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Standard #2 InTASC

InTASC/ESPB Standards

Syllabi with links on the right side of page

Assessment (from among those listed under item 4: Evidence of Meeting the Standard)

Standard #2: Learning Differences

The teacher candidate uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that allow each learner to meet high standards.

EDUC 240 -Educating Exceptional Students

EDUC 250 - Intro to Education

EDUC 283- Understanding Cultural Diversity

EDUC 352 - Diversity Practicum

EDUC 490 and 480 - Student Teaching

InTASC 2 - Student Teaching Data

InTASC 2 - Exit Survey

InTASC 2 - 1st Year Teacher Survey

InTASC 2 - Praxis II - PLT

InTASC 2 - Employer Survey

EDUC 352 - Diversity Practicum - Pre- and Post Test

EDUC 240 - RTI

EDUC 283 - Family Chart

TLC Template

Strategies for Teacher Education Handbook


Standard # 2 Narrative

Standard #2 Learning Differences: The teacher candidate uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that allow each learner to meet high standards.

The professional education sequence at VCSU is designed to give teacher candidates the understanding and practical experience to plan for and incorporate instruction that accommodates for learning differences.  Teacher candidates are given many opportunities to adapt instruction to meet the needs of all students in the classroom.  The courses help candidates understand that students learn in different ways and instruction should be structured to create an inclusive learning environment.  In addition, teacher candidates must be able to demonstrate that they have an understanding of and value diversity. Furthermore, they understand the importance of knowing each student individually strive to help them succeed based on the strengths and needs of each student.

Courses that are designed to meet Standard 2 - Learning Differences include: EDUC 283 - Understanding Cultural Diversity, EDUC 352 - Diversity Practicum, EDUC 240 - Educating Exceptional Students and EDUC 480/490 - Student Teaching.  Teacher candidates develop, modify, and teach lessons that differentiate instruction to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students.  Lesson plans incorporate engagement strategies and differentiated ways for students to demonstrate their learning.

In EDUC 283, teacher candidates learn a variety of instructional strategies that activate and access prior knowledge to allow students to build and grow on what they already know and to lay a foundation for those with less prior knowledge on the topic. Teacher candidates are also expected to demonstrate understanding of family and family issues and their relationship to student learning by conducting an interview to examine the influences of family on learning and cultural patterns.  Candidates use the information gathered from the interview to create a chart that demonstrates how family influences the learning of another person from a different background compares and contrasts to that of their own. (EDUC 283 - Family Chart linked on right)

In EDUC 283, teacher candidates are also introduced to the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) website and are required to familiarize themselves with tool and rubrics on the WIDA site, as well as understand the stages of language development and acquisition.  They are encouraged incorporate this knowledge into planning and instruction. (

In EDUC 240, students participate in a mock RTI Intervention in small groups. Teacher candidates who successfully complete EDUC 240 also develop documents and products to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Describe the RTI model and how it is used to support students with exceptionalities.
  • Describe the general education teacher's role in working with students with exceptionalities.
  • Investigate issues and trends for current and future consideration in special education. 
  • Describe the referral processes and communications needed to identify students who may be placed into special education programs.
  • Identify characteristics of selected exceptionalities
  • Compare informal (curriculum-based) and formal (standardized) assessment measures used for placement and IEP decisions
  • Participate in a mock IEP; describe and simulate responsibilities of IEP team members.
  • Describe guidelines from federal and state laws for special education
  • Describe instructional adaptations effective strategies for teaching special students
  • Investigate, utilize, and apply strategies used for differentiation in the general education classroom.
  • Research and report on assistive technologies that might be useful for students with different types of special needs. (EDUC 240 - RTI Intervention Simulation linked on the right)

In EDUC 352, Diversity Practicum, candidates learn and experience first hand the importance of respecting families' beliefs, norms and expectations. The data from the pre and post survey indicate considerable growth in the candidates' perceptions of how to adapt instructional materials to match students' needs, how to manage their classroom to promote equity and tolerance, and their ability to exhibit an attitude of fairness and respect toward all learners.  The data indicate that teacher candidates tend to feel least knowledgeable and comfortable in the areas of how classroom demographics will impact lessons they teach and understanding how they will adapt their instructional materials to match the needs of their students.  The confidence level of the candidates appears to increase substantially after the 25-hour cultural diversity practicum.  The mean score totals and percentage of "5" ratings are much higher in each of the four selected areas. (pre and post survey results are linked on the right)

During EDUC 480/490 - Student Teaching, candidates develop a Teaching for Learning Capstone (TLC) unit.  Candidates plan, implement and evaluate a unit designed to meet the needs of learners. Teacher candidates also share materials and ideas with mentor teachers, plan lessons together and maintain respectful relationships with other teachers. Teacher candidates work with parents and experience the impact of student learning on the family. (TLC template is linked on the right)

Cooperating teacher ratings of VCSU student teachers are favorable with respect to understanding individual differences and diverse communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that allow each learner to meet high standards.  The mean scores of student teachers were above 3.50 in every area of InTASC standard 2. The high percentages of "4-distinguished" and "3-proficient" rating scores indicate positive outcomes from K-12 cooperating teachers. None of the 375 candidates were considered "1-undeveloped". (Student Teaching data is linked on the right)The ratings for each subsection of standard 2 are positive, but the 94.4% proficiency rating in "Adapts instruction for individual needs" is one area the VCSU Unit is doing more to address through preparation for the Teaching for Learning Capstone (TLC).

The Exit Survey data related to Standard 2 revealed that over 90 percent of the student teachers indicated being very satisfied or satisfied with their preparation as they designed instruction for their students.  This data, combined with the student teaching data provides evidence to support the fact that the unit addresses InTASC Standard 2 and prepares its teacher candidates to anticipate and effectively teach students with learning differences.  Through VCSU's collaborative efforts with 13 other institutions, the Unit has expanded its Exit Survey to include items from other school's special education programs.  The data became a part of a VCSU decision to develop a Special Education Endorsement as well as consider exploring the addition of one credit to the current EDUC 240 - Educating Exceptional Student course required for all education majors. (Exit Survey data linked on the right)

InTASC 2 Student Teacher Data

InTASC 2 Exit Survey Data

InTASC 2 1st Year Teachers

InTASC 2 Employer (Supervisor) Survey

EDUC 352 pre-trip verses post-trip

Evidence 12 EDUC 283 Family Chart

EDUC 240 - Syllabus

EDUC 250 Syllabus

EDUC 283 Syllabus

EDUC 352 Syllabus

EDUC 480/490 - Syllabus

EDUC 240 - RTI Intervention

Checklist: Teaching for Learning Capstone (TLC)

Rubrics for Assessing Senior Portfolio TLC

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