What is special education?

Did you know the Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction (MSCI) with Elementary and Secondary Teacher Certification students have some of the highest pass rates in the state for the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC)?

The new Elementary grade band (Lower: PreK-3 and Upper: 3-6) MTTC is divided into four sections: Professional Skills, Literacy, Math and Science/Social Studies.  The Professional Skills test for both Lower and Upper Elementary directly measures what is taught in teacher preparation course work.  Topics on this assessment include themes such as how to make learning student-centered, how to support learners in their educational journey and how to build strategic partnerships with stakeholders.  

The MSCI with Teacher Certification program at Concordia Ann Arbor currently has over 60 enrolled candidates pursuing certification in Lower or Upper Elementary.  Of the candidates who have taken the Professional Skills MTTC test over the past year, a whopping 98% of them passed the test on the first try!

Here, Yusra a current student in the program, tells about how her coursework is helping her be successful both on the test and in her career:

“The Concordia classes have really helped me in my teaching journey. I am learning many valuable techniques that I put into practice immediately during my clinical experience. For instance, one of the biggest differentiation strategies I learned about and implemented was on the effectiveness of small groups. It really helped me cater to each student’s needs better. I’ve also learned a lot about giving feedback. Giving feedback is a big part of this job. I learned about the sandwich method in one of my courses and my life has been changed since then! 

At the school where I work, I’ve become known for constantly mentioning, “I just wrote a discussion post about that,” in our staff meetings. Recently, in a meeting about implementing technology for the next year, I already had a list of helpful technologies for all the other teachers thanks to the Concordia course I’m currently in.

Concordia’s program has truly helped me grow as a teacher and I’m excited to keep learning about strategies I can use in my classroom through the rest of my course work.”

The Elementary content area MTTC tests, Literacy, Math and Science/Social Studies focus on the methodology, both in regard to instruction and practice, as well as the skills and processes, of effective teaching.  The current Literacy and Science/Social Studies test pass rate among Lower Elementary candidates is 100%.  This means that every single Lower Elementary candidate who took the Science/Social Studies test in the past year passed the test on their first attempt!    

Here, Brent tells of how the course work not only helped him pass his MTTC but also prepared him for his recent interview for a teaching position: 

“The interview brought up the use of technology in the classroom. I am taking a course on technology so I was easily able to answer their questions directly and with confidence.  So much of the content learned over the course of this master’s program was discussed in my interview.  I’m glad that the assignments are written in a way that helped me retain the information I needed to be successful.”

For Secondary Education, all candidates who have taken the Health, Physical Education and Special Education: Learning Disabilities tests have passed on their first try.  Passing these assessments on the first try is a measurement of the Michigan Department of Education as it not only signals strength of the teacher preparation program, but it also saves teacher candidates time and money from having to re-take the test.

At Concordia University Ann Arbor we have high standards for our teacher certification programs.  These expectations are reflected not only in our pass rates on state required certification exams, but also in the testimonies of students who are reaping the benefits of their success firsthand. 

Want in?

Interested in becoming a teacher or learning more?  Contact the Director of the program Dr. Sara Clemm von Hohenberg at sara.clemmvonhohenberg@cuaa.edu.

—This is written by Dr. Sara Clemm von Hohenberg. She serves as the Director of the Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with Teacher Certification Program. Dr. CvH also teaches courses within the program and coordinates student teaching experiences for teacher candidates.