SPED 504MM: Theoretical and Empirical Bases of Education for Learners with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Syllabus - Summer 2001

Instructor: Tamarah M. Ashton, Ph.D. Office: ED2210 Office phone: (818) 677-4869 E-mail address: tamarah.ashton@csun.edu Office hours: Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Class Time: Mondays, 4:00 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. & Online Class Location: SH 287, http://www.csun.edu/~ta4130/homepage.index.html

Class Schedule & Due Dates


Chapter 1
Adapting Instruction
Note: Don't miss the assignment at the bottom of the page!

Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
APA Citation Answers
Midterm Exam
Final Exam

Class E-mail List

Course Description

This course focuses on the major theoretical positions regarding etiologies of various mild/moderate disabilities (learning disabilities, mild mental retardation, behavioral disorders/serious emotional disturbance), definition and identification of the population, and educational approaches. Research in the field is reviewed with emphasis on current trends.

Course Objectives

The overall objective of this course is that students will be able to: (a) demonstrate knowledge of research and theoretical perspectives regarding the field of mild/moderate disabilities; and (b) develop competencies in using contemporary orientations to evaluate, adapt, and/or design methodology and materials for assessment, curriculum modification, and instruction.

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Define the category of mild/moderate disabilities and its subcategories and describe inconsistencies in definitions based on theoretical orientations, policy, and research. 2. Use current research findings to describe similarities and differences in the development characteristics of non-disabled pupils and of pupils with mild/ moderate disabilities, behavioral disorders/serious emotional disturbance, or mental retardation. 3. Demonstrate knowledge of current research regarding etiologies and interventions with pupils with mild/moderate disabilities, behavioral disorders/ serious emotional disturbance, and mild mental retardation. 4. Critically analyze the major theoretical models as they apply to identification and intervention for pupils with mild/moderate disabilities. 5. Critically analyze assessment methodology and instruments for intellectual and social-emotional evaluation in terms of their theoretical orientations, technical adequacy, and the quality of data they provide for guiding instructional decisions for learners with mild/moderate disabilities. 6. Identify educational and emotional needs, motivational and learning characteristics, vocational and career development needs, and major educational approaches relative to learners with mild/moderate disabilities. 7. Describe current trends and emerging directions in programs for learners with mild/moderate disabilities and summarize related research.

Required Textbook

Mercer, C.D., & Mercer, A. R. (2001). Teaching students with learning problems (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Merrill.

Additional required readings will be distributed in class.

Course Requirements

Online Activities:

Online assignments/activities will be required for each week the class works independently. These assignments may include multiple choice questions, classroom applications, and asynchronous chats. Due dates for these assignments will be listed in the directions on the class webpage.

Special Project/Research Report: a. Two journal abstracts b. Project proposal c. Special project d. Paper e. Presentation

Information gained from the two journal abstracts will be used to develop a special project of the student's interest. Students will then prepare and present in class (with use of overhead transparencies or other technology) a paper (maximum 10 pages) which responds to one or more of the course objectives.

Examinations: Online midterm and final examinations will be given.

Attendance and Participation:

Active class participation is required. Participation includes activities done out of the classroom via the Internet.


Each assignment will be worth 100 points. These points will be weighted according to the percentages given below. Grades will be based on the following factors:

Online Activities - 25%

Special Project - 45% Abstract #1 (5%) Abstract #2 (5%) Project Proposal (1%) Paper (24%) Presentation (10%)

Examinations - 20% Midterm (10%) Final (10%)

In-class Activities/Participation - 10%

Grading criteria are:

A 93.0 to 100% C 72.0 to 77.9% A- 90.0 to 92.9% C- 70.0 to 71.9% B+ 88.0 to 89.9% D+ 68.0 to 69.9% B 82.0 to 87.9% D 62.0 to 67.9% B- 80.0 to 81.0% D- 60.0 to 61.9% C+ 78.0 to 79.9% F 59.9 and below

  • A = Outstanding. A's are reserved for those students whose performance is truly outstanding. Performance reflects an outstanding level of competency attainment--including critical analyses, information syntheses, and application of theory and research to practice. Projects and exams are comprehensive, thoughtful, well organized, and clearly written.

  • B = Very Good. Performance surpasses a basic level of competency attainment, understanding, and skill, and indicates an ability to integrate and apply information.

  • C = Satisfactory. Performance reflects a basic level of competency attainment, understanding, and skill.

  • D = Unsatisfactory. Performance meets expectations for a basic level of attainment for some competencies and understanding of some content.

  • F = Failing. Performance does not meet expectations for a basic level of competency attainment and understanding.