Graduate Studies

Elementary Education - 2010-2011

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Profile

Department Chairperson:  Cindy J. Dooley
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Angela M. Ferree
Department Office: Horrabin Hall  69
Department Telephone: (309) 298-1961 Fax: (309) 298-2800
Department E-mail:
Location of Program Offering: Macomb, Quad Cities

Graduate Faculty

  • Kathy Barclay, Ed.D., Northwestern State University
  • Cecelia Benelli, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
  • Marie Cheak, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Cindy J. Dooley, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Angela M. Ferree, Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin
  • Pamela Terry Godt, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • LaVerne K. Logan, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Donald T. Powers, Ph.D., Kansas State University
  • Sara D. Simonson, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Frances A. Steward, Ph.D., Louisiana State University
  • Barry L. Witten, Ph.D., Kansas State University
  • Jean M. Wolf, Ph.D., University of Illinois

Associate Professors

  • Laurel Borgia, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign
  • Frederick C. Isele, Ed.D., Northern Illinois University

Associate Graduate Faculty
Assistant Professors

  • Elizabeth Hommel, M.S.Ed., Western Illinois University
  • Deborah Horack, M.Ed., Southeastern University
  • Debbie Lee, Ed.D., University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign
  • Abha Singh, Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • Melissa Stinnett, Ph.D., University of Illinois


  • Phillip R. Murphy, Ed. Spec., Western Illinois University

  Program Description

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers coursework leading to a Master of Science in Education with a major in elementary education. The degree program enables candidates to develop an area of specialization in language and literature, science, mathematics, social studies, early childhood education, or multidisciplinary studies (a combination of courses from three other specializations).

  Admission Requirements 

1. Admission to the School of Graduate Studies.
2. Cumulative GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last two years.
3. Graduate Record Examination not required.
4. Acceptance by the Departmental Graduate Committee.
5. All persons applying for entry into the master’s degree program must hold a U.S. teaching certificate.

  Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Education degree in Elementary Education requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework.  In addition to a capstone course, candidates will complete nine semester hours in core requirements, 12 semester hours in an area of specialization, and 6-7 semester hours of elective coursework. 

I. Core Requirements: 9 s.h.

A. EIS 500 Methods of Research (3)
B.Two of the following, with approval of the adviser:

C&I 574 Assessment and Differentiation of Instruction (3)
ELED 566 Recent Trends and Research in Elementary Education (3)

or the following two courses for those specializing in early childhood education:

ECH 474G Early Childhood Assessment (3)
ECH 539 Curriculum in Early Childhood Education (3)

II. Area of Specialization: 12 s.h.

The areas of specialization are language and literature, social studies, science, early childhood   education, mathematics, and multidisciplinary studies. Courses for the specialization and electives will be chosen with the approval of an adviser. ECH 565, Seminar in Early Childhood Education is a required course for the early childhood area of specialization.

III. Electives: 6 - 7 s.h.

IV. Select one of the following exit options: 3 s.h.

C&I 600 Graduate Seminar (3)
ECH 603 Research in Early Childhood Education I (3)
MATH 607 Practicum in Mathematics Education (3)
SCED 602 Practicum in Science Education (3)
C&I 605 Leadership in Elementary Education (3)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 30 - 31 s.h.

  Course Descriptions 

Curriculum and Instruction

403G Middle Level Education. (4) Philosophical development of the middle school will be analyzed as well as the advisory role of the middle school teacher for health and social services. Developmentally appropriate curriculum and instructional methods including content area reading instruction and techniques for blending subject matter content relevant to the early adolescent are provided.  Prerequisite: Fully accepted into Teacher Education Program.

476G Parent/Community Involvement. (3) Techniques for working with and involving families/communities, including conferencing skills, newsletters, home visits, parent education, volunteers, meetings, and other ways to develop open communication and parental and community support.  A minimum grade of C is required of teacher education students.  Restricted: departmental permission. Prerequisite: Fully accepted into Teacher Education Program.

533 Special Problems in Elementary, Middle, and Junior High Education. (1–4, repeatable) Designed to provide a group of students an opportunity for further professional growth and to apply problem‑solving approaches in dealing with a specific educational problem in an actual school setting. Graded S/U.

574 Assessment and Differentiation of Instruction. (3) This course focuses on the characteristics and needs of diverse populations in heterogeneous classrooms and techniques for differentiating instruction that enable all children to learn. The use of assessment to inform instructional decisions is emphasized.

591 Field Study Projects. (1–3) Extensive readings, observations, and interpretations of education systems in the United States and selected foreign countries.  Prerequisites: Permission of the student = s adviser and the Departmental Graduate Committee.

599 Independent Study. (1–4, repeatable to 4) An investigation of problems related to the student's major area. A substantial written report, as well as an informal oral report, will be required. Students will meet regularly with an instructor during the course on a period arranged basis. Enrollment by permission only.

600 Graduate Seminar. (3) Primarily a research‑writing course. Each student will be expected to identify an appropriate research topic, investigate and present the issue in an in-depth paper. Prerequisites: 24 semester hours in graduate work to include EIS 500, ELED 560 and ELED 566; and permission of the Graduate Coordinator.

605 Leadership in Elementary Education. (3) This capstone course focuses on the issue of the master’s degree student as an instructional leader in his or her school, going beyond the roll of classroom teacher.  Key issues concern the philosophy related to specific areas of specialization, action research, and engaging in leadership activities.  Prerequisites: 24 hours in graduate course work to include EIS 500, ELED 560 and ELED 566; and permission of Graduate Coordinator. 

Early Childhood Education

474G Early Childhood Assessment. (3) Intensive investigation of informal and formal assessment strategies including basic principles of measurement and evaluation, to plan educational experiences, communicate with parents, identify children in need of specialized services, and evaluate programs for young children from birth through eight years of age. The administration of some assessment instruments is required. 

524 Instructional Methods and Intervention Techniques in Early Childhood. (3) Emphasis on curriculum adaptations and instructional and assessment methods to promote independence and meet the developmental and educational goals of young children, especially pre-primary age, with special needs.  Focus on history and evolution of early childhood special education, early intervention, service and program coordination, and inclusive education.

539 Curriculum in Early Childhood Education. (3) Application of the principles of the administration and organization of curriculum development to programs for young children, with emphasis on integration of curriculum to maximize the effectiveness of experiences. The student will develop curriculum plans in selected content areas.

549 Practicum in Early Childhood Education. (1-4) Students will work with young children in selected early childhood settings under supervision of a "master teacher," with emphasis on bridging the gap between theory and practice. Actual experiences will be provided along with philosophical and/or psychological foundations for the basic practices within the various early childhood education programs and activities. Credit will be arranged according to the experiential background of the student. Prerequisite: Permission of the adviser.

564 Language and Thought of the Child. (3) A detailed study of current theoretical issues and positions related to the young child's development and use of language and thought. Emphasis on current issues in language acquisition as well as systematic analysis of potential application of various practices for inclusion in early childhood programs.

565 Seminar in Early Childhood Education. (3) Advanced study of the historical, philosophical, and theoretical influences on the field of early childhood education, as well as exploration of current research, issues, and trends. Students will write an in-depth research paper as means of extending and developing knowledge and understanding of course content.

571 Theory and Function of Play. (3) Students will engage in a detailed study of theoretical and practical positions regarding development of young children, birth through age eight.  The emphasis will be on play as a process for learning and for teaching.  Observations of children and application of course content to teaching practices are required.

573 Infancy and Childhood Education. (3) An in-depth study of the developmental and theoretical basis of infancy and early childhood education for young children from birth through eight years of age.  Typical and atypical development and the contributions of prenatal and home care, ethnicity, race, and other aspects of diversity to children’s learning and development will be explored.  Emphasizes application of child development knowledge in early childhood settings.

574 Integrated Learning in Early Childhood Education. (3) In-depth study of the theoretical basis for integrated learning and teaching, and of several approaches for integrating curricular areas: language arts, math, science, social studies, art, and music.  The value of curricular integration in meeting the needs of diverse learners will be addressed.  Students will explore methods and materials for integrating technological and multimedia materials into the early childhood curriculum.

603 Research in Early Childhood Education I. (3) In-depth documentation of knowledge gained through the graduate program leading to application to classroom teaching and the early childhood profession. Credit will be arranged with the instructor. Prerequisites: 24 semester hours in graduate work to include EIS 500, ECH 474G, and ECH 539; and permission of the adviser.

Elementary Education

560 Seminar in Elementary Curriculum. (3) An exploration of the curriculum at elementary and middle levels, including the role of the classroom teacher in curriculum development, dynamics of curriculum change and school improvement, factors that influence curriculum decisions, and alternative and innovative ways to approach problems and entertain solutions for improving teaching and learning.

566 Recent Trends and Research in Elementary Education. (3) A review and appraisal of recent trends and practices in elementary education. An examination of recent research done in elementary education and related fields. In addition, course content will directly address the importance of practicing teachers assuming leadership roles in various settings. School leadership research and developments with national and state standards will be examined. Students are expected to read widely and critically in professional books and journals.

Language Arts

567 Teaching Language Arts in the Elementary School. (3) Focuses on the major theories and current research relevant to language arts instruction in the elementary grades.  Primary emphasis is placed on the appropriate skills, methods, and materials that support children’s literacy development from kindergarten through sixth grade.

577 Writing in the Elementary Schools. (3) Designed to give exposure to a variety of methods and materials for using a process approach to writing instruction in the elementary school.

578 Language Arts for Diverse Learners. (3) A course which focuses on language, learning, and the diagnostic and corrective techniques that can be used by the elementary classroom teacher in the areas of oral and written language, spelling, handwriting, and listening. Prerequisite: LA 567 or permission of the instructor.

Literature and Language Arts

443G (cross-listed with ENG 443G)

Creative Uses of Literature for Children and Young Adults. (3) Presents the development of effective programs in informal and formalized interpretive experiences for children and young adults, emphasizing individual creativity and sources for materials. Prerequisite: LLA 313 or permission of the instructor.

513 Advanced Children's Literature. (3) Focuses on the wide range of genre to be found in children’s literature, examining its historical development, major awards for fiction and nonfiction, and current trends in the field. Prerequisite: LLA 313 or permission of the instructor.

523 Advanced Literature for Young Adults. (3) Traces the development of literature for young adults with particular emphasis on noteworthy authors, major awards, and issues and trends in the field. Prerequisite: LLA 433 or permission of the instructor.

525 Literature and the Reader. (3) This course explores literature for readers, preschool through secondary. The focus on all genres includes recognition of the major awards in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Emphasis is placed on the evaluation and selection of quality fiction and nonfiction, together with the analysis of literary elements. Pedagogical aspects of the course emphasize the use of literature across content areas, varied responses to literature, strategies for connecting children with books, and motivating the reluctant reader.

Mathematics (See Mathematics)
Science Education

489G Energy Education. (3) Course designed to provide content information on basic energy concepts.  Topics include forms and sources of energy, renewable and nonrenewable energy resources, changes in energy forms, energy conservation, historical development of energy use and current technology related to present day energy use.  Energy curricula will be examined through discussions, presentations, inquiry-based activities, and possible field trips to energy producing locations.

490G Environmental Science. (3) Provides teachers with background information related to environmental concepts and issues through inquiry activities and field work.  Topics include forest, pond, wetland, river, and prairie ecosystems.  Abiotic topics include map and compass work, geology, soil, weather, and climate.

491G Life Science. (3) Designed to strengthen teachers’ biological science background.  Emphasis is on life science concepts from contemporary middle school curricula, stressing inquiry, problem solving, and science methodology through laboratory work and research. Topics include plant biology, animal biology, ecology, human biology, cell biology, heredity, and evolution.

492G Physical Science. (3) This course is designed to provide physical science content through inquiry investigations. Course topics are: sciences as inquiry, technological design, motions and forces, properties of matter, energy and the interactions between them.  Specific content includes: chemistry, energy, force, heat, light, magnetism, matter, motion, and sound. Students will explore concepts through discussion and laboratory-based investigations from classic and contemporary science curricula.

505  Science: An Inquiry Approach. (3) This course is designed to help educators learn and better understand inquiry as an instructional approach.  Topics include what inquiry is, how to conduct inquiry, and ways to teach inquiry processes and skills to students, particularly those in upper elementary and middle level grades.  The course will involve identifying and conducting an inquiry investigation into some science topic.  Prerequisites: SCED 364 or equivalent.

507 Science in the Early Childhood Classroom.  (3) This course is designed around a constructivist approach to early childhood science education (preschool-grade 3).  The focus of this course is on children - how they experience the world, interact with each other, pose questions and problems, and construct knowledge.  Topics will include integrated and thematic curriculum representing the life, earth, physical, and environmental sciences.  Current research related to the brain and children’s thinking, and curriculum models dealing with modeling, role playing, cooperative play, and the culture of the early childhood classroom will be emphasized.  Alternative assessment models for the early childhood science classroom will also be examined.  

509 Inquiry Into Science Assessment in the Elementary Classroom. (3) This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth study of the assessment of science in the elementary classroom.  Topics include the nature of science assessment, types and purposes of assessment, assessment design, and use of assessment data.  Through an inquiry approach, students will plan, develop, and implement science assessments in their own elementary classrooms to measure student performance, enhance student learning, and improve teaching practices.

559 Teaching Earth Science in the Elementary School. (3) This course provides elementary and middle level school teachers with basic content and methodology from contemporary elementary science programs to strengthen their teaching of earth science.  Basic content topics will include astronomy, geology, hydrology, meteorology, and oceanology.  Background information and methodology will be presented by using content as a vehicle in lectures, demonstrations, experiments, and group activities which will help teachers develop skills in working with equipment and materials, and to help them better understand appropriate instructional strategies in earth science for children at different grade levels.

562 Science Curriculum in the Elementary School. (3) An analysis of the latest curriculum innovations in elementary science education, and the application of recent discoveries in learning theory to the teaching of elementary science. Emphasis will be placed on the development of a contemporary philosophy of elementary science and its contribution to the total science program.

563 Science Inquiry: Physical and Earth Science. (3) This course is designed to enhance upper elementary and middle school teachers’ knowledge of the basic concepts of physical and earth/space science and the use of inquiry and technology to teach those concepts.

564 Science Inquiry: Biological and Environmental Science. (3) This course is designed to enhance upper elementary and middle school teachers’ knowledge of the basic concepts of biological and environmental sciences and the use of inquiry and technology to teach those concepts.

602 Practicum in Science Education. (3) Direct internship experience in a science education program at the local district level under the guidance of a qualified field representative. Enrollment by permission only. Prerequisites: 24 semester hours in graduate work to include EIS 500, ELED 560 and ELED 566; and permission of Graduate Coordinator.

Social Studies Education

439G Secondary Social Studies Methods. (3) Designed to aid the prospective secondary social studies teacher to develop objectives, to select and organize content, to use various techniques, and to evaluate learning. See other 439 listings under academic areas. These are special methods courses and carry education credit. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

550 Workshop in Current Developments in Teaching Social Studies. (1-3, repeatable to 6) Explores current content, techniques, media, and information technology for teaching social studies in school settings. Students will adapt course topics for use in their own classrooms.

568 Improvement of Instruction in Social Studies. (3) This course deals with current developments in techniques, materials and technology for teaching social studies. Explores ways to engage students in social science instruction.

572 Social Studies Curriculum. (3) This course deals with the nature of social studies and its role in the school curriculum.  Emphasis is placed on current curriculum developments in social studies and the social sciences.