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Frequently Asked Questions

          
 
 

Q: What are the different Levels of Educational Leadership (EDCL) courses?
A: Courses in the program are divided into four levels (I, II, III, IV). Level I courses are designed as entry-level courses and are taken at the beginning of the program. Level I courses include 5339, 5340, 5345, 5347, and 5348. Level II courses are designed under the assumption students have mastered the skills and concepts of the Level I courses. Level II courses include 6342, 6344, 6348, and 6352. Level III courses are advanced courses and include EDCL 6358 and 6387/6388. The Level IV courses are designed for the superintendency and include 6345, 6347, 6349 and finally the two practicum courses, 6389/6390.
 
Q: Do I have to take the courses in order?
A: While taking the courses in order is ideal, students are allowed to take courses in any order with the following stipulations:
1) EDCL 5339 must be the first course taken;
2) Level I courses (5339, 5340, 5345, 5347, 5348) should be completed before Level II courses;
3) EDCL 6352 must be completed before EDCL 6358.
 
Q: May I take Level II courses before I complete the Level I exam?
A: Students should participate in the Level I assessment at the end of their first 12-15 hrs. Students may take one Level II course before completing the Level I exam
 
Q: Is there a recommended course load per semester?
A: A normal course load is six hours per semester. This allows for adequate time and attention in preparation for class activities and assignments. In addition to academic success, an important part of the program is student demonstration of self-discipline in maintaining a healthy life balance. Experience shows that taking a normal course load (3 or 6 hours in one semester) increases the likelihood of this demonstration. Any deviation from the recommended course load must be approved in advance by the Educational Leadership program faculty. Additional information may be found at http://www.eaps.us/edadmin/princcert/
 

Q: What is the difference in earning a second master’s degree and taking the coursework as a certification only student?
A: In the state of Texas, it is not necessary to hold a Master of Educational Administration degree to practice as a school administrator. Principals and superintendents need to hold a Master's degree (in any discipline) and the appropriate certification. Students entering the educational leadership program post-masters may choose to seek a second master degree or to pursue coursework as a certification only student. This decision, however, must be made no later than the end of the first semester of graduate work in the educational leadership program. The Graduate College of Texas State University-San Marcos is under no obligation to accept more than six hours of post-graduate work and apply it toward a master degree.

Q: What are the advantages of being a certification only student?
A: There are several advantages for certification only students including having their transcripts reviewed by faculty for possible course credit from a previous graduate degree, petitioning the faculty for a course waiver based on real-world experience, previous coursework or intense professional development study, and not having to participate in a master’s oral examination at the completion of EDCL 6358 (the Integrative Seminar).
 

Q: What will I be doing in 6358 as completion of my program?
A: 6358 asks you to develop an action research plan based on an actual need in your school or workplace. You will collect preliminary and/or target data, conduct a literature review about the issue or need, and develop a plan of action for your school setting based on what you found in your research. The goal of 6358 is for you as a school leader to be able to actively use data to develop solutions for problems encountered in your work environment, whether they be issues of morale, discipline, program implementation and change, or improving academic outcomes.

Q: What do I need as a prerequisite for 6358?
A: The prerequisite is completion of EDCL 6352 where research strategies are explored and practiced. In some cases, prior background in research and a clear understanding of how to develop surveys, conduct interviews, analyze findings, conduct a literature review, and combine into a summary are skills that should be documented. Prior background may include other graduate-level research courses or completion of a Master’s thesis that is action research based.

Q: What is the difference between certification only and completing the Master degree in terms of expectations for 6358?
A: Certification only students are not required to defend their final product before a committee of professors. Rather, they make an in-class presentation for their classmates and professor of record. Defense of product would only be required of master’s candidates and serves as the oral exam requirement.

Q: What if I am not currently in a position to implement my action research?
A: 6358 is intended to preceed the internship or be early in the internship (no later than the fall semester of the practicum/internship) so that the action research can be conducted and the plan implemented in the same campus as part of the internship requirement. When this is not possible, alternative arrangements can be discussed with your Texas State University internship supervisor.  However, it is your responsibility to find a school and site mentor.
 

Q: What is the purpose of the Level I assessment?
A: The Level I assessment has two purposes. One is to determine whether a student has developed the knowledge, skills, and disposition necessary to continue in the program. The other purpose is to inform the student’s personal, academic, and professional development by guiding the student through a process of personal reflection and planning for continued growth.

Q: What is the Level I assessment process?
A: Students develop a portfolio that responds to requirements outlined in a rubric (http://www.eaps.us/edadmin/level1/) and includes four areas of development, then present their portfolios to a group of professors and peers. Students’ portfolios and presentations are rated outstanding, good, satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Students are also provided written feedback on strengths and concerns. Those who receive the rating of unsatisfactory must repeat the examination on the next administration date.  If the exam is failed twice, students must stop taking courses until the exam is passed.

Q: Should my written reflections on the three course products in my portfolio be combined into single essay or be presented as three separate essays?
A: The reflections on the three course products should be written as three separate essays.

Q: I’ve already done self-evaluations and goals for the future in EDCL 5339 and 5345. May I use portions of assignments competed for one of these courses for the student self-evaluation or goals for future parts of Level I Exam?
A: No. The Level I examination is not about cutting and pasting parts of already-completed assignments into your portfolio. The student self-evaluation and goals for the future are an independent analysis and synthesis of your growth and development across all Level I courses. You can refer to learning from the various Level I courses in discussing your self-evaluation and goals for the future, but should not rely exclusively on any one course or assignment. We realize that your goals and improvement plan will change as you proceed through the program; the plan you develop for your portfolio will be a snapshot of who you are personally, professionally and academically at the completion of Level I courses.

Q: What is the purpose of the artifact discussed in the portfolio and presentation?
A: The artifact is used as a meta-theme for the interrelationships of major concepts learned across Level I courses. The artifact should not be used to illustrate ones life, career or educational leadership in general.

Q: What is the relationship between the portfolio and the presentation?
A: The presentation should be a summary of the key parts of the portfolio. Like the portfolio, the presentation should address the four areas outlined in the rubric. It should include the artifact as well as other audio/visuals (as appropriate), and should be able to stand alone. Those attending the presentation who do not have a copy of the whole portfolio should be able to develop a reasonable understanding of its contents simply through observing the presentation.
 
 
Q: When may I apply for the Practicum/Internship?
A: The practicum is a two consecutive semester experience that must begin in the fall semester. To be eligible to apply for the practicum you must have completed at least 24 semester hours in the program. A completed application for the Practicum/Internship must be received in the Educational Leadership Office by June 15th in order to enroll for the fall semester. Practicum applications can be downloaded from the CLAS web site and can be printed, completed, and faxed, scanned/emailed or mailed in.

Q: Do I have to quit my job to do the practicum?
A: No. Students generally complete the practicum in the school where they are currently working. Normally, the campus principal or an assistant principal will serve as the on-site mentor. Practicum students are responsible for making these arrangements.

Q: What if I change jobs over the summer?
A: If you change jobs after you have applied for the practicum, it is your responsibility to notify the Program Coordinator of the change to get approval from the faculty. Likewise, you must get the approval of the principal at your new school to participate in the practicum.

Q: Is the practicum a class with regular weekly meetings?
A: No, but there are required meetings each semester. Attendance at these meetings is required. Your University Supervisor will also visit you at your internship site several times during the year.

Q: Can I choose who my University Supervisor will be?
A: No. Program decision makers assign practicum supervisors (usually by geographic proximity).

Q: How do I sign up for the practicum?
A: In the fall you may register for any section of EDCL 6387 listed on Catsweb. In the spring you will sign up for the section of EDCL 6388 assigned to your University Supervisor.

Q: How do I know what I am expected to do for the practicum?
A: A comprehensive description of practicum expectations can be found on our web site. In addition you will be given a hard copy of the expectations/course syllabus at an orientation meeting held before the start of the fall semester.