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Aim4Excellence is an online national director credential for early childhood administrators. More than 2,000 leaders across the country have earned this credential. Aim4Excellence modules can be taken for college credit or noncredit, used to help programs attain NAEYC accreditation, or linked state professional development or QRIS.
Aim4Excellence focuses on the essential knowledge and skills leaders need to deliver high-quality programming for young children. It is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as an alternative pathway for meeting part of the director qualifications for NAEYC program accreditation.
Participants can complete all nine, self-paced modules to earn the Aim4Excellence National Director Credential or select only one or a few to build competence in a specific management area. Participants can connect to Aim4Excellence anytime from anywhere they have Internet access. No special software or textbooks are required. Everything needed is included in the module registration fee.
An Aim4Excellence FAQ is below. Our HelpDesk is also available to answer questions, including how to renew your credential and how to partner with us to offer an Aim4Excellence cohort.
Undergraduate and graduate college credit is available for the Aim4Excellence" modules from the following institutions for an additional fee. Scholarships and financial aid may be available to help you cover the costs of taking Aim4Excellence for college credit.
The NLU Aim4Excellence courses are each five quarter hours and span two quarters (24 weeks). Participants taking these courses must abide by the following course schedule. Note that individual modules must be completed within eight weeks of the date of first log-in according to the Terms and Conditions. Because each course spans two terms, transcripts will reflect a grade for work completed at the end of the first quarter (“Part A” – 2 quarter hours) and a grade for work completed at the end of the second quarter (“Part B” – 3 quarter hours):
ECE311: Administration I | Leadership Strategies and Staff Development (Aim4Excellence Modules 1, 2, and 3)
ECE312: Administration II | Managing Center Operations and Finances (Aim4Excellence Modules 4, 5, and 6)
ECE313: Administration III | Implementing and Evaluating the Program (Aim4Excellence Modules 7,8, and 9)
5 quarter hours per course
$380 per course + the module registration fees.
Financial aid may be available to current NLU students. Learn more.
To get started, select the NLU college credit course(s) in the eLearning storefront.
A student may request a full refund for the NLU tuition fees through NLU. If you need to drop a course, you must do so in writing prior to the completion of the first module of the course and within seven days of the date of first log in.
Registration fees will not be refunded for modules already started. You may request in writing a refund of 50% of the module registration fee, as described in the Terms and Conditions, for modules not yet started.
All students enrolled in Aim4Excellence are subject to the Terms and Conditions of the program. Students registered to take the modules for credit through NLU are subject to the policies described in the NLU Student Guidebook.
(Requires completion of Aim4Excellence Modules 1, 2, and 3)
(Requires completion of Aim4Excellence Modules 4, 5, and 6)
(Requires completion of Aim4Excellence Modules 7, 8, and 9)
3 semester hours per course
USI standard tuition and fees + the module registration fees
T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® INDIANA will pay part of the USI tuition costs for eligible Indiana students.
Additional financial aid may be available to assist with costs.
Prior to registering for the Aim4Excellence modules, contact Yajuan (Vivian) Xiang at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812.461.5321 to enroll.
Note that this credit option is available to Montana residents only.
$260 per course + the module registration fees
Prior to registering for the Aim4Excellence modules, contact Ryann Gibson, at 406.683.7537.
4 semester hours per course
UND standard tuition and fees + the module registration fees
Interested participants should contact Jo-Anne Yearwood to get started at 701.777.3947.
What do you need to know before you begin the Aim4Excellence™ modules? We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help.
The McCormick Center partners with professional development organizations around the country to offer facilitated cohorts of Aim4Excellence™ participants.
Cohorts blend the benefits of online learning with the power of facilitated face-to-face interactions to promote communities of practice. Communities of practice have been shown to support the integration of new knowledge, provoke critical thinking, challenge old assumptions, and develop leadership skills.
If you do all the readings and assignments associated with each module, it should take approximately 16 hours to complete.
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 elect to shorten the timeline in which you need to complete each module.
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.
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. If you are enrolled in college credit, please note that your original scores will be submitted for your grade. Please email McCormickCenterHelpDesk@nl.edu to request an extension in writing.
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.
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.
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.
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. Please note that if you are taking the modules for college credit, you must complete them in sequence within a course.
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.
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.
In order to maintain a valid credential, Aim4Excellence™ credentialed directors must renew every five years. Please reach out to our Help Desk to learn more about the renewal process.
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, the credential will not be sent without the $10.00 fee paid in full.
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.
The Aim4Excellence™ module 5 requires Adobe Flash Player. Presently, Apple iPad® and iPhone® do not run Adobe Flash Player. That said, you will want to access module 5 from your computer or from an Android™ device. The rest of the modules can be accessed on a tablet or a smartphone. However, we strongly recommend using a device with a full-size screen and keyboard for ease of use.
All of the Aim4Excellence™ modules include a variety of evidence of learning assignments such as reflections, exercises, classroom observations, and yes, quizzes.
You will need to download the evidence of learning assignments as PDFs, save them to your computer, complete them, and upload them back into the system in order to submit them for review. The modules include specific instructions on how to complete and upload the assignments.
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.
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.
Each module has a maximum score of 100%. Participants who are not taking modules for college credit are scored pass/fail. To successfully complete the module you need to earn 70% 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.
In the module, you will see a Summary listed between the outline and the transcript. This document includes a list of the EOLs, along with their percentage 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.
Should you fail to attain a total score of 70% 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.
Sure. It is perfectly fine to just audit a module. If you wish to audit a module, please email your request to McCormickCenterHelpDesk@nl.edu or call our helpdesk at 844.378.2464. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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™.
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.
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.
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. Each module includes a transcript. All you’ll need to do is click and print.
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.