B.A. in Special Education, K-12 Academic Behavioral Strategist

Bethel’s B.A. in Special Education will help you become a skilled professional in a high-demand profession. You’ll learn to customize learning experiences with evidence-based practices in order to meet individual needs and serve students with compassion in a variety of roles. This program will build your knowledge base and refine your skills to assess, plan and educate students with mild to moderate disabilities. You will also learn skills to become a collaborative professional in the field of special education.  

Students graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Special Education will be able to:

  • Develop habits of self-directed, lifelong learning in order to navigate the evolving field of special education.  

  • Utilize critical thinking and data-based decision making in the implementation of appropriate special education programming.

  • Apply ethical principles to the profession of special education.

  • Demonstrate effective collaboration skills to use with K-12 public schools, families, and outside agencies.

  • Respond appropriately to cultural and faith differences at school and in the family.

  • Integrate a Christian perspective and personal values with the professional practice of special education.

  • Demonstrate a synthesis of license-specific standards and general best practices.

Fieldwork and Licensing Requirements

The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) requires all approved ABS programs to include coursework meeting state standards in three categories: standards of effective practice, special education core skills, and ABS content standards. These required standards are addressed in the program coursework. Additionally, PELSB requires teacher candidates to complete a minimum of 100 field placement hours prior to 12 weeks of student teaching. Bethel's B.A. in Special Education program integrates four unique field experiences throughout the program and the final semester includes 12 weeks of student teaching.  Teacher candidates will complete an education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) during student teaching.  At some point during the program, teacher candidates will complete a Basis Skills test, and two Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams in Pedagogy and Special Education Core Skills. A passing score on these exams will allow teacher candidates to obtain the highest license. 

Progression and Graduation

To progress in the program and graduate, the student must meet Bethel University requirements for academic progress. In addition to graduation requirements common to all undergraduate programs at Bethel, students in special education must:

  • Earn a grade of C or better in each program course and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher. This indicates satisfactory achievement of objectives and completion of course requirements.
  • Demonstrate professional traits of educators.
  • Uphold ethical practices in special education. 

EDUC 321 • Foundations in Education 3 Credits.

Introduction to the teaching profession and focus on influences shaping education. History, philosophy, psychology, sociology, legal matters, reform, and other current education issues. Student mental health and impact of chemicals in student lives, families, and schools. Personal growth planning, collaboration, and connection between professional responsibilities and personal faith and values.

EDUC 324 • Educational Psychology 4 Credits.

Identification of different approaches to K-12 students’ development, learning, performance, and critical elements needed to structure an effective learning environment. Synthesis of early assessment theory and current issues. Description of theories that influence learning and behavior related to the learning environment. Integration of Christian or personal faith perspective of learning.

EDUC 326 • General Methods of Instruction 3 Credits.

Development of effective lesson plans that include all required components. Creation of effective long-range plans, assessments, and evaluations. Integration of a variety of instructional strategies within lesson plans to meet student needs. Identification of appropriate data practices related to student assessment and progress.
Corequisites: EDUC 395.

EDUC 363 • Educational Equity 3 Credits.

Identification of various groups in American communities and how to foster communication. Analysis of Minnesota-based American Indian tribes. Description of biases, discrimination, prejudices, racism, and sexism in the classroom and the influence personal identity has on student learning. Evaluation of the effects that various diversity factors have in the classroom.

EDUC 368 • Classroom Technology 2 Credits.

Description of foundations of technology integration practices. Development of a personal technology integration philosophy. Creation of instructional materials to develop understanding of digital citizenship. Evaluation of technology integration resources. Identification of appropriate technology tools for meeting objectives. Application of best practices in technology integration. Analysis of tools for collecting data.

EDUC 395 • School-wide Systems Field Experience 1 Credit.

Supervised observation in K-12 inclusive education setting. Analysis of student needs, classroom environments, and related cultural factors. Development of a personal standard for effective teaching. Implementation of effective lesson plans. Identification of MN edTPA language. Impact of personal faith on the special education teacher role. 30 hours over 10 weeks.
Corequisites: EDUC 326.

EDUC 451 • Special Education Teaching Seminar 3 Credits.

Development of strategies for personal and professional efficacy and engaging resources. Analysis of the impact teachers’ personal and professional practices, second language, and communication have on student learning. Alignment of an instructional plan with the needs of a learner. Application of academic language.
Corequisites: SPED 480H.

SPED 400 • Characteristics of Mild-Moderate Disabilities 3 Credits.

Exploration of the five disability categories represented under Academic Behavioral Strategist (ABS). Identification of strategies that support stakeholders of children with mild-moderate needs. Explanation of topics that form the basis for special education practice for students with mild-moderate disabilities. Identification of the impact culture and linguistics has on special education.

SPED 405 • Introduction to Special Education 2 Credits.

Identification of the impact historical and philosophical foundations, legal bases, and contemporary issues have on special education. Identification of common disability category characteristics. Description of the impact culture, faith, and linguistics have on special education. Description of how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) impacts special education.

SPED 408 • Introduction to Academic Instruction and Behavior Management for Exceptional Learners 3 Credits.

Introduction to how special education and general education academic systems work together. Identification of functional behavioral assessments processes and principles of individual and school-wide systems of supports. Demonstration of how evidence-based instruction can be adapted. Identification of how required curricular components direct instruction. Analysis of positive instructional environments.

SPED 410 • Norm Reference Assessment 4 Credits.

Description of standards and critical elements in the special education assessment process. Identification of test development principles and evaluation of standardized assessment instruments for special education decision-making. Description of responsibilities of assessment team members. Synthesis of assessment data. Application of scriptural principles to assessment in special education.
Corequisites: SPED 470.

SPED 418 • Foundations of Instructional Strategies for Students with Mild-Moderate Disabilities 4 Credits.

Development of an instructional sequence for students in special education. Evaluation of data for making accommodations and modifications. Identification of differentiation strategies. Application of evidence-based practices. Identification of the relationship between teaching and learning theories and academic standards. Exploration of the relationship between faith concepts and instruction in special education.

SPED 420 • Reading Foundations 3 Credits.

Identification of relationships among reading, writing, and oral language, comprehension processes, and instructional strategies. Description of the structure of the English language and word identification strategies, and the role of vocabulary knowledge in language. Analysis of different texts for K-12 classrooms. Assessment strategies for reading and writing needs.
Corequisites: SPED 421.

SPED 421 • Reading Field Experience 1 Credit.

Supervised reading instruction in a K-12 setting. Assessment and analysis of reading ability. Creation of lessons and application of reading instruction skills/strategies. Designing of an environment that fosters reading. Identification of how personal faith connects with the professional responsibilities of a teacher. 30 hours over 10 weeks.
Corequisites: SPED 420.

SPED 425 • Programming and Planning 3 Credits.

Development and evaluation of both an individual education program based on student assessment results. Consideration of technology, supplementary aids, services, and transition needs of students. Synthesis of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity. Demonstration of best practice and collaboration techniques between school, family, and outside agencies.

SPED 431 • Responsive Instruction, Intervention and Assessment 3 Credits.

Identification of appropriate assessment measures and professional resources related to interventions. Interpretation of assessment and progress monitoring data to make informed instructional and placement decisions. Creation of instruction and modifications incorporating research-based interventions and based on data collected through collaboration with stakeholders. Description of student assessment results.

SPED 441 • Introduction to Behavioral Methods & Mental Health for Mild-Moderate Needs 3 Credits.

Introduction to behavior methods and mental health for students with mild/moderate SPED needs. Interventions for K-12 students with mental health and behavioral needs. Impact of mental health and behavioral diagnoses within K-12 education. Identification of roles of professionals within and outside the school related to mental health.

SPED 455 • Classroom-based Assessment 3 Credits.

Description of legal, professional, and ethical standards in assessment related to informal assessment measures and environmental factors influencing student achievement and behavior. Description of student’s learning style, strengths, and analysis of behavior based on observations and assessment data. Identification of the influence diversity, age and gender have on assessment.
Prerequisites: SPED 410. Corequisites: SPED 470.

SPED 470 • Assessment Field Experience 1 Credit.

Identification of students' strengths and needs through assessment. Identification of the purpose of multidisciplinary teams. Development of an evaluation report. Explanation of assessment results with family, student and staff. Creation of interventions. Development of a plan for continued professional development in the area of assessment. 30 hours/10 weeks.
Corequisites: SPED 410, SPED 455.

SPED 473 • ABS Field Experience 1 Credit.

Identification of students with mild to moderate disabilities through the special education referral, evaluation, and eligibility process. Clarification of IEP team meeting and development components, as well as roles and responsibilities of IEP team members. Identification of effective academic and behavioral interventions, accommodations, and modifications. Integration of faith and teaching.

SPED 475 • Consultation, Collaboration, and Resources 3 Credits.

Focus on the communication skills necessary to consult and collaborate effectively with parents, administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and agency personnel about the special needs of students. Identification of resources, outside agencies, as well as transition needs and services. Clarification of personal beliefs and adjusting to diverse student needs within special education.

SPED 480H • Student Teaching - Academic Behavioral Strategist 4 Credits.

Management of timelines and ethical responsibilities of a special educator. Implementation of appropriate interventions and procedures necessary to process moral dilemmas related to special education due process. Consultation with parents and professionals to provide special education services. Analysis of personal development. Integration of duty, virtue, responsibility, and Christian values.
Corequisites: EDUC 451. ABS student teaching fee: $75, out-of-region fee: $100, out-of-state fee: varies.