FAQ’s | Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to know before you begin the Aim4Excellence modules? We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help.
Print All FAQ's

Eligibility

Are there any eligibility requirements to take Aim4Excellence?

You are not required to have any specific educational background or credentials to take Aim4Excellence. Participants must have solid (undergraduate-level) writing skills to complete assignments. Participants also need regular access to an early childhood program in order to complete the assignments. Aspiring administrators may participate if they have regular access to an early childhood program.

 

Time Requirements | Clock hours | Renewal

How long does it take to complete a module?

If you do all the readings and assignments associated with each module, it should take approximately 16 hours to complete.

 

How long do I have to complete a module?

You have eight weeks (56 days) to complete each module from the time you first log on to that module. Most students find that they can easily complete a module within the eight-week required time frame.  Be sure to plan at least 16 hours of work time over the course of the eight weeks to complete the module.

Note that if you are a scholarship recipient or are participating as a part of a group or cohort, your funder or sponsor may select to shorten the timeline in which you need to complete each module.

 

What happens if I fail to complete a module within the eight weeks?

Should you fail to complete a module within eight weeks of initial login, you will need to re-register and repay for that module in order to complete the module and receive your Certificate of Completion. This is allowed one time.

 

Can I request an extension if I can’t finish within eight weeks?

You may request one 1-week extension over the course of the nine modules to be granted at the discretion of the McCormick Center faculty and staff.  No extensions will be granted for resubmissions.

 

What happens if I fail to complete a module by the expiration date?

Should you fail to complete a module within eight weeks of initial login, you will need to re-register and repay for that module in order to complete the module and receive your Certificate of Completion.

 

How quickly will I receive my scores?

Within about 10 business days of submitting your module for review, you will receive an email with your scoring summary, faculty feedback, and—assuming you successfully completed the module—your Certificate of Completion.

 

Can I take more than one module at a time?

You can certainly register for as many modules as you like at once, but we strongly recommend that you work on only one module at a time. As soon as you complete one module you can begin the next.

 

Do I need to take the modules in order?

If you are only registering for a couple of modules, you can certainly take the modules in any order you like. If you plan to attain the Aim4Excellence national director credential by completing all nine modules, however, we suggest you take them in sequence, beginning with Module 1.

 

How many clock hours will I receive for each module?

Each module is worth 16 clock hours. After successfully completing a module you’ll receive a certificate with the clock hours indicated at the bottom.

 

I’m from Illinois. How long will it take my clock hours to appear on the Gateways for Opportunity Registry?

Clock hours for those modules you successfully complete will automatically appear on the Illinois Gateways for Opportunity Registry.  Allow up to 60 days from your certificate date for the module to appear on your registry.

 

Am I required to renew my Aim4Excellence National Director Credential?

In order to maintain a valid credential, Aim4Excellence credentialed directors must renew every five years. Learn about the renewal process.

How do I get a new or  replacement credential?

You can request a new credential by emailing McCormickCenterHelpdesk@nl.edu or call the HelpDesk 844.378.2464 There is a $10.00 replacement fee, credential will not be sent without the $10.00 fee paid in full.

Software | Textbooks | Materials

Do I need to purchase textbooks or software to take Aim4Excellence?

No. Everything you need is right at your fingertips as you log on to Aim4Excellence. There are no extra textbooks you need to purchase. Everything is included in the per module registration fee. All of the reading materials, assignments, and media you need are easily accessible from your computer screen as you log on.

Aim4Excellence runs in a program called Adobe Flash Player.  If your computer does not have the most recent version of  Adobe Flasher Player installed, you’ll be asked to complete the free download before you begin your first module.

 

Can I complete the Getting Ready modules on my tablet or smartphone?

The Aim4Excellence modules run in a free program called Adobe Flash Player.  Presently, Apple iPad® and iPhone® do not run Adobe Flash Player. That said, you will want to access the modules from your computer or from an Android™ device. We strongly recommend using a device with a full-size screen and keyboard for ease of use.

Assignments and Tests | Evidence of Learning

Are there tests?

All of the Aim4Excellence modules include a variety of evidence of learning assignments such as reflections, exercises, classroom observations, and yes, quizzes.

 

Do I need to scan my work or send attachments for the assignments I’ve completed?

No. All of the required evidence of learning assignments you need to do are included right in the modules. In some cases, you’ll be asked to print out an exercise or field assignment first, jot your answers, and then transfer your answers right on the computer and click your mouse to submit your work.

 

Will I be graded on the assignments I do?

Each module includes a variety of evidence of learning that total 100 points. In order to receive a Certificate of Completion for a module, you must attain a score of 70 points or higher. Most students find that they can easily achieve a “passing” score by carefully reading the articles and handouts and providing thoughtful responses to the evidence of learning.

 

When will I hear if I successfully completed the module?

Within about 10 business days of submitting your module for review, you will receive an email with your scoring summary, faculty feedback, and—assuming you successfully completed the module—your Certificate of Completion.

 

Is there additional homework if I decide to take Aim4Excellence for college credit?

Those taking the modules for credit through National Louis University are required only to complete the evidence of learning included inside each module. Other institutions offering credit may require additional assignments or activities. Learn more about college credit options. Your work will be graded according to the institution’s standard grading scale.

Grading and Scores

Do I get a grade for each module?

Each module has a maximum point value of 100 points. Participants who are not taking modules for college credit are scored pass/fail. To successfully complete the module you need to earn 70 points or more on the Evidence of Learning. Once you have successfully completed the module, you will receive a Certificate of Completion for the module. Should you successfully complete all nine modules you will receive a certificate for your Aim4Excellence National Director Credential. Most students find that they can easily achieve a “passing” score by carefully reading the articles and handouts and providing thoughtful responses to the Evidence of Learning activities.

Note that if you are a scholarship recipient or are participating as a part of a group or cohort, your funder or sponsor may require a higher passing score.

 

Where can I go to find out the point value of each of the Evidence of Learning (EOLs) in a module?

At the bottom of the Evidence of Learning (EOL) window you’ll see a Summary button. By clicking this button you can access a summary of the EOLs included in the module, along with their point values. We encourage you to print this summary to have on hand as you work through the module. The EOL summary is a useful tool to help you determine which EOLs require the most attention. The summary also includes a sample rubric to give you a sense of how EOLs are scored. View a screenshot.

 

What happens if I fail to attain the minimum required score?

Should you fail to attain a total score of 70 points on the Evidence of Learning you submit, you will need to re-register and repay for that module in order to redo the module and achieve a Certificate of Completion.

 

What if I don’t care about receiving a Certificate of Completion for a module or pursuing the Aim4Excellence National Director Credential and just want to learn something about the topic. Can I still register?

Sure. It is perfectly fine to just audit a module. Note this on the form when you register for a specific module. In fact, this is a great way for resource and referral specialists, college instructors, and early childhood consultants to get an update on the management content covered in the specific Aim4Excellence modules. You’ll still need to complete the Pre-Assessment of Learning questionnaire that appears at the beginning of the module, though. When this item is submitted, it activates the rest of the content in the module.

 

Will the content of my answers remain confidential?

Yes. The Aim4Excellence faculty scorers are held to the highest ethical standards. You can feel confident to be honest in your reflections as your responses will remain confidential.

 

College Credit

What type of college credit is available?

The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership has partnered with a number of institutions to offer the Aim4Excellence modules for college credit. Both undergraduate and graduate-level options are available. Learn more about college credit options.

 

Is there additional homework if I decide to take Aim4Excellence for college credit?

Those taking the modules for credit through National Louis University are required only to complete the Evidence of Learning included inside each module. Other institutions offering credit may require additional assignments or requirements. Learn more about college credit options. Your work will be graded according to the institution’s standard grading scale.

 

Logging On

Do I need a username and password to log in to Aim4Excellence?

Yes. Once your registration and payment have been verified, you will be issued a username and password which you will use to log in. You have eight weeks from the time you first log into a module to complete that module. After eight weeks your password will no longer activate access to the module.

Note that if you are a scholarship recipient or are participating as a part of a group or cohort, your funder or sponsor may select to shorten the timeline in which you need to complete each module.

 

Research and Standards

Is the content of Aim4Excellence backed by research?

Yes. Aim4Excellence was developed in response to research consistently showing that directors’ effectiveness is directly related to their own level of formal education and specialized training in leadership and management. Five content specialists (all Ph.D.s with expertise in early childhood administration) wrote the content for the nine modules based on principles of instructional practice and the unique needs of this segment of adult learners. View references and read more about research supporting Aim4Excellence.

 

How does Aim4Excellence align with national standards?

Outcomes and assessments for Aim4Excellence are aligned with both the standards for initial licensure and advanced degree programs in early childhood teacher preparation. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) collaborated to establish joint standards that are used across both organizations’ accreditation systems and across associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree level. View a matrix of NCATE/NAEYC Standards and Aim4Excellence. Aim4Excellence also aligns with the Program Administration Scale (PAS). NAEYC recognizes Aim4Excellence as an alternative pathway for meeting part of the director qualifications for NAEYC program accreditation.

 

How does Aim4Excellence align with the Program Administration Scale (PAS)?

Drs. Paula Jorde Bloom and Teri Talan, authors of the PAS, were integral in the development of Aim4Excellence. Throughout the Aim4Excellence modules participants learn about and apply the best practices addressed in the PAS. View a matrix of the PAS items covered in Aim4Excellence.

Additionally, during Module 9: Evaluating Program Quality participants learn about the different administrative areas covered on the PAS and practice scoring items.

 

Learning Accommodations

What if it is hard for me to listen to a video for a long period of time or read things on my computer screen?

We certainly appreciate the fact that there are many different learning styles. That is one of the reasons why each module includes a complete transcript of what is said by the Host Instructor and Lead Authors. This transcript appears in the Resources Window of each module. All you’ll need to do is click and print.

 

I have a special need requiring accommodations to help me access and complete the modules. What resources are available to me?

The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University seeks to ensure that its programs are accessible to all persons. Students in need of special assistance or an accommodation regarding any of the course requirements as outlined above, the course objectives and/or course evaluation and assessment criteria, are advised to notify the McCormick Center before beginning a module. The student and McCormick Center staff member will discuss a resolution of the issue, which may or may not include an appropriate referral (e.g., a Writing Specialist; the Academic Accommodations Coordinator at the Office of Diversity, Access and Equity; or the Office of Student Affairs). Confidentiality is maintained regarding special needs.

Already registered and need technical help?  Help for Current Participants

Don’t see an answer to your question?  Contact the Help Desk

 

FAQ-Button