The B.S. Ed. in Special Education includes two emphases: Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I) and Vision Impairments. The LBS I cross-categorical emphasis prepares students to obtain an Illinois educator license with entitlement as a Learning Behavior Specialist I (Preschool - age 21). The emphasis in Vision Impairments prepares students to obtain educator license with entitlement in the area of Teacher of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (Preschool - age 21).
The Special Education program provides a broad range of professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions for students preparing to become special education teachers. Field experiences and course work have been carefully designed and coordinated based on policies, standards, and frameworks of the university, the College of Education; the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE); and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), an international organization for special education.
The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.
Check departmental information for any additional requirements.
Entrance and Retention in the LBS I and Vision Impairments Program Emphases
To enter into the teacher education in special education and advance to the first professional semester, students must have (a) achieved an NIU GPA of 2.50 or better, (b) received a grade of C or better in SESE 240 or an equivalent transfer course, (c) completed the safety tutorial prior to the first clinical experience and (d) obtained a passing score on all sections of the Test of Academic Proficiency or the state approved equivalent score or above on the ACT Plus Writing or on the SAT. During the pre-professional semester, students complete an application form indicating intent to begin the professional course sequence. Advising staff verify scores on the Test of Academic Proficiency, completion of the safety tutorial, prerequisite course grades, and GPA. All students who meet requirements are admitted to the Learning Behavior Specialist I or Vision Impairments teacher education program.
To remain a major in special education, candidates must (a) maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better, (b) receive a grade of C or better in professional courses and a grade of S in clinical courses, and (c) pass the ISBE content area test and Special Education General Curriculum Test before enrolling in student teaching courses. Students in the LBS I emphasis take the Learning Behavior Specialist I content test and students in the Vision Impairments emphasis take Teacher of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired content test. The departmental advising staff track GPA and course grades at the end of each semester and verify passing scores on the content area and Special Education General Curriculum Test prior to student teaching.
Candidates are expected to meet all university and College of Education standards for retention. They also must meet the standards set forth in the Council for Exceptional Children Code of Ethics and Standards for Professional Practice for Special Educators.
To be admitted to teacher education in Emphasis 1, Learning Behavior Specialist I, individuals who have earned the Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.) in Special Education must provide evidence of passing the Test of Academic Proficiency (or of obtaining a minimum score on the ACT including the writing portion of the ACT) and have a minimum transfer GPA of 2.50, including grades of C or better in A.A.T. professional special education courses. The A.A.T. must include courses in Language Development and Introduction to Foundations of Reading. Students transferring to NIU with an A.A.T. in Special Education, who intend to pursue the Learning Behavior Specialist I program, must contact the undergraduate academic adviser no later than one year prior to admission to NIU. Failure to do so may result in a delay of registration for the initial block sequence of courses leading to educator license with LBS I endorsement.
License and Endorsement Requirements
Candidates who major in special education in the Learning Behavior Specialist I emphasis or the Vision Impairments emphasis are required to meet the Illinois licensure requirements including 29-41 semester hours of general education classes which must include at least three semester hours of cultural diversity course work. Transfer students with an A.A. or A.S. degree also must meet these requirements for educator licensure. Candidates who successfully complete the program requirements and pass the state mandated Teacher Performance Assessment will have completed all required ISBE and CAEP standards for receiving university recommnedation for licensure and special education endorsement in Visual Impairments or Learning Behavior Specialist I. This includes completing the Safety Tutorial prior to the first early clinical course, passing the Learning Behavior Specialist I content test or Teacher of Student Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired content test and the Special Education General Curriculum Test prior to student teaching, the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) and the Illinois Assessment of Professional Teaching test (APT) that are completed during student teaching. Successful completion of the program without receipt of a passing score on the state mandated Teacher Performance Assessment may result in the candidate receiving a degree without university recommendation for licensure.Successful completion of the program without receipt of a passing score on the state mandated Teacher Performance Assessment may result in the candidate receiving a degree without university recommendation for licensure.
Endorsement for Non-Special Education Majors
Special Education course work meets all Illinois State Board of Education standards for endorsement in Special Education. This endorsement consists of 16-21 semester hours and is open to candidates currently seeking a Professional Educator License from a department other than SEED. Contact the academic adviser for details.
Emphasis 1. Learning Behavior Specialist I
This emphasis prepares candidates for Illinois educator licensure with endorsement as a learning behavior specialist I (preschool-age 21).
Candidates in the LBS I program emphasis must earn a grade of C or better in SESE 240, SESE 370, SESE 415, SESE 416, SESE 417, SESE 419, SESE 444, SESE 446, SESE 447, SESE 448, SESE 459, SESE 460, SESE 461, as well as, EPFE 201, EPFE 321 or EPFE 410, EPS 405, ETR 434, LTCY 300, LTIC 420, MATH 201, and POLS 100 or POLS 150. Candidates who do not meet these requirements must retake the course(s). In addition, candidates must earn a grade of S in all early field experience and student teaching courses (SESE 418, SESE 419, SESE 449, SESE 463, SESE 464, SESE 491, and SESE 492).
Candidates must pass all required courses in the first professional semester with grades of C or better or, as appropriate, with a grade of S, before advancing to the second professional semester. Students must pass all required courses in the second professional semester with grades of C or better or, as appropriate, with a grade of S, before advancing to the third professional semester. Candidates must pass all required courses in the third professional semester with grades of C or better or, as appropriate, with a grade of S, before advancing to student teaching. Candidates must pass the first student teaching course with a grade of S before advancing to the second student teaching course.
The LBS I endorsement is a cross-categorical endorsement that encompasses all categories of disability from kindergarten through high school. As a result, early clinical experiences and student teaching involve working with students with mild developmental disabilities in both elementary and secondary settings. Candidates complete three early clinical experiences prior to student teaching. Early clinical experiences are aligned with special education courses across three semesters. SESE 491/SESE 492 (student teaching) are the fourth professional experiences in the Special Education program. This course work consists of two eight-week (Monday - Friday) full-day placements, one at the elementary level (SESE 491) and one at the secondary level (SESE 492). Candidates fulfill various instructional and assessment responsibilities as well as completion of the edTPA during student teaching. These placements range from full-inclusion classrooms to residential schools and serve a diverse student population in urban, rural, and suburban settings.
Requirements in Department (64)
Requirements outside Department (34)
Total Hours for Emphasis 1, Learning Behavior Specialist I: 98
Emphasis 2. Vision Impairments
Emphasis 2 prepares candidates for Illinois educator licensure with endorsement in the area of Teacher of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. (Preschool to age 21.)
Candidates in the Vision Impairments program emphasis must earn a grade of C or better in SEVI 400, SEVI 410, SEVI 420, SEVI 421, SEVI 430, SEVI 440, SEVI 441, SEVI 450, SEVI 480, SEVI 484, SEVI 485, and SEVI 486. In addition, candidates must earn a grade of C or better in EPFE 201 (or BKST 211 or ILAS 123), EPFE 321 or EPFE 410, EPS 405, ETR 434, ETT 402, LTCY 300, LTIC 301 or LTIC 420, MATH 201,SESE 240, SESE 415, SESE 416, SESE 417, SESE 418, SESE 444, SESE 447, and SESE 449. Candidates who do not meet these requirements must retake the course(s).
Requirements in Department (65)
Requirements outside Department (28-31)
Total Hours for Emphasis 2, Vision Impairments: 93-96