Special Education 676

EDSP 676: Teaching Exceptional Learners in the Secondary General Curriculum

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; EDSP 651, EDSP 672

Credit Hour: (3)

Addresses current issues and needs in instructional programming for students with disabilities at the secondary level,  including IEP development for students preparing to transition, and research-based teaching approaches. Emphasizes teaching methods that are tailored to promote student academic progress and effective preparation for participation in the general curriculum and standardized assessments. The course prepares teachers to teach and remediate academic skills, study skills, learning strategies, and modification of course content to meet individual needs of students who are engaged in the general education curriculum at the secondary level. This course also addresses the development of  effective transition planning for students with disabilities, including  services that will facilitate the success of the students in post-secondary environments.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Teaching Exceptional Learners in the Secondary General Curriculum is designed to provide professional educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement an optimal teaching-learning environment for students with disabilities representing diverse backgrounds in the general education curriculum. Skills in this area shall contribute to:

  • an understanding of the principles of learning, curriculum development, and the scope and sequence of the secondary general education curriculum;
  • the development of individualized education plans based on coordinated, measurable annual IEP goals and transition services that will enable the student to meet post-secondary goals;
  • the development of measurable post-secondary goals;
  • the development of a Summary of Performance;
  • an understanding of successful curriculum approaches, materials, programs, and techniques that promote transition education and services;
  • the identification and development of differentiated discipline-specific (particularly reading, writing, and mathematics) methodologies, such as systematic instruction, multisensory approaches, learning cognitive strategies, and study skills;
  • well-planned lessons that encompass alternative ways to teach content material including curriculum adaptation and modifications, and  that also reflect the selection and use of materials, including media, computers, and other educational technology to promote pupil learning;
  • the identification of assessment measures appropriate for monitoring student progress, lesson mastery, and for monitoring and evaluating the attainment of IEP goals.
  • classroom organization.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lecture, demonstration, class discussion, audio and/or visual presentations, simulations/role playing, assigned readings, lesson preparation and presentation, small group problem solving activities, free-writing during and after class, and observations and activities in public school classrooms.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in this class address NCATE Standards 1b Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Skills, 1c Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills, and 1d Student Learning. The codes included below refer to the CEC Knowledge and Skill Standards and the Virginia  Department of Education teacher licensure competencies. Code for CEC Standards: CC = Common Core; GC = General Curriculum. Code for VADOE Standards: VGCA = Virginia’s General Curriculum PART A; VGCB = Virginia’s General Curriculum PART B; and VPS = Virginia’s Professional Studies.

Upon completion of this course the student will demonstrate understanding of/ability to:

1. Apply theoretical approaches and research-based strategies for the development of curriculum and instructional practices for children with disabilities (CC7K1, GC4S2, VPS2)

2. Plan curriculum and implement instruction based on an understanding of national, state, and local standards, the scope and sequence of the general and special curricula, and classroom organization (CC7K2, CC7K3, GC4K1, CC7S1, VPS2, VC2b, VGCB2a)

3. Use technology for planning and managing the teaching and learning environment (CC7K4, VGCB2b)

4. Incorporate and implement instructional and assistive technology into the educational program, including the post-secondary settings(CC7S9, GC5S3, GC4S7, VGCB2a, VPS2)

5. Develop and implement comprehensive individualized educational programs in collaboration with team members, including varying professionals, the individual student as a self-advocate and the family (CC7S2, CC7S3, CC5S8, VGCB2a)

6. Make decisions about individual student programs, learning objectives, curriculum, accommodations, placement, and teaching methodology based upon an understanding of the student’s characteristics and individual needs (CC4S3, CC7S6, VGCB2a)

7. Demonstrate the use of assessment, evaluation and other information to develop and implement individual educational planning and group instruction with students with disabilities accessing the general curriculum at the secondary level (VGCB2a)

8. Evaluate, select and use research-supported methods and specialized instructional strategies for academic and nonacademic instruction for students with disabilities at the secondary level (GC4S1, GC7S2, GC4K3, VPS2)

9. Prepare and implement lesson plans with consideration of individual student needs and characteristics including age, ability, culture, language, and gender. (GC7S3, CC7S10, GC4S12, CC7S8,  VPS2, VGCB2b)

10. Provide explicit instruction and remediate deficits in reading skills, math calculations and applications, and written composition (GC4S15, GC4S4, GC4S16, GC4S14, GC4K6, GC4S5, VGCB2, VPS2)

11. Teach individuals with disabilities to use effective thinking processes, problem-solving skills, study skills, test-taking strategies, and other cognitive learning strategies to meet their needs (GC4S11, CC4S2, GC4S3, GC4K2, GC4K7, CC4S4, GC4K5, VPS2, VGCB2)

12. Design, implement, and evaluate instructional programs and grouping techniques that enhance social participation and life skills across environments. (GC7S8, CC7S7, CC4S6, VGCB2)

13. Demonstrate knowledge of self-determination and self-advocacy skills that lead to self-determined behaviors, such as person-centered planning strategies, effective communication and social skills (CC5S8, GC7S7, VGCB3)

14. Demonstrate knowledge of resources, services, agencies, and techniques that assist in transitioning individuals with disabilities into post school environments including a basic understanding of Social Security Income benefits planning, work incentive, Medicaid, and community independent living. (GC4S8, CC4S6, GC7K2, GC7S6, VGCB3)

15. Demonstrate  the ability to prepare students and work with families to provide successful student transitions throughout the educational experience to include postsecondary training, employment, and independent living that addresses an understanding of long-term planning, vocational assessments, career development, life skills, community experiences and resources, self-advocacy, and self-determination, age of majority, guardianship and legal considerations.(VGCB3a, GC10S4)


Assessment Measures

Student learning will be assessed through performance based assessments/course projects, including lesson design and presentation, and IEP development for students at the secondary level.

The IEP Assignment is an NCATE Candidate Performance Assessment.

Other Course Information



Review and Approval

4/18/1994            Modified            Alice Anderson

Fall 1997              Revised             Judy B. Engelhard

4/9/1998              Revised             Judy B. Engelhard

10/5/2001             Revised            Needra Wheeler/Debora Bays

11/8/2002             Revised            Debora Bays

12/22/2009            Revised            Debora Bays, Brenda-Jean Tyler, Darren Minarik