Early Childhood Special Education Standards Development Task Force

EI/ECSE Standards Development Task Force Charge & Goals

CEC, in partnership with the Division for Early Childhood (DEC), has launched an ECSE Standards Development Task Force. The Task Force is charged by the CEC Board of Directors with exploring the value and necessity of developing Professional Practice-Based Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Standards in accordance with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards development guidelines and based on the recommendations outlined in the Framing Document. The Task Force will meet over the course of two years. The Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC), through a subaward with DEC, will support the work of the task force through dedicated staff, think tanks, support for task force member travel, and support for meeting logistics.

For over 25 years, CEC/DEC has had Initial and Advanced Knowledge and Skill Specialty Sets (i.e. knowledge and skills statements) that were used by educator preparation programs for curriculum development and to inform program review. In 2018, the CEC Board of Directors and then the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approved DEC’s request to develop a stand-alone set of standards for early interventionist and early childhood special educators. Once finalized and approved, these Standards will be used by higher education faculty and professional development providers to develop curriculum, by programs submitting early childhood reports for CEC/CAEP program review, by states and licensing agencies to develop early childhood licensure frameworks, and by professional associations to inform the development of cross-disciplinary standards.

Anticipated Development Timeline

  • April 2019: Draft standards to PSPC, Board & other response groups for feedback
  • July 2019: Draft standards application submitted to CAEP for review & feedback
  • September 2019: Webinar to share revised draft of standards, components and supporting explanations
  • September 25 through October 9th: Survey to obtain feedback from the field on revised draft
  • Fall 2019: Workgroup meets to incorporate feedback à finalize drafts
  • Spring 2020: Final drafts to response groups for final feedback
  • April 2020: Final drafts to CEC Board for approval
  • July 2020: Final standards application submitted to CAEP for approval
  • New standards, if approved, available for program review: 2021
  • New standards, if approved, mandatory for program review: 2023

Public Feedback Opportunities

The EI/ECSE Standards Development Task Force has posted a second draft set of standards, available for review here. A survey to collect public comment on the draft standards is open until October 9, 2019.

  • DEC Conference | Dallas, TX | Oct. 3, 2019
  • TED Conference | New Orleans, LA | Nov. 6, 2019
  • NAEYC Conference | Nashville, TN | Nov. 20, 2019
  • CEC Annual Convention | Portland, OR | Feb. 5-8, 2020

EI/ECSE Standards Development Task Force Members

The Task Force members below and their associated universities have offered their time, expertise, and resources to this important work! We are grateful to all involved.

  • Eva Horn, Chair, University of Kansas
  • Erin Barton, Vanderbilt University
  • Susan Connor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Natalie Danner, University of Nebraska-Kearney
  • Lorraine Dejong, Furman University
  • Christy Hooser, Eastern Illinois University
  • Jennifer Kilgo, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Hailey Love, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Ann Mickelson, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • Jeanette McCollum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Megan Purcell, Purdue University
  • Sandra Hess Robbins, University of West Georgia
  • Cynthia Vail, University of Georgia
  • Serena Wheeler, University of Louisville
  • Hasan Zaghlawan, University of Northern Colorado


CEC’s Professional Preparation Standards define the specialized expertise professionals must master for the safe and effective practice of special and gifted education and early intervention. These standards are used to inform preparation programs, accreditation organizations, and licensing agencies. CEC partners with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), a national educator preparation program accreditor, to recognize education programs that prepare teachers and professionals to work with students and children with exceptionalities, based on their meeting of standards established by CEC.


Questions about the ECSE or Special Education Standards Development Process? Email prostandards@cec.sped.org.