Admission to the Teacher Education Program and to Student Teaching

Cornell offers a major in Elementary Education and coursework for students seeking secondary certification. Students desiring to be certified to teach in the public and private K-12 schools should apply before March 1 of their sophomore year to the Education Department for admission to the Teacher Education Program, using the forms available online ( Those seeking admission to the Teacher Education Program in their junior year must have special permission from the chair of the Education Department to apply.

The additional conditions listed below must be met before the Education Department will approve the application.  The student must:

  1. file a Declaration of Major(s) form with the Registrar;
  2. complete EDU 215 and at least one additional 200-level Education course (EDU 205, EDU 230, and/or EDU 240)
  3. have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher;
  4. submit one positive reference from a faculty member outside the Education Department (see application);
  5. be in good academic standing;
  6. successfully complete the Praxis Core Pre-Professional Skills Test.

Praxis Core: Pre-Professional Skills Tests
Successful completion of the Praxis Core Pre-Professional Skills Tests is required for all Cornell students seeking admission to the Teacher Education Program. These tests determine college-level competency in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. It is strongly recommended that students register to take the Praxis tests during the spring of their freshman year or the fall of their sophomore year. These exams are given by Educational Testing Service (in Iowa City and numerous other nationwide locations) during August, September, November, January, March, April, and June of each year. The department recommends that students take the Praxis Core exam no later than November of their sophomore year. Registration for the Praxis Core exam is due one month in advance and score reports are available 4-6 weeks after the tests are taken. Specific dates for each academic year are posted early in the Registration Bulletin and sample questions are available at the Education Office in Room 104 of College Hall. The registration fee is the responsibility of the student. The passing scores for each section of the Praxis I Exam are: 156 or above on the reading section, 150 or above on the mathematics section, and 162 or above on the writing section.

All students must meet this requirement and have passing scores on file in the Education Department by February of their sophomore year before they can register for 300-level Education courses.
The final decision on admission rests with the Education Department and will be made after evaluating a completed application, the student's academic performance, and professional dispositions.

Student Teaching
In order to be admitted to student teaching, students must:

  1. have a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or higher;
  2. complete a Student Teacher Application and Preference Form in the spring of their junior year; and
  3. complete all four of the 200-level Education courses (205, 215, 230, 240) and have maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA in those four courses.

Elementary Education majors must maintain a 2.7 grade point average in all 300-level Education courses. In addition, all student teacher candidates must be recommended by the chair of the Education Department and be accepted by a local mentor classroom teacher.

Secondary Education students must have completed six course credits in the teaching subject matter major before being admitted to student teaching.

Fourteen weeks of consecutive student teaching are required. Depending upon public school calendars, students may be required to student teach for four consecutive blocks. Some students teaching off-campus and those seeking K through 8 and 5 through 12 certification in Art, Music, and Physical Education may also be required to student teach for four blocks. Students desiring to student teach in Chicago must apply to the Academic Standing Committee by February 1 of their junior year. See Off-Campus Programs. All student teaching assignments are made within 30 miles of Mount Vernon unless exceptional personal circumstances exist.

Special Consideration Policy
Applicants with a 2.3 GPA or above may apply for admission under the Special Considerations Policy if they meet one or more of the following three criteria:

  1. If the applicant has a documented disability for which he or she is already receiving academic accommodations. Students applying in this category must supply appropriate documentation from the Coordinator of Academic Support and Advising as part of their application.
  2. If the applicant can show evidence that he or she has had successful experience (3 years or more full-time) working with students in a preschool or school setting.
  3. If the applicant will add to the diversity of the teaching profession.
  4. If the applicant meets or exceeds the minimum scores on the Praxis Core exam (Reading = 156; Writing = 162; and Math = 150) OR achieves a combined score for each section of 452.

After admission to the Teacher Education Program, students with Special Consideration status must maintain a 2.7 GPA for every subsequent semester they are registered in the Teacher Education Program.

Praxis II: Subject Assessments Test
The State of Iowa requires all elementary education majors and secondary certification students to successfully complete two separate Praxis II tests (Pedagogy and Content Knowledge) prior to licensure. Elementary Education majors must successfully pass the following two Praxis II tests:

  1. PLT (Pedagogy): Grades k-6 pedagogy 0622/5622
  2. Elementary Ed: Content Knowledge 0014/5014

Secondary certification students must also successfully pass two Praxis II tests and should refer to the ETS website as the test codes will vary according to the subject area.

It is highly recommended that all Cornell preservice teachers take and pass one of the above Praxis II exams prior to student teaching.

Refer to the ETS web site ( for available test dates. Passing scores must be on file in the Education Office at Cornell College before an Iowa license can be issued.

If students intend to teach outside of Iowa, it is advisable to obtain information concerning testing requirements in that state as early as possible. The ETS web site requirement page for all states mandating Praxis II is

Register online at the ETS test site by following the link to the Praxis II tests, then the link to Registering for a Test. Indicate Cornell College as a receiving institution so the Education Department gets official notification of the results (the Cornell code is R6119). Sample test questions can be viewed on this site under Tests at a Glance. The web site includes information regarding the fees, testing dates, and additional services offered by ETS.

Recommendation for Certification
After a student has successfully completed 14 consecutive weeks of student teaching and the senior seminar, passed the two Praxis II exams, and received a baccalaureate degree, the Education Department will make the final decision on Cornell College's recommendation for state certification. A criminal background check is required. Completion of student teaching and certification requirements does NOT guarantee recommendation for a teaching certification.

All students should note that teacher certifications are issued by individual states. If students believe they may be moving to another state after graduation, they should examine the specific requirements for the state(s) in question and plan for meeting these additional requirements. Information on all state certification requirements can be found on each state’s education department website.

Elementary Education Major (Grades K-8)
Whether a candidate for the B.A., B.Mus., or B.S.S. degree, every elementary education major must complete the following requirements (these courses can also be applied to the B.A. Degree).

  1. One course in mathematics or statistics. Students can use Advanced Placement credit to satisfy this requirement (even if transcript credit is awarded).
  2. One writing-intensive course (W).
  3. One course in Physical Science chosen from: CHE 103, or 108; GEO 101, 105, or 111; or PHY 121, 125, 123 and 141
  4. One course in the Life Sciences chosen from: BIO 103, 106, 108, 141, or 142; or KIN/BIO 207
  5. One course in history chosen from: HIS 100 or 200 level.

A minimum of 15 course credits in Education which include:

  1. Four foundational courses in education:  EDU 205, 215, 230 and 240
  2. Six core methods courses to include: EDU 314, 317, 318, 319, INT 310 and 320.
  3. INT 121 Communication in Education
  4. EDU 410, 420, 430 Student Teaching
  5. EDU 483 Senior Seminar

A second major or the completion of a six-course certification area in one of the following teaching subjects is strongly recommended: reading, history, science, language arts, or social studies.  Students are also encouraged to complete the on-line reading endorsement courses prior to graduation (330, 340, 350, 360).  Students should be careful to check the degree requirements of all states they may be considering for relocation. When recommended by the Education Department, the completion of the Elementary Education major qualifies the student for K-8 teaching certification in the State of Iowa.

Secondary Certification Coursework (Grades 5 – 12)
Whether a candidate for the B.A., B.Mus., or B.S.S. degree, every secondary certification student must complete the following requirements (these courses can also be applied to the B.A. Degree).

  1. One course in mathematics or statistics. Students can use Advanced Placement credit to satisfy this requirement (even if transcript credit is awarded).
  2. One writing-intensive course (W).
  3. One science course.
  4. A minimum of 10 course credits in Education, which include:
    1. Four foundational courses in education: EDU 205, 215, 230, and 240
    2. EDU 328
    3. One discipline-specific methods course:
      1. English, Art*, and Languages: EDU 322
      2. Math, Sciences, Social Sciences, and History: EDU 324
      3. Physical Education: KIN 331 and/or KIN 324
      4. Music: MUS 331 and MUS 431
        *Note: Art majors in the teacher education program must also complete ART 371 in addition to EDU 322.
    4. EDU 410, 420, 430 (see student teaching requirements)
    5. EDU 483
    6. An approved major in the area of certification. 
      A list of approved majors is available from the Education Office. Students should follow their major department’s curricular requirements and work with their major advisors to ensure that all required coursework is completed. When recommended for licensure by the Education Department, the completion of coursework for secondary certification and an approved major qualify the student for 5-12 teaching certification in the State of Iowa.

Students pursuing a BSS must consult with the Education Department to make sure they are meeting the general education requirements of the State of Iowa for licensure.

Additional Endorsements in Secondary Education: Students who are majoring in history, social sciences, or natural sciences are strongly encouraged to add an additional certification area. See the Education Department for more information about additional endorsements.

Title II Reporting Summary: The annual report required by Title II of the 1998 Higher Education Act is on file in the Education Office. The Cornell College Teacher Education Program is accredited by the Iowa Department of Education and meets all of the requirements of Title II. The Cornell College Teacher Education Program is in good standing with the State of Iowa and the federal government and is NOT listed as a low-performing Teacher Education Program.

Transportation: Students are responsible for their own transportation, at their own expense, when coursework requires their presence in off-campus classrooms and internships.