Designing EPPs Aligned with CEC’s 2020 Initial Practice-Based K-12 Standards


  • Virginia McLaughlin William & Mary (W&M)
  • Dee Berlinghoff Mount Saint Mary College



CEC Standards, EPP program design, EPP program assessment, HLPS


CEC’s 2020 Practice-Based Standards for Preparation of Special Educators (K-12) identify proficiencies considered essential for successful entry into the profession. To assist Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) in the design and assessment of programs aligned with these new Standards, the authors introduce a six-step approach that is systematic, deliberative, and applicable in diverse contexts. The approach includes: (a) understanding the Standards and available resources, (b) aligning CEC Standards with CEC’s High Leverage Practices (HLPs), InTASC and other applicable standards; (c) mapping the program to standards to identify gaps and redundancies; (d) developing course syllabi; (e) identifying key program assessments; and (f) implementing and monitoring the program. Each step of the process is described, and examples are provided.


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Author Biographies

Virginia McLaughlin, William & Mary (W&M)

Virginia McLaughlin, Ed.D., is Chancellor Professor Emerita of the School of Education at William& Mary (W&M). From 1995-2013, she served as Dean of the School of Education. Dr. McLaughlin was a gubernatorially appointed member of the Virginia Board of Education from 2009-2013. She servedon numerous boards for professional organizations including AACTE and NCATE, and she was Presidentof the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions (CADREI). Dr. McLaughlinco-chaired the CEC Standards Framing Paper Workgroup and Standards Development Workgroup.

Dr. McLaughlin has taught courses in special education, inclusive practices, and collaborative partnerships at baccalaureate through doctoral levels. Her scholarship focuses on educational policy and teacher preparation issues. She has co-authored and served as co-principal investigator on more than $10 million of externally funded projects.

Dee Berlinghoff, Mount Saint Mary College

Dee Berlinghoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita in the Division of Education at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. She has been working in public education and higher education for over 30 years, serving as a classroom teacher, professor, and embedded coach for teachers. She spent the 2014-2015 school year on sabbatical working in a high-needs school identified by the New York State Education Department as “in need of improvement.” Her responsibilities included modeling effective instructional strategies in classrooms, providing professional development, and embedded coaching. She is editor of the Evidence-Based Instruction in Special Education series, published by Slack, Inc.

Dr. Berlinghoff served as President of the New York State Council for Exceptional Children, New York State Division for Learning Disabilities, and the Small Special Education Programs Caucus of the Teacher Education Division of CEC. She served on the presidential line of the Teacher Education Division of CEC and co-chaired the CEC Standards Development Workgroup. She is currently serving on the CEC Professional Standards and Practices Committee.



How to Cite

McLaughlin, V., & Berlinghoff, D. (2022). Designing EPPs Aligned with CEC’s 2020 Initial Practice-Based K-12 Standards. Journal of Special Education Preparation, 2(3), 6–18.



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