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Category III

Professional Competencies and Field Experiences

Standard 12

Determination of Candidate Competence

Prior to recommending each candidate for a Specialist or Services Credential, one or more persons who are responsible for the program determine, on the basis of thorough documentation and written verification by at least one district supervisor and one institutional supervisor, that the candidate has satisfied each professional competence.


Because virtually all ECE Specialist Credential students are completing their Master’s Degree simultaneously, the status of ECE Specialist Credential students has been under the auspices of the Division of Graduate Studies. The Division office oversees students’ progress through the mandated course-and fieldwork requirements for each program through the students adherence to the course of study identified, documented, and finally verified by the student, the Program Coordinator, and the Head Coordinator who supervises all Master’s in Education options, including ECE. This Advancement to Candidacy, a “contract” of sorts, identifies:

  • the mandated core classes and the electives approved by the Program Coordinator
  • a timeline for completion of all requirements to ensure completion in less than five years
  • and the grades earned for each course

Upon application for graduation, a final check is made by the Division of Graduate Studies to assure compliance with University and Program requirements by each candidate. This final check is instigated by the signature of the student’s Project Advisor that the thesis or project has been successfully completed (Assessment 5).


If a student were to apply for the ECE Specialist credential only, he/she would not apply for Advancement to Candidacy through the Division of Graduate Studies, but would complete the same form for an internal check by the Program Coordinator or KSOEHD Graduate Technician in order to determine the same alignment with program requirements. In alignment with University procedure for Master’s students, the ECE Specialist credential student would undergo a final check by the Program Coordinator or KSOEHD Graduate Technician to assure completion of all coursework and fieldwork requirements. This step would be instigated by the signature of the student’s Research Paper Advisor that the research paper has been successfully completed (Assessment 5).

In addition to the research paper, the graduate fieldwork class, LEE 241, is used as a culminating experience for the specialist credential candidate. The specialist competencies are expected to be demonstrated in field experience, showing that the candidate not only has the knowledge but can utilize the knowledge in teaching young children at two different levels: Preschool, kindergarten or primary grades. The items in the matrix that were not showing up in syllabi are typically addressed in fieldwork LEE 241, as required by the goals of individual students. For example, not every ECE specialist credential student wants to be a site program director, however, some do and when that is the case, 2.64, 2.8, 2.9 and 2.10 become important in the specific context of fieldwork that is defined by the professional role, setting and goals of the student. The new ECE Leadership Class (LEE 240) will specifically address these matrix numbers. The graduate field experience supervisor documents observation of these competencies and this documentation is placed in the candidate's file.

Additional documentation is provided by an on-site administrator at the request of the candidate. The candidate's completion of two years of successful teaching in early childhood settings is documented by a letter from the candidate's principal or supervisor and is placed in the candidate's file.

An exit interview is conducted by the ECE Coordinator. At this time the candidate's completion of competencies is again reviewed and discussed. The ECE Program Coordinator verifies that the candidate:

  • holds a valid California elementary teaching credential
  • has completed two years of supervised experience teaching at two levels of Early Childhood Education
  • has completed the ECE Specialist Credential Program with at least a 3.0 GPA

If all documentation is complete, the candidate is recommended for an ECE Specialist Credential through the KSOEHD Credentials Office who assists the candidate in completing the necessary forms and who submits the application to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

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