CEC Initial and Advanced Preparation Standards

Special Education Professional Preparation Standards

In December 2012 the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approved the initial and advanced CEC Preparation Standards for special educators. The revised preparation standards will support CEC’s continued leadership in performance-based recognition of special education preparation programs. The CEC Preparation Standards have adopted a structure of seven standards with twenty-eight major elements that bring its structure into alignment with all the professional association partners in NCATE.

In accord with NCATE policy, the approval of the CEC Preparation Standards in December 2012 begins a 2 year transition during which preparation program faculty may choose to use the "old" CEC Content Standards or the "new" CEC Preparation Standards. Beginning in the spring of 2015 all preparation program reports must align to the "new" CEC Preparation Standards.

For guidance in selecting the appropriate standards, please see the Standards for Initial and Advanced Special Educator Preparation Flowchart.

Initial Preparation Standards
Initial Preparation Standards with Elaborations (NCATE approved 2012)

Advanced Preparation Standards
Advanced Preparation Standards with Elaborations (NCATE approved 2012)

Initial and Advanced Specialty Sets

 While the seven initial and advanced CEC Preparation Standards with the major elements describe the specialized knowledge and skill to practice safely and effectively at initial and advanced levels, CEC uses the specialized content, issues, vocabulary, interventions, settings, etc. of specialty sets to inform the CEC Preparation Standards. All special education preparation programs will use either the initial or advanced CEC Preparation Standards as informed by the appropriate specialty set.

Gifted Education Professional Preparation Standards

For over a decade the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and the CEC Association for the Gifted (TAG) have worked collaboratively to develop standards for the preparation of gifted education professionals at the initial and advanced levels. In 2012, NAGC and CEC revised and re-ordered the Gifted Standards to align with new Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Guidelines for Standards.

The standards writing group decided to maintain the 7 standard and 28 element format and did not revise the previous Specialty Set of knowledge and skill items for gifted educators. However, throughout the entire process, NAGC and CEC were careful to ensure that the realigned standards contained all of the substantive knowledge and skills that are relevant to effective practice in gifted education and continued to emphasize diversity. (Johnsen, et al, in press). The following preparation standards were approved by CAEP in 2013 and are intended to be used for national recognition of all initial and advanced gifted education programs seeking national recognition through the CAEP and NAGC program review process. There is not an additional Specialty Set for gifted and talented educator preparation.

Initial Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals
Initial Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals with Elaborations

Advanced Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals
Advanced Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals with Elaborations

Field Experience and Clinical Practice Standard

All initial preparation programs must demonstrate that they meet the Field Experiences and Clinical Practice Standard. To meet this standard, field and clinical experiences for special education teacher candidates progress through a series of developmentally sequenced field experiences for the full range of ages, types and levels of abilities, and collaborative opportunities that are appropriate to the license or roles for which they are preparing—and students are supervised by qualified professionals throughout these experiences.