Secondary & Middle Grades Education

Critical Understandings & Performance Outcomes

Graduates of the Ed.S. & Ed.D. in Middle Grades or Secondary Education

The Ed.D. and Ed.S. Programs in Middle Grades or Secondary Education in the Bagwell College
of Education are aligned with the Professional Teacher Education Unit’s vision to remain at the
forefront of educator preparation by advancing a mission committed to developing expertise in
advanced programs as teachers, teacher leaders, and school leaders through innovative teaching,
purposeful research, and engaged service within a collaborative teaching and learning

At the heart of these programs is the belief that all students can learn when the learner is at the
pedagogical core (Weimer, 2002). Within a Learner-Centered conceptual framework, “learners”
are embodied as P-12 students, pre-service candidates, teachers, teacher-leaders, and school and
district leaders and administrators, all of whom engage in a coherent, learner-centered approach
(Copland & Knapp, 2006).

The confluence of Practical (Applied), Contextual (Milieu), and Conceptual (Cognitive) Critical
Understandings forms a lens for understanding Learner-Centered Psychological Principles, a
summary of which is provided in the following five domains (Lambert & McCombs, 2000)
(Alexander & Murphy, 2000):

  1. The knowledge base. The conclusive result of decades of research on knowledge base is that  what a person already knows largely determines what new information he attends to, how he organizes and represents new information, and how he filters new experiences, and even what he determines to be important or relevant. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)

  2. Strategic processing and executive control. The ability to reflect on and regulate one’s thoughts and behaviors is an essential aspect of learning. Successful students are actively involved in their own learning, monitor their thinking, think about their learning, and assume responsibility for their own learning (Lambert & McCombs, 2000)

  3. Motivation and affect. The benefits of learner-centered education include increased motivation for learning and greater satisfaction with school; both of these outcomes lead to greater achievement (Johnson, 1991; Maxwell, 1998; Slavin, 1990). Research shows that personal involvement, intrinsic motivation, personal commitment, confidence in one’s abilities to succeed, and a perception of control over learning lead to more learning and higher achievement in school. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)

  4. Development and individual differences. Individuals progress through various common stages of development, influenced by both inherited and environmental factors. Depending on the context or task, changes in how people think, believe, or behave are dependent on a combination of one’s inherited abilities, stages of development, individual differences, capabilities, experiences, and environmental conditions. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)

  5. Situation or context. Theories of learning that highlight the roles of active engagement and social interaction in the students’ own construction of knowledge (Bruner, 1966; Kafai & Resnick, 1996; Piaget, 1963; Vygotsky, 1978) strongly support this learner-centered paradigm. Learning is a social process. Many environmental factors including how the instructor teaches, and how actively engaged the student is in the learning process positively or negatively influence how much and what students learn (Lambert & McCombs, 2000). In comparison studies between students in lecture and active learning courses, there are significantly more learning gains in the active learning courses (Springer, Stanne, & Donovan, 1999).


Graduates of these programs demonstrate and possess the following knowledge, skills, and dispositions.

EDD & EDS Performance Outcomes

1. Candidates foster a responsive, learner-centered educational environment that promotes collaboration and democratic participation for student learning.
2. Candidates demonstrate pedagogical approaches which incorporate contextual, theoretical/conceptual, and practical influences on the learner and learning.
3. Candidates advance teaching and learning through the innovative use of technology based on sound educational theory and knowledge of the learner.
3. Candidates advance teaching and learning through the innovative use of technology based on sound educational theory and knowledge of the learner.
5. Candidates demonstrate and apply various types of assessment to inform the learner’s ability to analyze, monitor, and improve his or her learning as well as interpret and use data to inform their own pedagogical effectiveness.
6. Candidates engage in scholarly, applied research to advance knowledge of teaching, the learner, and/or learning.
7. Candidates reflect on their professional, scholarly practice, and analyze the ways in which they have changed in their thinking, beliefs, or behaviors toward improved learner-centered practices.
8. Candidates support academic and linguistic needs of the learner, enhance cultural understandings, and increase global awareness of all students.
9. Candidates demonstrate professional dispositions, fluency of academic language in a variety of contexts, and ethical practices expected of an engaged scholar-practitioner.