Statewide shortage of special education testers

Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Wende Seaton, a Mansfield elementary special education teacher, is going back to school to meet a huge demand. The Mansfield school district is desperate for educational diagnosticians, individuals who can test for children who need special education.Seaton, who has taught special education for 12 years, says there are only a few diagnosticians to serve the children in her school district.But her district isn't the only one in need of educational diagnosticians. According to Jane Pemberton, UNT assistant professor of technology and cognition, it's a statewide problem.In response to her district's needs, Seaton entered the educational diagnostician program at the University of North Texas System Center at Dallas. "The lack of diagnosticians has effects both in and outside of our classrooms and in the lives of teachers and parents as well as the children," she says. "Many of our children are in need of testing, putting a bigger strain on the diagnosticians when there aren't enough in the district and they have double the caseload." UNT's graduate level program provides a certification as an education diagnostician to those with master's degrees. And to those without a graduate degree it offers a Master's of Education in Special Education along with the certificate. The program, which is offered through UNT's College of Education, qualifies individuals to create curriculum based on assessments as well as administer standardized tests. There is a 100 percent placement of graduates."School districts are in constant contact with us in search of diagnosticians," Pemberton says. "The need is so great that our students are being offered positions before graduating."UNT students have a 98 percent pass rate of the ExCET, the certification exam for educational diagnosticians. UNT System Center students also participate in live sessions between students, teachers and parents at the Rose Street Day Treatment School in Wichita Falls via two way video.Students in the 42-hour program must complete three years of teaching special education or a related area by the end of their coursework and before taking the ExCET.Faculty members in this program serve as both national and international consultants in dealing with emotional behavior disorders, learning disabilities, gifted education, legal issues, assessment, inclusion and parental involvement.The courses will also be available to students through UNT's Distance Education program via two-way video conferencing and the Internet. For more information contact Dr. Pemberton through email at pembrtn@tac.coe.unt.edu, visit the web site: www.coe.unt.edu/eddiag or call at (940) 565-2957.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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