CEC Common Core Knowledge and Skills Essential for All Beginning Special Education Teachers

Key Words: Deaf Ed. Teacher Prep., Nationally Endorsed, (CEC)


The standards of the profession of special education are a formally codified set of beliefs. These belief statements represent the special educator's principles of appropriate ethical behavior and are based on several assumptions. One assumption of this common core of knowledge and skills is that the professional conduct of entry level special educators is foremost governed by the CEC Code of Ethics.

Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice of The Council for Exceptional Children

Special Education Professionals:

*Are committed to developing the highest educational and quality of life potential of exceptional individuals;

*Promote and maintain a high level of competence and integrity in practicing their profession;

*Engage in professional activities which benefit exceptional individuals, their families, other colleagues, students, or research subjects;

*Exercise objective professional judgment in the practice of their profession;

*Strive to advance their knowledge and skill regarding the education of exceptional individuals;

*Work within the standards and policies of their profession;

*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;

*Do not condone or participate in unethical or illegal acts, not violate professional standards adopted by the Delegate Assembly of CEC.

Second, special education has within its heritage the perspectives of embracing individual differences. These differences include the traditional consideration of the nature and effect of exceptionalities. Special education professionals must continue to broaden their perspectives to insure vigilant attention to the issues of diversity such as culture, language, gender, religion, and sexuality. Diversity is such a pervasive concern the statements involving diversity were infused throughout the model (see statement #2, 4, 8, 12, 15, 22, 42, 44, 76, 97, and 100).

Third, this common core of knowledge and skills may change over time. As with the adoption of the CEC Code of Ethics, time should provide for continuing examination, debate, and further articulation of these knowledge and skills for entry level special educators.

The CEC Common Core of Knowledge and Skills Essential for Entry Level Special Education Teachers was the culmination of the three year effort which included reviews and discussions of the available knowledge and skills, ERIC searches and reviews of the literature, discussion of procedures, selection of 195 knowledge and skill statements in nine areas for obtaining perceptions from CEC members, development and pilot testing of the Survey, distribution of the Survey to a random stratified sample (teacher vs. non-teacher;division; state/province) of 1072 CEC members, and review and in-depth discussion of the Survey results.

Several results concerning the Survey are important. The response rate was 54%, extremely high and representative of CEC members. This was especially significant considering the length of the Survey (195 statements). There were few statistically significant differences for the 195 statements considering role of responder or years of experience; the number of significant differences was not significantly greater than chance. There was significant variation among the ratings across statements, indicating that the respondents were critical in their ratings. Most respondents perceived most knowledge and skill statements to be in the array of knowledge and skills which should be considered for all entry level special educators as most were rated as "essential" or "desirable but not essential". The final document is the CEC Common Core of Knowledge and Skill essential for Entry Level Special Education Teachers composed of 107 statements in eight categories.

It was through significant professional a personal commitment that the members of the Subcommittee finished this product in a high quality and timely manner. This resulted in a mutual respect among the members of the Subcommittee with which we learned not only about knowledge and skills but about each other. May those who use this common core of knowledge and skill experience that same mutual respect among all those who serve students and their families.

CEC Common Core of Knowledge and Skills Essential for All Beginning Special Education Teachers

Knowledge and Skills Statement

I. Philosophical, Historical, and Legal Foundations of Special Education


1. Models, theories, and philosophies that provide the basis for special education practice

2. Variations in beliefs, traditions, and values across cultures within society and the effect to the relationships between child, family, and schooling

3. Issues in definition and identification procedures for individuals with exceptional learning needs

4. Assurances and due process rights related to assessment, eligibility and placement for students who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse

5. "Rights and responsibilities" of parents, students, teachers and schools as they relate to individuals with exceptional learning needs


6. Articulate personal philosophy of special education including its relationship to/with regular education

7. Conduct instruction and other professional activities consistent with the requirements of law, rules and regulations, and local district policies and procedures

II. Characteristics of Learners


8. Similarities and differences between the cognitive, physical, cultural, social, and emotional needs of typical and exceptional individuals

9. Differential characteristics of children and youth with exceptionalities (including levels of severity where applicable)

10. Characteristics of normal, delayed, and disordered communication patterns of exceptional individuals

11. Effects and exceptional condition may have on an individual's life

12. Characteristics and effects of the cultural and environmental milieu of the child and the family (e.g., cultural diversity, socioeconomic level, abuse/neglect, substance abuse, etc.)

13. Effects of various medication on the educational, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional behavior of individuals with exceptionalities

14. Educational implications of characteristics of various exceptionalities


15. Access information on various cognitive, physical, cultural, social, and emotional conditions of exceptional individuals

III. Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation


16. Basic terminology used in assessment

17. Ethical concerns related to assessment

18. Legal provisions, regulations and guidelines regarding student assessment

19. Typical procedures used for screening, pre-referral, referral, classification

20. Appropriate application and interpretation of scores, e.g., grade score vs. standard score, percentile ranks, age/grade equivalents, a stanines.

21. Appropriate use and limitations of each type of assessment instrument

22. Influence of diversity on assessment, eligibility, programming, and placement of exceptional learners

23. The relationship between assessment and placement decisions

24. Methods for monitoring student progress


25. Collaborate with parents and other professionals involved in the assessment of students with individual learning needs

26. Create and maintain student records

27. Gather background information regarding academic, medical, and family history

28. Use various types of assessment procedures (e.g., norm- referenced, curriculum-based, work samples, observations, task analysis) appropriately

29. Interpret formal and informal assessment instruments and procedures

30. Report assessment results to students, parents, administrators and other professionals using appropriate communication skills

31. Use performance data and teacher/student/parent input to make or suggest appropriate modification in learning environments

32. Develop individualized assessment strategies for instruction

33. Use assessment information in making instructional decisions and planning individual student programs

34. Evaluate the results of instruction

35. Evaluate readiness for integration into various program placements

IV. Instructional Content and Practice


36. Differing learning styles of students and how to adapt teaching to these styles

37. Demands of various learning environments (e.g.,individualized instruction in general education classes)

38. Curricula for the development of motor, cognitive, academic, social, language, affective, and functional life skills for individuals with exceptional learning needs

39. Instructional and remedial methods, techniques, and curriculum materials

40. Techniques for modifying instructional methods and materials

41. Life skills instruction relevant to independent, community, and personal living and employment

42. Diversity and dynamics of families, schools, and communities as related to effective instruction for individuals with exceptional learning needs


43. Interpret and use assessment data for instructional planning

44. Develop and/or select assessment measures and instructional programs and practices which respond to cultural, linguistic, and gender differences

45. Develop comprehensive, longitudinal individualized student programs

46. Choose and use appropriate technologies to accomplish instructional objectives and to integrate them appropriately into the instructional process

47. Prepare appropriate lesson plans

48. Involve the student in setting instructional goals and charting progress

49. Conduct and use task analysis

50. Select, adapt, and use instructional strategies and materials according to characteristics of learner

51. Sequence, implement, and evaluate individual student learning objectives

52. Integrate affective, social, and career/vocational skills with academic curricula

53. Use strategies for facilitating maintenance and generalization of skills across learning environments

54. Use instructional time properly

55. Teach students to use thinking, problem-solving and other cognitive strategies to meet their individual needs

56. Choose and implement instructional techniques and strategies that promote successful transitions for persons with exceptional learning needs

57. Establish and maintain rapport with learner

58. Use verbal and nonverbal communication techniques

59. Conduct self-evaluation of instruction

V. Planning and Managing the Teaching and Learning Environment


60. Basic classroom management theories, methods, and techniques for students with exceptional learning needs

61. Research based best practices for effective management of teaching and learning

62. Ways in which technology can assist with planning and managing the teaching and learning environment


63. Create a safe, positive, and supporting learning environment in which diversities are valued

64. Use strategies and techniques for facilitating the functional integration of exceptional individuals in various settings

65. Prepare and organize materials in order to implement daily lesson plans

66. Incorporate evaluation, planning, and management procedures which match learner needs with the instructional environment

67. Design a learning environment that encourages active participation by learners in a variety of individual and group learning activities

68. Design, structure, and manage daily classroom routines, including transition time, effectively for students, other staff, and the general classroom

69. Direct the activities of a classroom paraprofessional, aide, volunteer or peer tutor

70. Create an environment which encourages self advocacy and increased independence

VI. Managing Student Behavior and Social Interaction Skills


71. Applicable laws, rules and regulations, and procedural safe-guards regarding the planning and implementation of management of student behaviors

72. Ethical considerations inherent in classroom behavior management

73. Teacher attitudes and behaviors that positively or negatively influence student behavior

74. Social skills needed for educational and functional living environments and effective instruction in the development of social skills

75. Strategies for crisis prevention/intervention

76. Strategies for preparing students to live harmoniously and productively in a multi-class, multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multinational world


77. Demonstrate a variety of effective behavior management techniques appropriate to the needs of exceptional individuals

78. Implement the least intensive intervention consistent with the needs of the exceptional individual

79. Modify the learning environment (schedule and physical arrangement) to manage inappropriate behaviors

80. Identify realistic expectations for personal and social behavior in various settings

81. Integrate social skills into the curriculum

82. Use effective teaching procedures in social skills instruction

83. Demonstrate procedures to increase student self- awareness, self-control, self-reliance, and self-esteem

84. Prepare students to exhibit self-enhancing behavior in response to societal attitudes and actions

VII. Communication and Collaborative Partnerships


85. Importance and benefits of communication and collaboration which promotes interaction with students, parents, school and community personnel

86. Typical concerns of parents of individuals with exceptional learning needs and appropriate strategies to help parents deal with these concerns

87. Developing individual student programs working in collaboration with team members

88. Roles of students, parents, teachers, other school and community personnel in planning a student's individualized program

89. Ethical practices for confidential communication to others about individuals with exceptional learning needs


90. Use collaborative strategies in working with students, parents, school and community personnel in various learning environments

91. Communicate and consult with students, parents, teachers, and other school and community personnel

92. Foster respectful and beneficial relationships between families and professionals

93. Encourage and assist families to become active participants in the educational team

94. Plan and conduct collaborative conferences with parents or primary care givers

95. Collaborate with regular classroom teachers and other school and community personnel in integrating students into various learning environments

96. Communicate with regular teachers, administrators, and other school personnel about characteristics and needs of students with specific exceptional learning needs

VIII. Professionalism and Ethical Practices


97. One's own cultural biases and differences that affect one's teaching

98. Importance of the teacher serving as a model for students


99. Demonstrate commitment to developing the highest educational and quality of life potential of individuals with exceptional learning needs

100. Demonstrate positive regard for the cultures, religion, gender, and sexuality of students

101. Promote and maintain a high level of competence and integrity in the practice of the profession

102. Exercise objective professional judgment in the practice of the profession

103. Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication

104. Engage in professional activities which may benefit exceptional individuals, their families and/or colleagues

105. Comply with local, state, provincial, and federal monitoring and evaluation requirements

106. Use of copyrighted educational materials in an ethical manner

107. Practice within the CEC Code of Ethics and other standards and policies of the profession