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Secondary Teacher Education Preparation

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Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the STEP Program. If your FAQ is not listed, please feel free to email Jenn Kosiak, STEP Coordinator, at You may also pose a question via the following FAQ link. If you are looking for more information on the School of Education, visit the School of Education Website.

What are the majors and minors that are part of the STEP program?
STEP Majors:
 • Biology • Broadfield Science (Second major only for students new in 2011; students must declare a first major in Biology Education, Chemistry Education , or Physics Education) • Broadfield Social Studies • Chemistry • Computer Science • English • History • Geography • Mathematics • Physics • Political Science • Sociology  
STEP Minors: • Biology • Chemistry • Computer Science • Earth Science • Economics • English • History • Geography • Mathematics • Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish) • Teaching English to Speakers Other than English (TESOL) • Physics • Political Science • Psychology • School Health Education • Sociology • Special Education  

What are the STEP requirements?

General Education Requirements 48 credits. To ensure that teacher candidates meet state performance competencies, candidates will select general education requirements from the list applicable to teaching certification programs.  

Secondary Professional Education Requirements 35 credits. To ensure the teacher candidates meet the goals and objectives of the STEP Program, candidates will progress through coursework designed to integrate theory with practice, as well as provide candidates with the opportunities to reflect upon teaching experiences.  

Content Major Requirements 40-44 credits. To ensure the teacher candidates have a deep understanding of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structure of their discipline, teacher candidates will complete program requirements outlined by their respective content department(s). Required Content Major courses will include the four credit course,  Teaching and Learning (Content) in the Secondary School. 

Advising  worksheets  for faculty and students are also available. 

What is the DPI?

The DPI is the  Department of Public Instruction . Students in STEP earn a degree from UWL and may apply for a license to teach from the DPI, therefore all teacher education students must meet certain state requirements in order to be licensed to teach in Wisconsin.  

What is EA-A?

EA-A or Early Adolescence-Adolescence is a licensure range (approximate ages 10 - 21) available in Wisconsin license rule administered by the Department of Public Instruction. It was formerly called Middle Level/Secondary, grades 6-12. With the adoption of PI-34 (the current educator licensing rules), licensure ranges changed from grade ranges to developmental ranges. STEP students will receive a content area license or licenses at the EA-A developmental range. Other licensure ranges include EC-MC, Early Childhood-Middle Childhood (birth - Age 11), MC-EA, Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence (Age 6 - 12 or 13), and Early Childhood-Adolescence (birth - Age 21).  

Do I have to apply to the School of Education?

Yes, all education students must apply to the School of Education. Some students assume that admission into the University equates to admission into the School of Education. The pre-admissions requirements vary among each of the teacher education programs so they should consult with their academic advisor or visit the School of Education website for more information. Pre-education students, especially those in the STEP Program are advised to gain experience working with children and youth prior to applying to the School of Education.  

All students must be admitted to the School of Education in order to enroll in professional education courses. Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee admission into a teacher education program. Limited availability of resources impacts the number of students admitted. STEP students typically apply during their sophomore year and must meet the pre-application criteria below before applying to the School of Education:
  • Complete ENG 110 or 112 with a grade of "C" or higher.
  • Complete a minimum of 40 earned credits (including transfer credits) with a 2.75 combined cumulative grade point average.
  • Pass the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) with the following scores - Math (173), Reading (175), and Writing (174). UWL must receive an official score report sent from ETS to the university.
  • Complete EDS 203, EDS 206, and PSY 212 (or equivalent). For the 2016 STEP admission cycles (Feb. 2016 and Sept. 2016), concurrent enrollment in these courses will be acceptable. Course equivalents are determined on an individual basis. Students should consult with their academic advisor.
All application materials are due at 4:30PM on the Friday of the fourth week of the Fall or Spring semester. Application materials include the submission of a current resume, unofficial transcripts, and a one-page educational essay paper.  

What tests do I have to take?

As required by the state of Wisconsin, all STEP students take both the Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) and Praxis II: Subject Assessment exam(s). The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers and charges for all Praxis exams. Information and registration for these Praxis exams is available at  ETS Praxis website.  

Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST). The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires passing scores on the PPST prior to application for admission into all educator preparation programs. This test is used for professional assessments for beginning teachers. The test consists of three examinations in the areas of mathematics (passing score of 173), reading (passing score of 175) and writing (passing score of 174). This test is offered in both a computer-based and a paper and pencil format. The UWL Counseling and Testing Center is a computer-based testing site. Students must pass all three components of the PPST in order to apply to the School of Education.  

Praxis II: Subject Assessments. Wisconsin requires teacher education students to take and pass the Praxis II: Subject Assessments specified by the state for their license area(s) Wisconsin's testing requirements can be found at . Passing the Praxis II exam(s) is/are prerequisite to student teaching. STEP students who minor or double major in a modern language must also pass the ACTFL  (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) oral and written proficiency examinations prior to student teaching. Students are encouraged to confirm the test(s) required prior to test registration by contacting  Sandy Keller , certification officer.  

What are the recommended professional education core sequence and STEP requirements? 

Freshman year:
 EFN 205 (3 credits), ENG 110 or 112 (3 credits), and CST 110 (3 credits). Pass the PPST exam.  

In order to satisfy statutory requirements, GEO 200 is required for all science and social studies majors and minors (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, General (Broad Field Science, History, Geography, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, and Broad Field Social Studies Option A or Option B).  

Sophomore year: EDS 303 (2 credits) and PSY 212 (3 credits).  

Application to STEP (minimum of 40 earned credits with a 2.75 combined cumulative GPA and completion of STEP pre-application coursework including ENG 110 or 112 with a "C" or better, EFN 205, EDS 303, and PSY 212).  

In order to satisfy statutory requirements, EFN 200 is required for all social studies majors and minors (History, Geography, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, and Broad Field Social Studies Option A or Option B).  

Junior year: PSY 370 (3 credits), EDS 309 (2 credits), EDS 319 (2 credits), and EDS 351 (4 credits with Field Experience I).   Criminal Background Checks  are required before the field experience and are valid for one year only. Students should visit the School of Education  Office of Field Experience  for more information on clinical requirements:   

Senior year Semester I: SPE 401 (3 credits) and Teaching and Learning Content in the Secondary Schools (4 credits with Field Experience II). Students complete their School of Education  Pre-Student Teaching Portfolios . 

Senior year Semester II: EDS 494 Student Teaching/Internship and EDS 492 Student Teaching Seminar (13 credits). Background check required before student teaching. Students complete their School of Education Student Teaching Portfolios . 

What field experiences are required as part of the STEP Program?

Students complete two integrated field experiences, working in a local school prior to student teaching.  EDS 351: Language, Literacy and Culture in the Secondary Classroom (4 credits) and  Teaching and Learning (Content) in the Secondary School  (4 credits). The second field experience is housed in content departments.  

The semester prior to enrolling in your field experience coursework, all STEP teacher candidates are required to attend a Field Experience Orientation Sessions. The dates and times of these mandatory sessesions will be posted on the STEP and School of Education Website.  

In the context of a real classroom, teacher candidates will learn how to plan for and assess student learning. The integrated field experience means that students meet on campus as part of a traditional course and complete a minimum of 50 hours in a school setting as part of that course. As part of the required 50 hours, students may tutor, observe classes and/or engage in class instruction.  

After completing these two field experiences, major, minor (if completed), professional education requirements, and all other degree requirements, STEP students may apply to student teach. Student teaching is a full semester, full day following the daily schedule and semester calendar of the cooperating school (s. 118.19(3)(a) Stats.); a student teaching seminar is also required. Students do not take any other course work while student teaching. During the student teaching semester, students take on whole class instruction, assessment and other professional duties.  

When do I student teach?

Students usually enroll in student teaching the last semester of course work. They must apply to student teach. Student teaching is a full semester, full day following the daily schedule and semester calendar of the cooperating school. Application forms for student teaching are completed one year prior to the student teaching placement semester - in October for a fall semester placement and March for a spring semester placement. Application material  and student teaching information can be found on the School of Education Office of Field Experience  website. 

To be eligible for student teaching, students must complete requirements in their major(s), minor(s), and professional education coursework with at least a 2.75 combined cumulative grade point average and a 2.75 grade point average in the major, minor, concentrations and professional course work and an official passing Praxis II content test score report in the appropriate certification area(s)/discipline(s).  

Should I select a certifiable education minor?

Students can complete an education minor at the secondary (EA-A) level in order to be certified to teach in a second field. For example, history education majors may add English education as a minor and then be certified to teach in both content areas. STEP students must complete all program requirements for both their major and minor. STEP students must take the Teaching and Learning course in each content area in which they will be certified. They also must take the PRAXIS II exam in both major and minor content areas.  

For most STEP content majors and minors, student teaching for the major and minor is one semester with a combined placement. Special education minors are required to have an additional student teach semester.  

What are the School of Education Portfolio requirements?  

The Department of Public Instruction requires that each student document professional growth in the ten Wisconsin Teacher Educator Standards. Therefore, all teacher candidates must complete both a pre-student teaching and student teaching  portfolio as part of the School of Education STEP Program. Your academic advisors will be responsible for assessing their portfolio.  

You will be introduced to the electronic pre-student teaching portfolio in your professional core coursework. You will complete your pre-student teaching portfolio as part of your Teaching and Learning (Content) in the Secondary School course. You will complete your student teaching portfolio in EDS 492 Student Teaching Seminar course.  

What if I would like to transfer into the STEP Program?

A student that elects to transition into a STEP content education major will need to complete all program requirements including student teaching and passing the PRAXIS exams. A student should contact a  STEP academic advisor  to outline their new program of study.  

Students wishing to change majors during the semester need to file a Change of Program to the appropriate College Office.  

What if I decide to change majors and do not want to earn a content education major?

A STEP student who does not want to teach can transition into a content major without the Education emphasis. Students wishing to change majors during the semester need to file a Change of Program to the appropriate College Office.  

Can I study abroad? 

Yes, it is possible to study abroad and not increase time to graduation. Students may earn credits in their content major or in the professional education requirements if the courses are evaluated to have content appropriate for the requirements. It is very important that students who want to study abroad work closely with their academic advisor. 

In addition, School of Education students may be eligible to student teach abroad. Students should contact the Office of Field Experience for more information. 

What is the Professional Development Plan (PDP)?  

After a student graduates and begins teaching in Wisconsin, he/she must complete a professional development plan during the first 5 years of teaching as required by the Department of Public Instruction . The PDP is a process for renewal of an educator's license based on planned professional growth and evidence of the effect of that growth on student learning.