Practicum in Special Education

Course Details

Course Number: SPED 6943  Spring 2012

Location: Off-Campus

Days & Times:


Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Dr.   Darrell Mohr   
view Profile »

Course Objectives

The practicum experience will consist of a major project intended to promote positive change in the school, community, and/or homes for the benefit of children with disabilities. The student will create a proposal for the project, along with goals and a detailed timeline for completion. The project will culminate in an artifact or finished product that will be used to support students with disabilities and/or their families, or will be used by educators to improve the outcomes of students with disabilities.

Objectives Candidates will meet the following standards and competencies relating to special education leadership and the relevant Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) knowledge and skills base standards for all beginning special education administrators and educational diagnosticians.




Needs of different groups in a pluralistic society



Evidence-based theories of organizational and educational leadership



Emerging issues and trends that potentially affect the school community and the mission of the school



Models, theories, and philosophies that form the basis of assessment



Issues in general and special education that impact placement decisions for individuals with exceptional learning needs



Policy and research implications that promote recommended practices in assessment



Identify and use the research literature to resolve issues of professional practice



Roles of educators in integrated settings


Responsibilities and functions of school committees and boards


Issues in general and special education that impact placement decisions for individuals with exceptional learning needs


Promote a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment


Advocate for educational policy within the context of evidence-based practices


Pre-referral intervention processes and strategies


Developmentally appropriate strategies for modifying instructional methods and the learning environment


Characteristics of individuals with exceptional learning needs that impact the development of programs and services


Develop programs including the integration of related services for individuals based on a thorough understanding of individual differences


Course Expectations

The practicum project assignment is designed to have you integrate concepts and methods you have learned throughout your graduate program and apply them in a practical way that helps others. This project must go beyond your regular duties and extend your professional expertise. 


You should formulate an idea for your project based upon a perceived need, problem, or issue. You will then articulate a solution to the need, problem or issue in a comprehensive proposal which should include the following elements:


  1. Goal and rationale—outline specifically how the project addresses a need, problem or issue, and state an outcome goal that you hope to achieve with the project. Include information to indicate how the project relates to your professional development.
  2. List the steps for carrying out the project—this section should describe the process or sequence of activities you will follow to attain the project's goal.  You should outline the process you will follow to complete the project steps, and  indicate the extent to which you coordinated involvement of others (The use of a PERT chart may be helpful for this section).
  3. Time line –Construct a visual time line showing the dates on which each step of your planned process will be completed.  This is particularly important due to the 90 hour requirement for the course. You also will need to document the hours spent on each step of the planned process, and submit a project log along with the final project.
  4. Evaluation plan—you should develop a means of determining whether the project goal is met. You should describe the evaluation procedures you will use and specify how you plan to obtain and evaluate the information. The final project will include a personal reflection of the experience and an evaluation of the result base on your evaluation procedures.


Six steps for planning, completing and documenting your practicum experience.


  1.  Plan --Conduct a needs assessment (formal or informal). Then, plan a project to meet the need. Submit a project proposal to Dr. Mohr not later than Feb 6, 2012.
  2. Connect--Provide evidence of ways you collaborated with others (e.g., planning meetings, consultations, or interviews)
  3. Act--Use your needs assessment to guide the direction of your project. Develop a comprehensive plan to meet your goal, along with a time line for completion.
  4. Document--Keep a project log of your experiences for the purpose of reflection, amending your plan, and keeping track of the hours spent working on the project.
  5. Reflect—Upon completion of the project, systematically evaluate its degree of success and note any improvements/changes you would make.
  6. Share--Write and post a summary of your practicum experience on the Blackboard course website for peers to view, comment and ask questions.




Grading Standards

Grading for the practicum will be in accordance with rubrics established for each activity in the course.





< 60=F

Submission Format PolicyNote: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

This course is comprised of work in the field. Therefore, students will adhere to the schedule agreed upon with the instructor. Each student is expected to adhere to the established deadlines agreed upon with the instructor.

Other Policies



The special education faculty expects students to be reflective, culturally sensitive practitioners and leaders in the profession of education who practice within the Code of Ethics adopted by the CEC.

Special education professionals are committed to developing the highest    educational and quality of life potential of individuals with exceptionalities.

Special education professionals promote and maintain a high level of competence and integrity in practicing their profession.

Special education professionals engage in professional activities which benefit individuals with exceptionalities, their families, other colleagues, students, or research subjects.

Special education professionals exercise objective professional judgment in the practice of their profession.

Special education professionals strive to advance their knowledge and skills regarding the education of individuals with exceptionalities.

Special education professionals work within the standards and policies of their profession.

Special education professionals seek to uphold and improve where necessary the laws, regulations, and policies governing the delivery of special education and related services and the practice of their profession.

Special education professionals do not condone or participate in unethical or illegal acts, nor violate professional standards adopted by the Delegate Assembly of CEC.

Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.