Undergraduate Catalog

2011 – 2012


Current Undergraduate Catalog

Office of Admissions
Emil H. Messikomer Hall
100 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-3411
Fax: 610-436-2907
ugadmiss@wcupa.edu


Revised September 2011

Academic Programs

Teaching Certification Programs

The primary mission of the teacher education programs at West Chester University is the preparation and continuing development of educational professionals. The University’s conceptual framework places value in learning and teaching in context so that all PK-12 students achieve in schools and other educational settings throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The University is committed to excellence in teacher education by preparing candidates to exhibit unit outcomes in five categories: knowledge and pedagogical specialist, assessment and instructional designer, diversity advocate and classroom community builder, school and community professional, and self-directed practitioner.

The University is committed to preparing exemplary professionals to assume roles and responsibilities as educators in a multicultural, global society; to pursue personal and professional development opportunities; to support the continuing improvement of schools; to assume leadership; and to participate in the education community.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is phasing out three current teacher certification programs (early childhood education PreK-3; elementary education K-6; and special education K-12) and has instituted four other new programs (PreK-4; 4-8; special education PreK-8; and special education 7-12).

WCU received PDE approval to offer these certifications. These new programs apply to freshmen and many transfer teacher certification students entering fall 2009.

Recent guideline changes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education will soon lead to new program requirements in secondary education 7-12 programs in English, mathematics, social studies, and the sciences (biology, chemistry, earth science, physics). Teacher education faculty from WCU are working to address the new guidelines through new or amended program requirements. The new requirements apply to certification students entering these programs in fall 2011 and will be published in a forthcoming addendum.

West Chester University offers 21 undergraduate certification programs for students who wish to prepare themselves to be certified teachers. These programs, which are described more fully in the departmental listings, include the following:

Department Program and/or Degree
Biology B.S.Ed., Biology
Chemistry B.S.Ed., Chemistry
Early And Middle Grades Education B.S.Ed., Early Grades Preparation, PK-4
B.S.Ed., Middle Grades Preparation, 4-8
English B.S.Ed., English
Geography and Planning B.A., Elective Certification – Social Studies, 7-12
Geology and Astronomy B.S.Ed., Earth-Space Science, 7-12
Certification only: General Science, 7-12
History B.A., Elective Certification – Social Studies, 7-12
Kinesiology B.S., Health and Physical Education, K-12
Languages and Cultures B.A., Elective Certification: French, German, Latin, Russian, Spanish, K-12
Mathematics B.S.Ed., Mathematics, 7-12
Music Education B.M., Music Education, K-12 (vocal, choral, general, instrumental)
Physics B.S.Ed., Physics, K-12
Political Science B.A., Elective Certification – Social Studies, 7-12
Special Education

B.S.Ed., PK-8
B.S.Ed., 7-12

FORMAL ADMISSION TO TEACHER EDUCATION

All students seeking a bachelor's degree in education or a bachelor of arts degree with elective certification must formally apply for admission to teacher education. This provision applies to those who received University admission to pursue teacher education.

Beginning September 1, 2003 the minimum standards for formal admission to a WCU teacher preparation program include the following:

  1. Major in a teacher-education program or enrolled in an elective certification program;
  2. 48 semester-hour credits of college-level study;
  3. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on all college-level work;
  4. Passing scores, as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) on the currently specified PPST's (Praxis I: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics). Please consult with the Teacher Certification Office, 302 Recitation Hall regarding up-to-date testing information or visit the PDE Web site: www.pde.state.pa.us/.
  5. Six semester-hour credits of college-level (100 level or above) mathematics, three semester-hour credits of college-level (100 level or above) English composition, and three semester-hour credits in literature taught in English; and
  6. Recommendation by the department of the student's major. (Department recommendation may be contingent upon completion of additional and/or more rigorous requirements than the minimum described above.) Secondary education majors obtain a recommendation from their content adviser as well as their professional and secondary education adviser.
  7. See department listing to determine whether community service or other requirements apply.

WCU teacher education students who achieve formal admission to teacher education must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.80 to retain formal admission status. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 must be earned to qualify for Pennsylvania public school teacher certification. Each program has designated, for its own majors, its advanced professional courses. Only those majors who have been formally admitted to teacher education are eligible to take these courses. The undergraduate program counselor, 251 Francis Harvey Green Library, processes all applications for formal admission to teacher education programs.

Students who earn formal admission to teacher education and later fall below the required cumulative GPA are permitted to repeat advanced professional education course work to improve their GPA to the required level (2.80). Such students will not, however, be permitted to register for additional advanced professional education course work in their programs until they again achieve the minimum cumulative GPA required for formal admission (2.80).

Early Field Experiences

Designated courses require early field experience to observe and work with PK-12 students in schools and other settings. Students must have current clearances for TB, criminal background, FBI, and child abuse before they can be assigned to schools to perform course assignments/other requirements. The WCU policies on clearances are located on the College of Education Web site.

STUDENT TEACHING

Student teaching is the culminating experience of the teacher education program. Students majoring in early grades preparation PK-4, middle grades preparation 4-8, languages, secondary, and special education must file applications to student teach with the Office of Field Placements and Student Teaching (251 Francis Harvey Green Library). Students majoring in music education and health and physical education (kinesiology) must file applications with their departments.

To be eligible to complete a student teaching experience, candidates (undergraduates and post-baccalaureates) must have

  • completed the prerequisite course requirements,
  • met the state-mandated grade point average (2.80) or higher,
  • satisfied the requirements for formal admission to teacher education, and
  • provided an ETS score report that they took, and in some programs passed, the Praxis II test(s) in the subject area where the candidates are enrolled to achieve certification.

See program listings and advising sheets for specifics and any other program requirements. Students should contact their departments for the requirements. A student must earn an academic grade of C or better in both student teaching assignments and graduate with the state-mandated minimum grade point average (3.0) or higher to qualify for a Pennsylvania teaching certificate.

Students are assigned a student teaching placement in schools with which the University has a formal agreement.

To graduate from a teacher education program with a baccalaureate degree, that is, to be a program completer, candidates must have

  • completed the required course work,
  • earned at least minimum grades in courses specified by their program,
  • achieved and maintained formal admission,
  • earned an overall GPA of at least 3.0,
  • achieved grades of at least C in both student teaching courses, and
  • earned passing scores on the Praxis II test(s) required in the subject area/program where they are enrolled to achieve certification.

TEACHING CERTIFICATION

Students apply for a Pennsylvania certificate through the University’s Teacher Certification Office. As soon as all certification requirements have been met, students’ applications are signed by the certifying officer at West Chester University and forwarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Applicants for the certificate must be citizens of the United States. A noncitizen must declare the intent to become a citizen of the United States and possess a permanent resident visa to qualify for a teaching certificate. For more information, contact the University’s Teacher Certification Office.

Application forms and information about certification are available from the Teacher Certification Office, College of Education Web site, and PDE.

Postbaccalaureate students who wish to obtain teaching certification should consult with the academic program of interest.

THE PRAXIS SERIES EXAMINATIONS

Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers

Students pursuing initial Pennsylvania Instructional Level I Certification must meet the passing score on the examinations at the time of application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Currently, these examinations include the following:

  • As part of the requirements for formal admission to teacher education, all students must pass the PPST (Praxis I) exams in reading, mathematics, and writing. Students are strongly encouraged to take these exams in the second semester of the first year of college study.
  • Candidates in programs leading to PK-4, 4-8, and Special Education PK-8 and 7-12, and K-12 certification must pass the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge exam (#0511). Some of these programs require passing scores for this test prior to student teaching. Students should consult with their academic department for requirements specific to their major.
  • All candidates for certification must take all required Praxis II tests prior to student teaching. An ETS score report of all Praxis II tests must be produced, during preregistration for student teaching, as evidence of completing the academic department's test requirements.
  • All candidates must pass all required Praxis I and II tests in order to graduate from their teacher education major program.

HEA - Title II Praxis Test Results for Program Completers

Regular Teacher Preparation Program for the 2008-2009 Academic Year
Aggregate results from Educational Testing Service:

Assessment Type Number Taking Assessment Number Passing Assessment Passing Rate
      Institutional Statewide
Basic Skills 631 630 100% 99%
Academic Content Areas (mathematics, English, biology, etc.) 640 638 100% 97%
Other Content Areas (career/technical education, health education, etc.) 104 104 100% 98%
Teaching Special Populations (special education, ESL, etc.) 72 72 100% 100%

 

Title II - Most Recent Academic Year Pass Rates

One hundred percent of the 631 candidates who took the Praxis Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPS) in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics passed the tests. Concerning the academic content knowledge tests, with the exception of social studies (40 examinees) with a 98% pass rate, 100% of the remaining test takers (570) achieved a 100% pass rate. Overall, the pass rate in the academic content areas averaged 100%.

One hundred percent of the 519 candidates who competed the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge test passed this exam – a requirement in early childhood education, elementary education, health and physical education, languages and cultures, music education, teaching speech for language impaired, and special education.

Questions related to these tests should be directed to the Teacher Certification Office, 302 Recitation Hall. West Chester University is a designated Praxis test center and administers these tests six times a year according to the dates established by Educational Testing Service (ETS).

INSTRUCTIONAL I CERTIFICATE

A student who completes one of the University's teacher education curricula and passes all Praxis tests required by the state qualifies for an Instructional I Certificate, which is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This certificate is valid for six years of teaching in Pennsylvania. Recommendation for the certificate is made by the dean, College of Education, who serves as the certifying officer of the University.

INSTRUCTIONAL II CERTIFICATE

This certificate requires three years of successful teaching in Pennsylvania under the Instructional I Certificate, successful completion of an Induction Plan approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the satisfactory completion of 24 semester hours of additional course work completed at a baccalaureate-granting institution, after issuance of the baccalaureate degree. This certificate is a valid license to teach in Pennsylvania.

All or part of the educational requirements for this credential may be obtained through approved, in-service programs. Effective July 1, 2000 (ACT 48) the state requires all certified teachers and administrators to engage in continuing professional development activities. WCU course work is an acceptable option for the six hours of college credit (or its equivalent) required for teachers and administrators every five years.

Certification in additional subject areas may be obtained by completing requirements for that area, or in certain areas, by completing a Praxis specialty examination (see the Pennsylvania Department of Education Web site: www.pde.state.pa.us/). Students should consult the department in which they seek certification for information and an evaluation of their credits.

Teacher Education, Student Dispositions
Dispositional Expectations

If a faculty member documents that a particular teacher education or pre-service student is having difficulty with one of the following dispositional expectations in a University class or field-based course that the faculty member is teaching/supervising, he/she will request a meeting with the student, share evidence of the concerns, hear the student's reason for behavior(s) of concern, make recommendations for improvement where appropriate, and follow up the meeting with a notice and action plan sent to the student and his/her department chair. The notice and action plan will be placed in the student's file in the department. The student also may be required to meet with a committee of faculty within the major department, at the department's discretion, to

  1. explore the nature of the concerns,
  2. hear the student's reasons for the behavior(s) of concern, and
  3. discuss corrective measures for remaining in the professional education sequence.

If the behavior of concern is not corrected satisfactorily, it may lead to the department's recommendation to deny formal admission to teacher education and/or advancement in the program. These recommendations would be forwarded to the associate dean of the College of Education for a final ruling. At this time, if the student chooses to appeal the ruling, the matter would come before the Teacher Education Student Appeals Committee, according to established protocol.

The purpose of this committee is to hear student appeals of decisions made by the associate dean, College of Education, related to formal admission to teacher education and other matters regarding students' progress in teacher education programs. Information related to this committee is on the University's Web site under academic programs, College of Education.

For dispositional expectations, go to the College of Education Web site, www.wcupa.edu/_academics/coed/studentinfo/dispositions.asp.

Fees and Other Expenses

All students pursuing teacher certification in Pennsylvania can expect to spend at least $80 on LiveText courseware, $130 on required Praxis I and $210 on Praxis II tests, $50 on criminal clearances, $15 TB testing, and $100 on the Pennsylvania certification application. If Praxis testing or clearances must be repeated for any reason during the student’s enrollment at WCU, he or she will incur additional expenses. Note: TB testing must be updated annually for all early grades preparation PK-4 majors entering early childhood centers.

LiveText

LiveText is a courseware product required of all candidates. This product contributes to their learning; to the posting of assignments for assessment; to storing their work, growth, and development over their undergraduate career; and to applying for student teaching. Candidates purchase this courseware as they would a textbook or other material for a course. They can use LiveText throughout their undergraduate studies and one year after graduation. Purchase takes place at the campus bookstore, LiveText, or other outlets