Student Growth and Achievement and Content Methods Courses
All students are enrolled in two types of courses: student growth and achievement and content methods.
Student Growth and Achievement Courses
Student growth and achievement courses represent the knowledge and skills all great teachers must have regardless of the grades or subjects that they teach. These classes encompass three of the four elements of effective teaching: self and other people, classroom culture, and teaching cycle. In student growth and achievement courses, students also create and follow their pathways for student growth and achievement. Finally, some student growth and achievement courses provide the opportunity to select elective topics within a course. Elective modules within a course address a variety of teaching knowledge and skills, such as teacher-organization skills or launching restorative justice practices with PK–12 students. Students take student growth and achievement courses with Relay faculty members in a consistent section (e.g., always at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday nights) in both the fall and spring terms.
Content Methods Courses
Content methods coursework comprises the knowledge and skills necessary to teach a particular grade or subject. Content methods coursework is taught in grade- and/or subject-specific groups led by a faculty member with that particular area of teaching expertise and experience. Typically, these courses take place on Saturdays, though some weeknight and online options are available.
Program length will vary by campus, depending on state requirements for certification/licensure, but is generally 18–24 credit hours over 3–4 terms.
See the AY20-21 Master of Arts in Teaching Course Overview for a listing of courses by term and details about the topics and skills taught in each course. Please note that there may be some campus variation within courses and programs. Alternate-route candidates may not take all courses listed, and some courses may be modified to meet state requirements. Alternate-route candidates typically take the Year One Master of Arts in Teaching courses, with the potential for additional coursework as required by the state.
As teachers, students work with their PK–12 students to build the academic skills and strength of character necessary for them to succeed in college and life. To do this work with integrity, each teacher must embody the same standards that they set for PK–12 students. For additional details, see “Professionalism.”
To see firsthand how students are progressing as teachers, faculty members will observe students’ classrooms several times over the course of the program. Faculty members’ expectations for these observations will become more complex as the students progress through their time at Relay. The scores earned in these in-person observations will factor into individual assessments within various courses throughout a student’s experience at Relay. For additional details, see “Classroom Observations.”
Current research suggests that there is no statistically significant association between having received a master’s degree in education and leading PK–12 students to academic achievement. By design, Relay hopes to change this statistic. Students at Relay must demonstrate that their PK–12 students have made meaningful and measurable academic gains.
 Rivkin, S. G., Hanushek, E. A., & Kain, J. F. (2005). “Teachers, schools, and academic achievement.” Econometrica, 73(2), 417–458.