This first degree option, the Master of Education (Ed.M.), is earned through successful completion of all required program coursework and successful completion and defense of a capstone portfolio. The capstone portfolio is a cumulative, comprehensive, and reflective form of student assessment. Completing a portfolio requires that the student address each program competency in a comprehensive, meaningful, and creative way. The portfolio “product” can be shared in any number of formats, including, but not limited to: writings, pictures, audio or video clips, and electronic media (websites, CDs, PowerPoint documents, etc.). No specific format is required or preferred. Students are asked to utilize the format that is most compatible and appropriate given their strengths and learning. Students are strongly encouraged to develop and assemble numerous and diverse artifacts in meeting the competencies on an ongoing basis. Final portfolios are distributed to and evaluated in writing by a committee just prior to the last term of coursework. A public, formal committee meeting with oral presentation and defense serves as the second method of evaluation.
The second degree option, the Master of Science (M.S.), is earned through successful completion of all required program coursework and successful completion and defense of thesis. In addition to required coursework and the thesis, students pursuing the M.S. degree must also demonstrate adequate evidence of competence and learning in each of the nine CSSA competency areas. Demonstration of this evidence may take the form of an extended/detailed competency plan with select work samples or other methods approved by the major professor. This demonstration need not be a portfolio, but it should still show adequate evidence of competency mastery. Thesis research should be significantly reflected in the demonstration.