Educational Specialist: Language and Literacy

The goal of the educational specialist degree is to develop personnel who are highly competent practitioners/specialists in specific fields of education. The program of study will place emphasis on the extension of the students' abilities to apply theory, methodology and techniques to practical problems related to the individual's field. The breadth of studies will be consistent with the guidelines suggested by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Graduates are expected to be competent translators of practices and research.

The educational specialist degree can be earned in counseling, educational administration, language and literacy, or curriculum and instruction.

Requirements for Admission

Students are eligible for consideration for admission to the Ed.S. degree program in the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences when they have met at least one of the following requirements:

  • Students must be eligible for regular admission to the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences at the graduate level (undergraduate GPA must be at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale); if applicants have earned graduate credit, their graduate GPA must be at least 3.0.
  • The completion of a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education and a cumulative graduate GPA of at least 3.0.

Applicants who have met one of the above requirements for admission to the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences at the Ed.S. level must also meet the divisional admission requirements for the specific degree program (educational administration, counseling, curriculum and instruction, or language and literacy). Consult the section of the catalog outlining the requirements of the divisions.

All educational specialist degree-seeking students are governed both by School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences requirements and those of the School of Graduate Studies.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 60 hours of approved graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree is required for the educational specialist degree, with at least 60 percent of the courses numbered 5500 and above. Any courses on the 300 and 400 level included in the Ed.S. program of study must be accepted by the advisor and taken for graduate credit.

As soon as possible after regular admission to graduate study, the student should meet with a faculty advisor to develop a program of study. This program must be filed with the Education Student Services Office prior to the completion of 50% of applicable degree coursework for further approval by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and filing with the Registrar. A majority of new coursework applied to any graduate degree to be completed at UMKC must be taken at UMKC. Transfer credit not included in a master's degree must not be more than 7 years old at the time of degree completion or graduation. Program revisions may be requested later but also must be approved by the student's advisor, the dean's representative, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Transfer credit may be allowed for correspondence courses, provided the credits meet the criteria for graduate coursework. Completed courses offered by continuing education programs will be accepted into graduate degree programs in accordance with the guidelines appearing in the Requirements for the Master of Arts.

UMKC credit more than seven years old at the time of degree completion that has not been included on a master's degree is not applicable to an Ed.S. degree unless validated to the satisfaction of the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences and the School of Graduate Studies. A maximum of 30 percent of coursework on the student's program of study may be validated under this procedure. All validation must be completed by the end of the final semester of enrollment.

The coursework is divided into the following study areas:

Specialization (21-42 hours)

The specialization is defined as a body of coursework associated with the area of concentration or major. Such courses might deal with the theory, research and methodology of the field.

Supporting Area(s) (9-15 hours each)

In addition to specific courses in a field of study, there are those courses which expand the competence of the specialist. These supporting areas might include study in one or two related areas, or study might be an intensive development of specific skills within the field.

Culminating Experience (3-12 hours)

All students should be able to demonstrate an ability to perform satisfactorily in situations approximating the intended role or specialization. While such experience may be included in regular coursework, at least 3 hours of supervised practicum, internship or field experience should be accomplished where the practice is the focus of the course.

Humanistic and Behavioral Studies (6-12 hours)

The success of a specialist may also depend on a broader understanding and interpretation of the concepts related to the problems and practices of the field, as revealed by study in humanistic and behavioral sciences. Courses or seminars in educational history, philosophy, psychology or sociology, or other appropriate courses, might be included in this area.

Residency

Enrollment as a full-time graduate student during one semester (5 credit hours during summer sessions, 9 credit hours during fall and spring semesters) is required for the educational specialist degree.

Final Examination

Students are required to pass a final examination in the major field or an oral examination upon the completion of the practicum or internship for the educational specialist degree.

Requirements for Retention

Students should assume responsibility for the following steps:

  1. Complete all admission requirements.
  2. With the faculty advisor, establish a program of study and have it approved by the dean's representative and the School of Graduate Studies.
  3. Complete all courses listed on the program of study.
  4. Maintain an acceptable GPA (Grades below B- in 300- or 400-level courses taken for graduate credit will not be accepted on the program of study. No grade lower than a C in any 5500-level course is acceptable. A minimum of 80 percent of the program must be completed with grades of B (3.0) or above. Additionally, students must maintain a 3.0 (B) average in all graduate coursework, regardless of whether the courses are on the actual program of study.
  5. Apply for the degree (graduation) by the posted deadline during their final term of enrollment. Students are required to be enrolled in at least one credit hour during the term the degree requirements are to be completed.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Candidates critically analyze major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language, the ways in which they interrelate, and the role of the reading/literacy specialist in schools.
  • Candidates use foundational knowledge to design and evaluate literacy curricula to meet needs of learners, especially those who experience difficulty with literacy; design, implement, and evaluate small-group and individual evidence-based literacy instruction for learners; and collaborate with teachers to revise, adapt, and/or implement effective literacy practices.
  • Candidates evaluate, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools and policies to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate interventions; assist teachers in their understanding and use of assessment results; and advocate for appropriate literacy practices and policies to relevant stakeholders.
  • Candidates critically analyze research, relevant theories, pedagogies, and essential concepts of diversity and equity; the ways in which these interrelate with themselves and others as cultural beings; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming; advocate for equity at school, district, community levels, and throughout the profession.
  • Candidates design and use a variety of print and digital materials to meet the developmental needs of all learners; engage and motivate all learners; evaluate and integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; and collaborate with school personnel to foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.
  • Candidates collaborate with peers and colleagues to critically interpret and use evidence to design and facilitate literacy interventions in school- or community-based settings; systematically evaluate, revise, and improve their practice; develop their leadership and facilitation skills; and advocate on behalf of teachers, students, families, and communities.

Mission

The Language and Literacy Educational Specialist Program prepares exemplary literacy educators to meaningfully contribute to schools and communities as teachers, leaders, advocates, and practitioner-researchers. Students in this program study literacy from critical sociopolitical, cultural, psychological, historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives, and apply their knowledge in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms, districts, and communities. Students develop and evaluate effective, evidence-based instructional strategies, practices, programs, and policies that support literacy learning and achievement at PreK-12, college, or adult levels. The program curriculum emphasizes collaborative inquiry and innovation, equity, advocacy, and professional leadership and learning.  

Educational Goals

Goal 1: Candidates will synthesize foundational knowledge related to language and literacy development, including appropriate cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and critical sociocultural theories, relevant research, and essential concepts of diversity and equity.  

Goal 2: Candidates will design, implement, and evaluate literacy curriculum and instruction that meets the needs of diverse learners through effective, evidence-based practices, assessments, and environments.

Goal 3: Candidates will collaborate with and provide support to various stakeholders, including professional colleagues and families, to positively impact literacy learning and achievement in PreK-12, college, or adult educational contexts.

Goal 4: Candidates will advocate for ethical, equitable, and inclusive literacy practices, assessments, and learning environments that recognize and value diversity in schools and society.

Goal 5: Candidates will engage in practitioner-research, professional mentoring and leadership, and systematic and ongoing reflection on their practice.

Student Learning Outcomes

Adapted from Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017. Specialized Literacy Professionals Matrix by Roles © 2018 by the International Literacy Association.

SLO 1: FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE

Candidates critically analyze major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language, the ways in which they interrelate, and the role of the reading/literacy specialist in schools.

SLO 2: CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Candidates use foundational knowledge to design and evaluate literacy curricula to meet needs of learners, especially those who experience difficulty with literacy; design, implement, and evaluate small-group and individual evidence-based literacy instruction for learners; and collaborate with teachers to revise, adapt, and/or implement effective literacy practices.

SLO 3: ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

Candidates evaluate, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools and policies to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate interventions; assist teachers in their understanding and use of assessment results; and advocate for appropriate literacy practices and policies to relevant stakeholders.

SLO 4: DIVERSITY AND EQUITY

Candidates critically analyze research, relevant theories, pedagogies, and essential concepts of diversity and equity; the ways in which these interrelate with themselves and others as cultural beings; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming; advocate for equity at school, district, community levels, and throughout the profession.

SLO 5: LEARNERS AND THE LITERACY ENVIRONMENT

Candidates design and use a variety of print and digital materials to meet the developmental needs of all learners; engage and motivate all learners; evaluate and integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; and collaborate with school personnel to foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.

SLO 6: PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP

Candidates collaborate with peers and colleagues to critically interpret and use evidence to design and facilitate literacy interventions in school- or community-based settings; systematically evaluate, revise, and improve their practice; develop their leadership and facilitation skills; and advocate on behalf of teachers, students, families, and communities.

Curriculum

A minimum of 60 post-B.A. hours are required including a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the master's degree.

Reading Concentration and Practicum (21-42 credit hours)
EDRD 5439Language and Literacy Across the Disciplines3
EDRD 5501Teaching Of Reading3
EDRD 5502Early Literacy and Language Development3
EDRD 5510Adolescent Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Intervention3
EDRD 5520Elementary Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Intervention3
EDRD 5511Advanced Literacy Assessment and Evaluation3
EDRD 5515Seminar In Reading3
EDRD 5530Reading Instruction for K-12 English Language Learners3
EDRD 5541Teaching Reading Improvement: Secondary, College, and Adult Levels3
EDRD 5601Organizing And Guiding The Reading Program3
EDRD 5650Dyslexia and Related Learning Differences3
EDUC-C&I 5523Advanced Literature For Children3
EDUC-C&I 5640Curriculum and Teaching for the College Classroom3
EDUC-C&I 5690Special Problems1-6
Supporting Education Courses (6-12 credit hours)
EDUC-SP 5515Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers: Understanding and Applying Theories of Behavior3
EDUC-SP 5516Collaborating with Families and Other Professionals3
TCH-ED 5404Education of the Exceptional Child and Youth3
Humanistic and Behavioral Studies (6-9 credit hours)
EDUC-R&P 5510Child Behavior And Development3
EDUC-R&P 5512Adolescent Development and the School3
EDUC-UL 5525Cultural Foundations Of Education3
EDUC-UL 5526Philosophical Foundations Of Education3
EDUC-UL 5527Historical Foundations Of Education3
EDUC-UL 5528Sociological Foundations Of Education3

Requirements for Graduation

Candidates must pass an oral comprehensive exam that represents a summation of their own original research.