-professional courses
7. Meet with your assigned advisor to complete and monitor a program plan;
8. Submit an application to the Division of Teacher Education and Leadership for candidacy
9. Submit two letter of recommendation attesting to the student’s cognitive, physical and social/dispositional capabilities in preparation for teaching
10. Application to Practicum III and Stage IIIA with relevant PDE documents and clearances (valid for 1 year).
Benchmark II: Progression through Professional Teacher Education Program 1. Receipt of a formal letter of admission into the Division of Teacher Education and Leadership
2. Maintenance of a GPA of 3.0 throughout professional program
3. Maintain Portfolio Stage III A and B Field Experiences with evidences of professional competencies – reviewed by field experience supervisor
4. Successfully satisfy all criteria for field experiences as outlined in Candidate Field Experience Handbook
5. Formal application to Stage IV Clinical Field Experience (Student Teaching) with all relevant PDE documents and clearances (typically a full semester before the student teaching semester). Renewal clearances may be applicable. All documentation goes to the Director of Field Experiences
Benchmark III: Progression through Clinical Student Teaching and exiting Program Completion
1. Successfully satisfy all criteria for Stage IV Clinical Field Experience as outlined in Candidate Handbook
2. Maintain successful progression through clinical field experience (EDP4 or UEP4 420) as evidenced by PDE 430 evaluations and final grade (a final grade does not guarantee recommendation)
3. Successfully complete Professional Portfolio of Stage IV, field experience (student teaching) containing evidence of meeting the exit competencies
4. Complete the Stage IV Clinical Field Experience and seminar (EDP4 or UEP4 420 and 421) with a 3.0 GPA
5. Successfully completion of all required coursework and a minimum 120 academic credit.
6. A career GPA of a 2.8 or higher and a major GPA of a 3.0 or higher.*
Option 1: Recommendation for Instructional I teacher certification by CHC certifying officer: 1) a major GPA of 3.0, 2) successful completion of teacher preparation program, and 3) receipt of passing scores on the required Praxis II or PECT tests (Core and Professional Knowledge) for the certification area. Students apply for Pennsylvania Instructional I Certification www.pa.nesinc.com (see handbook for instructions to Access TIMS Online PDE Certification )
Option 2: Recommendation for early childhood education BS degree with successful completion of required coursework only without Stage IV Clinical Field Experience
*Candidates who graduate with a GPA of 2.80-2.99 will not be eligible to be recommended for Early Education PreK-4 Certification unless they pass the requisite Praxis II examinations by a 1.0 or higher standard deviation above the qualifying score. For students who graduate with a 3.00 GPA or higher, the qualifying Praxis II score may be lower. Please contact an advisor for specifics.
The Teacher Education and Leadership Council (TELC), consisting of representatives of all teacher education programs in the unit, including deans and chairs, is the governing body for processes and decisions regarding teacher education candidates. Benchmark subcommittees, consisting of at least three program faculty will review all benchmark deficiencies, discuss, and make recommendations to the to the Council where final decisions are made. A deficient may be, for example, students who have less than a 3.00 GPA in the major at the time of application into the teacher education program (benchmark 1). Depending on the information submitted as part of the admissions process, the following might occur: a student would be advised to choose another major so that the student has time to fulfill the requirements for the new major or a student may receive conditional approval to continue one additional semester of coursework in order to meet admissions requirements. After examining the information, the TELC will notify the student’s advisor of the decision. A student will receive a letter from the TELC indicating the decision to include further steps necessary either to continue in the process of acceptance or to work with the advisor for other options. A student whose application for admission to the certification program is denied may appeal to a faculty panel made up of a minimum of three program faculty members, inclusive of the Chair of the Council. The faculty panel will review the information and make a final decision.
The Education Department uses criteria outlined in the practicum and student teaching handbooks to continually evaluate a candidate’s performance. If any concern about the candidate’s performance is raised during the practicum and/or student teaching experiences, the concern will be brought to the Division of Teacher Education and Leadership Council. Information and documentation will be gathered from faculty members as well as practicum and/or student teaching supervisors who have had the student in class. In addition, completed evaluations and other relevant information will be obtained in order to make a determination of the candidate’s continuation in the certification program.