Accreditation and Program Review

Orientation to the MSSE Program

The Master of Science in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (MSSE) program continues to be the only graduate program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), one of nine colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).  NTID has continued to prepare students to become teachers of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the middle and high school level since the original Joint Educational Specialist Program (JESP), a joint graduate program between NTID and the University of Rochester, was instituted in 1980. The MSSE program was established in September 1994 after curricular approval from Rochester Institute of Technology Board of Trustees. The program was approved and registered by the New York State Education Department in 1995. The first nine students matriculated that year; seven of these students graduated in May 1997.  Since that time, 400 students have graduated from the program.

Re-registered by the New York State Education Department in 2001, the MSSE program has evolved in response to ongoing educational research, graduate and alumni surveys, school administrator surveys and an annual outcomes assessment that focuses on the preparation of teachers who are dedicated to becoming caring, competent and qualified teachers of deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Graduate assistantships afford the MSSE students a wide variety of opportunities to work with the NTID faculty, staff and students.  Whether they are teaching assistants, tutors, research assistants, outreach program assistants or assistants for academic programs, the MSSE students become a part of NTID’s academic and cultural community.  Having the program housed at NTID is a valuable and beneficial experience for our students.

The program was developed to address the national need for teachers at the secondary level who are capable of effectively teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing students in secondary academic subjects, especially in math and science. These teachers must be grounded in their subject matter as well as pedagogy. Our MSSE graduates are teaching in schools for the deaf and public school mainstream programs in numerous states.

Teachers need special training to teach students whose congenital and early-onset deafness has led to delays in language acquisition and the development of literacy. Over 90% of deaf children are born to non-signing, hearing parents. These parents may not provide their child the environment necessary for full communication and language development during the early years (Marschark, Lang, & Albertini, 2002; Young & Tattersall, 2006). For this reason, many deaf students arrive at school without the same language skills and background knowledge as their hearing peers (Erting, 2001). Like many language minority students, the education of deaf students has traditionally focused on language and literacy instruction and remediation consequently delaying or nearly eliminating content instruction, thus denying deaf students the same content area exposure and achievement as other students (Livingston, 1997; Mangrubang, 2004; Molander, Pederson & Norell, 2001). Teachers need to be cognizant of the effects these practices may have on general content learning as well as on English literacy, and they should have a thorough knowledge of research-based best practices on educating deaf children.

Mission Statement and Goals

The Master of Science in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is committed to educating teachers whose practice is characterized by thoughtful action rooted in scholarship, and whose preparation will equip them to become leaders in the profession.  The relationship between faculty and students in the program is one of partnership in teaching and learning.  The program addresses the fundamental purposes and processes of education as well as the impact of social, economic, and cultural changes upon education.  The program provides a variety of perspectives on the education of deaf people.  It prepares teachers who are able to advance the educational attainments of deaf people in content areas and emphasize sensitivity to cultural diversity, communication preferences, and educational accessibility.

The mission of the Master of Science in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is to enhance and improve the education of deaf and hard of hearing students through its commitment to educating teachers whose practice is characterized by thoughtful action rooted in scholarship, and whose preparation will equip them to become highly-qualified professionals with high expectations for the students they serve.  The program offers a unique graduate experience that prepares professionals to meet the national need for highly-qualified teachers of secondary school students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Through its courses, experiential practice and field experience and development of sign language communication skills, it prepares teachers who are able to advance the educational attainments of deaf and hard of hearing people and facilitate the provision of educational accessibility services, and who value cultural diversity.

  • Prepare teachers as highly-qualified practitioners in the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Prepare teachers to utilize evidence-based practices, including content-specialized pedagogies and technology, and educational measures throughout their teaching experiences.
  • Prepare teachers to support the social, academic, and communication needs of diverse deaf students in a variety of K-12 classroom environments.
  • Prepare teachers to be lifelong, reflective learners.
  1. Understand theories and practices related to human development, language, and learning
  2. Understand deafness
  3. Develop and apply pedagogical skills required to teach deaf and hard of hearing students in a variety of school settings
  4. Develop and apply pedagogical skills required to teach within a secondary-level content area (English, social studies, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics or American Sign Language)
  5. Engage in field-based study through graduate assistantships, micro-teaching, student-teaching, classroom observation, and teacher shadowing
  6. Apply evidence-based practices in the classroom
  7. Acquire curriculum development and research skills
  8. Become sensitive to the diverse learning needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing students
  9. Understand a variety of perspectives related to Deaf culture and community
  10. Become sensitive to cultural diversity within the student population

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), a college within the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), is the world’s first and largest technological college for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.  It is also recognized as the premier mainstream program in higher education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  NTID enrolls approximately 1,400 students from across the country and around the world, which is about eight percent of RIT's total enrollment of more than 18,600 students.  Of this number, 597 deaf and hard-of-hearing students are mainstreamed in baccalaureate and master's degree programs in eight other colleges of RIT with support services. The average employment rate of graduates who are deaf and hard of hearing over the past five years is 93 percent. The Rochester Institute of Technology is respected internationally as a world leader in career-oriented and professional education.  It is chartered by the legislature of the State of New York, registered by the New York State Education Department and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

NTID’s Master of Science in Secondary Education for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (MSSE) program is one of few programs in the U.S. that awards dual certification in teaching a secondary-level academic subject (i.e., Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and American Sign Language) and in teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Graduates with dual certification in a secondary-level academic subject and in deaf education are considered highly qualified in the field of special education, specifically deaf education. The program has been registered by the New York State Department of Education since 2001, and was accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in 2013 and the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) in 2014.  More details about the accreditation can be found in the narrative.

Alumni Survey

Final Report 04/11/2019

  • 142 Graduates from Fall 2011 through Fall 2018
  • 97 responded to the survey (68.31%)

Quarter-based graduates included Fall 2011 through Fall 2013 terms and semester-based graduates included Spring 2013 through Fall 2018 terms.

  • The survey had a high percentage of graduates who have taught and are still teaching (84.71%) among its respondents. Nearly all alumni respondents (89.47%) have held a teaching position since graduating. Among the ten graduates who have not held a formal teaching position, two are in higher education as a researcher and interpreter. Other graduates are stay at home parents or homeschooling their children (2) and a few chose not to provide further details. 
  • Graduates were asked to rate their sign language communication skills at three different time points: entry to MSSE, leaving MSSE and current day. Upon entry to the MSSE program, while many students rated their skills favorably, 28.26% indicated novice or survival level skills. Upon graduation, that percentage reduced to no one at novice level and only 5.43% at the survival rating. Present day skill ratings were the highest with 82.61% at advanced or higher. Chart 3 provides the full rating scale for each time point. 
Time Point Novice Survival Intermediate Advanced or Higher
Entering MSSE 17.4% 10.9% 25.0% 46.7%
Leaving MSSE 0.0% 5.4% 31.5% 63.0%
Current Skills 0.0% 7.6% 9.8% 82.6%
  • The graduates were also asked to rate how prepared they felt for their first teaching position. The rating scale instructed graduates to select one star for below average to five stars for excellent. Chart 5 displays these results in descending order by percent of star rating. Graduates felt most ready to prepare lesson plans, motivate students and use a variety of resources. In all categories, the majority of students clearly felt prepared as mean ratings were 3.00 or above with many being in the 4.00 range. However, the lower end of the ratings included factors such as their preparedness to choose appropriate materials and accommodate individual student needs. The mean ratings are slightly different with the lowest feeling of preparedness in how to incorporate differentiated instruction in the lessons. 
Criteria mean
Prepare lesson plans 4.31
Motivate students 4.05
Use a variety of resources 4.18
Present materials clearly and concisely 4.03
Understand curriculum goals 4.05
Feel confident in your content knowledge 4.06
Provide effective feedback to the students 4.02
Apply appropriate classroom management techniques 3.76
Incorporate differentiated instruction in the lessons 3.69
Accommodate individual student needs 3.75
Choose appropriate materials 3.82
  • Many graduates (76.8%) obtained certification with 23 people having certified in more than one state. Across all graduates, there are 97 certifications in 24 states. 
State Certifications
State N State N
New York 41 Kentucky 2
Colorado 8 Oregon 2
Washington 6 South Carolina 2
Texas 5 Alaska 1
Massachusetts 4 Iowa 1
Arizona 3 Kansas 1
Ohio 3 Maryland 1
Pennsylvania 3 Minnesota 1
Virginia 3 Missouri 1
California 2 New Mexico 1
Florida 2 North Carolina 1
Georgia 2 Utah 1  
  • Some graduates do not possess certification (23.7%). Many are working towards certification (26.3%) 
  • There are some quotes at the end of the report that can be used for this.
Working Toward Certification** Possess Teaching Certification
  Y N
Y 18.9% 7.4%
N 57.9% 15.8%
 
Total Working Toward Certification: 26.3%
Total Certified: 76.8%
Total Non-Certified and Not Working Toward Certification: 15.8%
  • Reasons provided for not obtaining certification include: working toward certification; two graduates indicated difficulty passing the certification requirements; nine others do not need certification for their position and seven others providing written comments. Written comments included: I am in the Philippines; could not get one in NY State and started to work towards one in another state but stopped; I am not a citizen of the U.S.; I teach at a university level and see no reason to complete state certification; money, and the test isn’t the best method to get certification because of test anxiety. I know the materials and can discuss in person. 

Respondent Quotes:

  • I really enjoyed the two quarters of student teaching! It exposed me to deaf professionals outside of the Rochester area. 
  • I feel like the program has a lot to offer in terms of flexibility. Students are able to pick which content they want to teach as well as where they want to do an internship. I'm thankful for the opportunities that I was offered by the program. 
  • The MSSE program has strong connections to many schools of the deaf in which you can get internships to gain experience and create your own networking with particular schools for the deaf. 

Respondent Quotes: 

  • MSSE program has outstanding students, hearing and Deaf, from different backgrounds as well as nationalities, which provide good platform for career development. Also, MSSE faculties design the curriculums in a practical way, helping students to prepare and understand better about the Deaf education and teaching topics. 
  • I feel like I was hindered coming in because there was no sign language requirement. I missed the majority of the instructed material. Learning to sign emesivly was amazing but I lost most of my education opportunities along the way. 
  • The survey had a high percentage of graduates who have taught and are still teaching (84.71%) among its respondents. 
  • The length of time graduates were in their first teaching position most commonly was 1-2 years (32.1%). One respondent, likely the longest to hold their first position, indicated being in that job for 11 years. 
Duration of First Job After Graduating
Length of Time N Percent
Less than 1 year 21 25.0%
1-2 years 27 32.1%
3-4 years 20 23.8%
5+ years 16 19.0%
  • Professional Memberships
    Graduates are active in the teaching profession through membership in professional organizations. 
Professional Organization Memberships
Memberships
Other* 5
NAD 4
ESSP 3
NSTA 3
ASLTA 2
CAID 2
NCTE 2
A.G. Bell 1
NCTM 1
NCSS 0

*Other: Japanese Federation of the Deaf Branch Kagawa (JFD); Lancaster Association of Substitute Teachers (LAST); NARST, ACEDHH, ASTE, ATE, National Education Association (CO and AK Chapters); PEF; Not on list. 

  • In total 74.74% of respondents would recommend the MSSE program to other interested students. 
  • Communication/Language Studies received the highest ratings across the categories. 
  • The highest mean rating was revealed in Instruction (4.27). 
  • Approximately 9.4% of graduates left the teaching profession. No one reason is dominant in responses for why this occurred. Each of the provided response prompts received between two and three tallies. These included difficult work assignments, felt too isolated, inadequate resources, unclear expectations, the job not being what the graduate expected, and inability to earn certification. Specific written responses are included in the appendix of this report.
     

Respondent Quotes:

  • I do all the time to my students and the high school students in my district, especially students interested in technology. 
  • I really believe that R.I.T.'s National Technical Institute for the Deaf prepared me above all other universities for both of my ToD positions. I used a lot of technical devices to teach, for example, this school year, I had students take ownership of their learning by participating in teaching Hearing Science to younger DHH students as part of a Self-Advocacy project. My students and I had our video sent to all ToD's working within the state of Colorado as a teaching/learning example. I'm very proud of my graduate program and my students.

Employer Feedback Survey

Final Report Fall 2016 (Prepared January 2017)

  • 43 known employers of 94 graduates
  • 34 returned survey; 33 completed (68.31%)

Quarter-based graduates included Fall 2011 through Fall 2013 terms and semester-based graduates included Spring 2013 through Fall 2018 terms.

Percentage Responses and Mean Scores for Ratings Questions
Is Qualified: 
2016 = 4.05
2010 = 3.56
High (5 plus 4) Average (3) Low (2 plus 1) 2016 Mean Rating 2010 Mean Rating
In basic knowledge of subject matter  92.9% 3.6% 3.6% 4.25 4.09
To develop honest self-awareness of personal strength & weaknesses 80.6% 12.9% 6.5% 4.06 3.67
To meet needs of individual students by differentiating instruction 74.2% 16.1% 9.7% 3.90 3.42
To teach state required learning standards (SOL’s) 93.3% 3.3% 3.3% 4.06 n/a
To evaluate pupil growth & learning 71.0% 22.6% 6.5% 3.97 3.00
Percentage Responses and Mean Scores for Ratings Questions
Exhibits Competency In: 
2016 = 4.11
2010 = 3.62
High (5 plus 4) Average (3) Low (2 plus 1) 2016 Mean Rating 2010 Mean Rating
Communication using sign language – adjusting according to student needs 92.9% 7.1% 0.0% 4.38 3.64
Written communication 93.5% 3.2% 3.2% 4.45 3.92
Effective use of technology 80.6% 19.4% 0.0% 4.39 4.33
Working in inclusive classroom situations 82.8% 17.2% 0.0% 4.03 3.00
Managing the classroom efficiently 73.3% 26.7% 0.0% 4.00 n/a
Working with special needs children – including flexible grouping, inclusion & differentiated instruction 64.5% 29.0% 6.5% 3.81 3.33
Using a broad variety of teaching resources 80.6% 16.1% 3.2% 4.16 3.58
Involving students in varied learning experiences 74.2% 25.8% 0.0% 4.16 3.67
Presenting lessons skillfully 87.1% 12.9% 0.0% 4.26 3.67
Writing and implementing IEP’s 77.8% 14.8% 7.4% 3.48 a3.09
Writing appropriate lessons and Unit plans 77.4% 19.4% 3.2% 4.06 3.67
Top Five Criterion
  • Exhibits caring by: Creating a caring environment (4.58)
  • Exhibits competency in: Written communication (4.45)
  • Exhibits competency in: Effective use of technology (4.39)
  • Exhibits caring by: Showing empathy for and sensitivity to all learners (4.39)
  • Exhibits competency in: Communication using sign language – adjusting according to student needs (4.38)
Lowest Five Criterion
  • Exhibits competency in: Writing and implementing IEPs (3.48)
  • Exhibits competency in: Working with special needs children – including flexible grouping, inclusion & differentiated instruction (3.81)
  • Is qualified: To meet needs of individual students by differentiating instruction (3.90)
  • Is qualified: To evaluate pupil growth and learning (3.97)
  • Exhibits competency in: Managing the classroom efficiently (4.00)

The last ratings item on the questionnaire asked:  Overall how would you rate the teacher’s(s) preparedness for working with your students?  It received a mean score of 3.83 in 2010 and 4.32 in 2016, which is higher than the mean score for any one of the four primary areas of questioning.  The respondents felt positively about how well the teachers were prepared to work in the classroom. 

In general, the highlighted strengths of students included their knowledge of the content area, passion for teaching, and compassion for students.  In particular, responders mentioned for newer teachers, they possessed the confidence and engagement to learn and grow into seasoned professionals. Consistently for weaknesses, the responders mentioned the challenges of working with students with differing needs.  They encouraged use of informal assessments and then altering teaching style to improve student achievement. Organization and relationship development with other teachers was cited as areas needing enhancement.

Percentage Responses and Mean Scores for Ratings Questions
Is Qualified: 
2016 = 4.05
2010 = 3.56
High (5 plus 4) Average (3) Low (2 plus 1) 2016 Mean Rating 2010 Mean Rating
In basic knowledge of subject matter  92.9% 3.6% 3.6% 4.25 4.09
To evaluate pupil growth & learning 71.0% 22.6% 6.5% 3.97 3.00

The last ratings item on the questionnaire asked: Overall how would you rate the teacher’s(s) preparedness for working with your students? It received a mean score of 3.83 in 2010 and 4.32 in 2016, which is higher than the mean score for any one of the four primary areas of questioning. The respondents felt positively about how well the teachers were prepared to work in the classroom. 

Top Five Criterion
  • Exhibits caring by: Creating a caring environment (4.58)
  • Exhibits competency in: Written communication (4.45)
  • Exhibits competency in: Effective use of technology (4.39)
  • Exhibits caring by: Showing empathy for and sensitivity to all learners (4.39)
  • Exhibits competency in: Communication using sign language – adjusting according to student needs (4.38)
Lowest Five Criterion
  • Exhibits competency in: Writing and implementing IEPs (3.48)
  • Exhibits competency in: Working with special needs children – including flexible grouping, inclusion & differentiated instruction (3.81)
  • Is qualified: To meet needs of individual students by differentiating instruction (3.90)
  • Is qualified: To evaluate pupil growth and learning (3.97)
  • Exhibits competency in: Managing the classroom efficiently (4.00)


The final item on the questionnaire was open-ended and asked the responder to provide comments in terms of the strengths and weaknesses they perceived about these teachers.  The responses are provided verbatim in the appendix.   In general, the highlighted strengths of students included their knowledge of the content area, passion for teaching, and compassion for students.  In particular, responders mentioned for newer teachers, they possessed the confidence and engagement to learn and grow into seasoned professionals. Consistently for weaknesses, the responders mentioned the challenges of working with students with differing needs.  They encouraged use of informal assessments and then altering teaching style to improve student achievement. Organization and relationship development with other teachers was cited as areas needing enhancement.
 

  • Great passion and understanding for the specific needs of the special population of students she serves. Great awareness to educate students with multiple disabilities.
Percentage Responses and Mean Scores for Ratings Questions
Exhibits Competency In: 
2016 = 4.11
2010 = 3.62
High (5 plus 4) Average (3) Low (2 plus 1) 2016 Mean Rating 2010 Mean Rating
Effective use of technology 80.6% 19.4% 0.0% 4.39 4.33

Call for Third-Party Comments

The Master of Science in Secondary Education program at National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the Master of Science for Teachers (MST) in Visual Arts-All Grades program at RIT are hosting an accreditation visit by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in the fall of 2020. Interested parties are invited to submit third-party comments to the CAEP site team. Please note that comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the party's relationship to the provider (i.e. graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates). 

We invite you to submit written testimony either through email or postal mail to:


CAEP
1140 19th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Such comments must be within the specified period and based on the core tenets of CAEP accreditation standards of excellence, which recognize that:

  • In CAEP's performance-based system, accreditation is based on evidence that demonstrates that teacher candidates know the subject matter and can teach it effectively so that students learn. In the CAEP system, EPPs must prove that candidates can connect theory to practice and be effective in an actual P-12 classroom.
  • A professional education provider that is accredited by CAEP is expected to be involved in ongoing planning and evaluation; engaged in continuous assessment and development; ensure that faculty and programs reflect new knowledge, practice, and technologies; and be involved in continuous development in response to the evolving world of education and educational reform.
  • Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the respondent's relationship, if any, to the institution (i.e., graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates). Copies of all correspondence received will be sent to the university for comment prior to the review. No anonymous testimony will be considered