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Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators

2 women reading "What Every Special Educator Should Know," the "red book" on CEC Standards

About the Initial K-12 Standards

2 women discussing at poster session

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)’s 2012 Performance-Based Initial Preparation Standards define what a candidate must know and be able to do to begin teaching. In July 2020, CEC released the 2020 Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators (Initial K-12 Standards).*

While this 2020 revision of the Initial K-12 Standards contains similar content categories to those of the 2012 standards, the seven standard statements and the 23 component statements differ from the 2012 K-12 Standards. The focus of these standards has been narrowed to preparing educators who will be working with students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

*CEC has submitted these standards to CAEP for inclusion in the SPA Program Review Process. Pending CAEP’s acceptance, they will become optional for use for reports submitted in spring 2021 and required in spring 2023 for use in the SPA Program Review Process

Field and Clinical Experience Standard

Special education candidates progress through a series of developmentally sequenced field and clinical experiences for the full range of ages, types and levels of abilities, and collaborative opportunities that are appropriate to the license or roles for which they are preparing. These field and clinical experiences are supervised by qualified professionals.

Standard 1: Engaging in Professional Learning and Practice within Ethical Guidelines

Candidates practice within ethical and legal guidelines; advocate for improved outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families while considering their social, cultural, and linguistic diversity; and engage in ongoing self-reflection to design and implement professional learning activities. 

1.1 Candidates practice within ethical guidelines and legal policies and procedures. 
1.2 Candidates advocate for improved outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families while addressing the unique needs of those with diverse social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. 
1.3 Candidates design and implement professional learning activities based on ongoing analysis of student learning; self-reflection; and professional standards, research, and contemporary practices. 

 

Standard 2: Understanding and Addressing Each Individual’s Developmental and Learning Needs

Candidates use their understanding of human growth and development, the multiple influences on development, individual differences, diversity, including exceptionalities, and families and communities to plan and implement inclusive learning environments and experiences that provide individuals with exceptionalities high quality learning experiences reflective of each individual’s strengths and needs.  

2.1 Candidates apply understanding of human growth and development to create developmentally appropriate and meaningful learning experiences that address individualized strengths and needs of students with exceptionalities. 
2.2 Candidates use their knowledge and understanding of diverse factors that influence development and learning, including differences related to families, languages, cultures, and communities, and individual differences, including exceptionalities, to plan and implement learning experiences and environments. 

 

Standard 3: Demonstrating Subject Matter Content and Specialized Curricular Knowledge

Candidates apply their understanding of the academic subject matter content of the general curriculum and specialized curricula to inform their programmatic and instructional decisions for learners with exceptionalities. 

3.1 Candidates apply their understanding of academic subject matter content of the general curriculum to inform their programmatic and instructional decisions for individuals with exceptionalities. 
3.2 Candidates augment the general education curriculum to address skills and strategies that students with disabilities need to access the core curriculum and function successfully within a variety of contexts as well as the continuum of placement options to assure specially designed instruction is developed and implemented to achieve mastery of curricular standards and individualized goals and objectives. 

 

Standard 4: Using Assessment to Understand the Learner and the Learning Environment for Data-Based Decision Making

Candidates assess students’ learning, behavior, and the classroom environment in order to evaluate and support classroom and school-based problem-solving systems of intervention and instruction. Candidates evaluate students to determine their strengths and needs, contribute to students’ eligibility determination, communicate students’ progress, inform short and long-term instructional planning, and make ongoing adjustments to instruction using technology as appropriate.  

4.1 Candidates collaboratively develop, select, administer, analyze, and interpret multiple measures of student learning, behavior, and the classroom environment to evaluate and support classroom and school-based systems of intervention for students with and without exceptionalities. 
4.2 Candidates develop, select, administer, and interpret multiple, formal and informal, culturally and linguistically appropriate measures and procedures that are valid and reliable to contribute to eligibility determination for special education services. 
4.3 Candidates assess, collaboratively analyze, interpret, and communicate students’ progress toward measurable outcomes using technology as appropriate, to inform both short- and long-term planning, and make ongoing adjustments to instruction. 

 

Standard 5: Supporting Learning Using Effective Instruction

Candidates use knowledge of individuals’ development, learning needs, and assessment data to inform decisions about effective instruction. Candidates use explicit instructional strategies and employ strategies to promote active engagement and increased motivation to individualize instruction to support each individual. Candidates use whole group instruction, flexible grouping, small group instruction, and individual instruction. Candidates teach individuals to use meta-/cognitive strategies to support and self-regulate learning. 

5.1 Candidates use findings from multiple assessments, including student self-assessment, that are responsive to cultural and linguistic diversity and specialized as needed, to identify what students know and are able to do. They then interpret the assessment data to appropriately plan and guide instruction to meet rigorous academic and non-academic content and goals for each individual.  
5.2 Candidates use effective strategies to promote active student engagement, increase student motivation, increase opportunities to respond, and enhance self‐regulation of student learning. 
5.3 Candidates use explicit, systematic instruction to teach content, strategies, and skills to make clear what a learner needs to do or think about while learning. 
5.4 Candidates use flexible grouping to support the use of instruction that is adapted to meet the needs of each individual and group. 
5.5 Candidates organize and manage focused, intensive small group instruction to meet the learning needs of each individual. 
5.6 Candidates plan and deliver specialized, individualized instruction that is used to meet the learning needs of each individual.  

 

Standard 6: Supporting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Growth

Candidates create and contribute to safe, respectful, and productive learning environments for individuals with exceptionalities through the use of effective routines and procedures and use a range of preventive and responsive practices to support social, emotional and educational well-being. They follow ethical and legal guidelines and work collaboratively with families and other professionals to conduct behavioral assessments for intervention and program development.

6.1 Candidates use effective routines and procedures to create safe, caring, respectful, and productive learning environments for individuals with exceptionalities. 
6.2 Candidates use a range of preventive and responsive practices documented as effective to support individuals’ social, emotional, and educational well-being. 
6.3 Candidates systematically use data from a variety of sources to identify the purpose or function served by problem behavior to plan, implement, and evaluate behavioral interventions and social skills programs, including generalization to other environments. 

 

Standard 7: Collaborating with Team Members

Candidates apply team processes and communication strategies to collaborate in a culturally responsive manner with families, paraprofessionals, and other professionals within the school, other educational settings, and the community to plan programs and access services for individuals with exceptionalities and their families. 

7.1 Candidates utilize communication, group facilitation, and problem–solving strategies in a culturally responsive manner to lead effective meetings and share expertise and knowledge to build team capacity and jointly address students’ instructional and behavioral needs. 
7.2 Candidates collaborate, communicate, and coordinate with families, paraprofessionals, and other professionals within the educational setting to assess, plan, and implement effective programs and services that promote progress toward measurable outcomes for individuals with and without exceptionalities and their families. 
7.3 Candidates collaborate, communicate, and coordinate with professionals and agencies within the community to identify and access services, resources, and supports to meet the identified needs of individuals with exceptionalities and their families. 
7.4 Candidates work with and mentor paraprofessionals in the paraprofessionals’ role of supporting the education of individuals with exceptionalities and their families.

 

Last Updated:  14 August, 2020

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