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Arkansas State University

Why Application-Based Curriculum Is Best for Special Education Master’s Degree

The need for special education teachers is growing. More and more districts are seeing rising numbers of special education students, thus the need for more highly qualified teachers. An online Master of Science in Education for Special Education — Instructional Specialist program that includes evidence-based curriculum can equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to land a special education job and be successful when working with students.

What Is Evidence-Based Curriculum?

 In the past, special education practices could change every school year. A new study would come out or the district would change its standards for special education students, and teachers would have to change their approach to help those students become successful. Nowadays, many master’s degree programs in special education are focusing on evidence-based curriculum. The curriculum is based on instructional strategies, practices or interventions that have resulted in consistent positive results when tested. For a practice to be considered evidence-based, it has to be the implementation of high-quality research, tested and replicated multiple times, and be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Many of these practices have been used for students with autism or ASD.

Many special educators may not currently use evidence-based curriculum for several reasons: they may not know about it, they may not know which strategies are evidence-based, or they may not know how to implement such strategies into their classroom. A master’s degree in special education can give you knowledge of not only specific evidence-based practices, but also how to implement them successfully into your own classroom.

Results of Implementation

 Some examples of evidence-based practices used in the classroom include prompting, reinforcement, visual supports, social narratives and social groups. A master’s degree in special education can help you learn these practices and how to use them in your classroom to help with the growth of special education students. Teachers who use these practices have reported successful results. But these practices aren’t set in stone. They can develop and change when the student’s abilities change. For example, if the practice of prompting says to prompt a student five times, but that doesn’t work, then it’s OK to shift the number of times you prompt that student. These practices can serve as viable data for students’ progress and achievements in the classroom. If a correlation between the practices and behaviors exist, then it can be easier for teachers to plan future lessons.

Many educators have seen success with evidence-based curriculum in the classroom. Special education teachers can act as a liaison between parents and their student. If specific practices are working with students, then special education teachers can relay these practices to parents, caregivers and other classroom teachers to ensure the growth and success of the special education students.

To be a successful teacher, preparedness is something you want to strive for. Gaining a master’s degree in special education can prepare you not only for learning evidence-based curriculum, which has proven to be an effective resource for the classroom, but knowing how to implement those practices to help special education students grow and succeed in school.

Learn more about the A-State online MSE in Special Education program.


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