GACE Elementary Education Ultimate Guide and Practice Test
Preparing to take the GACE Elementary Education exam?
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GACE Elementary Education Test Overview
GACE Elementary Education Quick Facts
The GACE Elementary Education assessment measures the professional knowledge of prospective teachers of Elementary Education (Pre-K – Grade 5). The assessment, which is specifically for individuals in the state of Georgia, includes two subtests. You can take the tests individually or the whole assessment within a single session. The questions in the assessment address basic content knowledge, as well as the ability to apply teaching principles.
Check out the screenshot below for details about the time that you will have to take each test, the number of questions you’ll answer, and the question types you’ll see.
You may choose to take Test I and Test II during separate testing sessions or take both tests in a combined session. You’ll save money by taking both tests at once, but you should consider that the Combined Test option also means that you will need to be prepared to sit through a longer exam session. Keep this information in mind so that you can choose the option that’s best for you.
Test I: $123.00
Test II: $123.00
Combined Test: $193.00
The $25.00 registration fee and $28.00 test center fee are included in these costs.
Possible scores range from 100 to 300. The passing score for the GACE Elementary Education assessment is 220.
Your score report will include a “Passed” or ”Not Passed” status, and it will also indicate whether you passed at the induction level (with a score of 220-250) or at the professional level (with a score of 250-300).
The amount of time you will need to spend preparing for the GACE Elementary Education exam depends upon your existing content knowledge. It is important to pass both Test I and Test II, because there is no composite score option for passing the exam.
One way to determine your aptitude for the GACE Elementary Education exam is to use 240Tutoring materials and practice questions to gage your understanding of the contents of the exam. Which concepts do you struggle with the most?
After identifying your areas of need, you can use 240Tutoring tools to strengthen your knowledge of these concepts until you’re ready for the big day! Remember, it’s best to spend some time studying each day instead of cramming for the exam shortly before you take it. That way, you’ll retain what you learn and you’ll also have less stress during the exam.
What test takers wish they would’ve known:
- It’s a great strategy to track your time while taking the GACE Elementary Education tests. You can monitor your time by periodically checking the timer in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
- Test-takers tend to overestimate their abilities to perform well on GACE assessments. Many students regret not putting more time and effort into preparing for GACE assessments beforehand. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this mistake by using test preparation materials early. If you’re reading this, you’re already starting off on the right foot!
- Because time management is crucial, skip questions that you find extremely difficult and move forward to questions that you find easier to answer. Don’t worry, you can mark the questions you skip as you take the test. Try to finish the other questions with 10 to 15 minutes remaining and use that extra time to return to the more challenging questions. If you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than to leave a question blank.
- When answering the selected-response questions, you should read all possible answers before marking the correct one. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the best answer by not reading all of the responses!
- You’ll feel more confident in your ability to perform well on Test I and Test II if you check out GACE’s free guide to taking computerized tests.
Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS GACE website: https://gace.ets.org/prepare/materials/501
Test I is comprised of three subareas:
- Reading and Language Arts
- Social Studies
Subarea I: Reading and Language Arts
The Reading and Language Arts subarea makes up about 50% of Test I.
This part has five objectives:
- Literature and Informational Text
- Reading Foundational Skills
- Speaking, Listening, and Presenting
- Grammar and Vocabulary
So, let’s start with Literature and Informational Text.
Literature and Informational Text
This objective tests your knowledge of how to evaluate and improve student’s reading abilities. You’ll be asked questions related to the structures of informational texts, the use of context clues, vocabulary-building skills, and story elements.
Let’s take a look at some concepts that may appear on the real test.
Expository Text Structures
The following list gives an overview of some common expository (informational) text structures. Understanding the structure of a text gives students the ability to understand how information in the text relates. Interacting with a wide range of text structures builds students’ abilities to read, write, and learn about subjects from all areas of the curriculum.
Here are a few examples of expository text structures:
- Description: In this type of text, the author describes a topic in detail. One example of a descriptive text is an encyclopedia article about tree frogs.
- Sequence of Events: The author uses a chronological order to show the sequence in which events happen or should occur. An example of this type of text is a passage describing how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- List: The author uses numerical or chronological order to list items or ideas. For example, most recipes begin with a list of ingredients.
- Compare and Contrast: The author compares and/or contrasts two or more events, objects, or other ideas. A comparison shows how two ideas are alike. When an author contrasts ideas, he/she is showing you how the ideas are different. A web page explaining the differences between cheetahs and leopards is an example of this type of text.
- Cause and Effect: The author introduces one or more causes and then describes the effects of the cause(s). Students should be able to differentiate between causes and effects. A news article about how a hurricane caused a flood is an example of this type of writing.
- Problem and Solution: The author describes a problem or asks a question and then gives possible answers or solutions. An example of this type of writing is a chapter in a health book that tells children how to deal with sunburns.
Context clues are hints that an author inserts into a text to help readers determine the meaning of a word or phrase. Students should be taught to use context clues when they encounter a difficult word. When a difficult word is encountered, a reader should consider what the information surrounding that word is saying.
Here are a few examples of how to use context clues to find the meaning of unknown words:
- Definition clues: The author gives the meaning of a term outright. Consider the term “eastern white pine” in the example below.
“The eastern white pine, a type of tree with long white needles, remains green even in winter.”
Notice that you need no knowledge of eastern white pines to determine that they are a type of tree.
- Synonym clues: The author includes a synonym to help the reader understand the meaning of a word.
“That dog is just horrible! She tore into the birthday presents and ruined the rug. I cannot believe what a bad dog she is.”
In this example, “bad” helps the reader determine the meaning of “horrible.”
- Antonym clues: The author includes an antonym to help the reader understand the meaning of a word.
“The top of the table was illuminated, but the rest of the room was dark.”
In this example, “dark” helps the reader determine the meaning of “illuminated.”
The main elements of a fiction story are the setting, characters, problem/conflict, and solution/resolution. Students should be able to identify each of these elements and explain how they impact one another. In order to explore this concept a little more, we’ll examine the fairytale of The Three Little Pigs.
- Setting: When and where does the story occur?
In this case, the story occurs in a few different locations: a house made of straw, a house made of sticks, and a house made of bricks. The “when” may vary depending upon the version of the story you’re reading, but for our purposes, we can say “a long time ago” or “last Tuesday;” you get the idea!
- Characters: Who is in the story?The characters in the story are the three pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.
- Conflict:What is the main problem in the story?The Big Bad Wolf harrasses the pigs by trying to enter their homes without their consent. Maybe he’s trying to eat them, but he might just be a nosy neighbor.
- Resolution: How is the problem solved?Eventually, the pigs enter a brick home. Though gifted with amazing lung capacity, the wolf is unable to blow down this new house which shelters the pigs. No pork chops for the bad guy!
Reading Foundational Skills
This objective tests your ability to understand key ideas relevant to the foundations of literacy, reading development, and early orthographic development. You will be tested on your knowledge of phonological awareness, phonics, and word-recognition skills. The test will also assess your understanding of the role of fluency in supporting comprehension.
Take a look at these concepts.
Early Orthographic Development
Orthographic processing is how words appear visually to readers; you might depend in part on orthographic processing to quickly know that “dog” is a real word while “dgo” is not. The ability to automatically process strings of letters as words develops over time as readers gain experience with words.
Let’s take a look at the stages of early orthographic development together:
- Emergent Stage
(Ages 1-7 and/or Pre-kindergarten to middle first grade)
At this stage, the student conveys thoughts by scribbling, drawing shapes, and writing letter-like forms. Sometimes, one letter is used to represent an entire word. The student generally lacks knowledge of the alphabet and lacks left-to-right directionality in writing. At this stage of development, writing only conveys meaning for the student who wrote it.
- Letter Name-Alphabetic Stage
(Ages 4-7 and/or Kindergarten to middle second grade)
At this point, students begin to understand letter-sound correspondences (the idea that sounds in spoken words correspond to letters). During this stage, students are learning to become phonemic spellers. For example, they may use single letters to represent sounds, words, and syllables (e.g., “I” for “eye”).
- Word Pattern Stage
(Ages 6-12 and/or First to middle fourth grade)
Students at this stage spell most single-syllable words correctly. At this stage of development, they begin using long vowel markers in their spelling (e.g., “gaim” for “game”). During this stage, students begin reading with greater speed and can read silently. They can also begin to write extended texts.
Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize and work with spoken language. Keep in mind that phonological awareness refers to what students hear, not what they read. Long before children learn to read, they learn the meaning of spoken words. This important auditory skill is actually the very beginning of learning to read!
There are a lot of activities that you can use to teach phonological awareness. Here are a few examples:
- Teaching nursery rhymes
- Reading stories with rhyming words aloud to students
- Helping students count out the syllables in a word
- Asking students to identify alliterative phrases
- Asking students what new word is made when a new phoneme (unit of sound) is put in front of an existing word
In order to be fluent in the English language, students must first develop automaticity. Automaticity is the ability to automatically recognize words, instead of sounding them out.
It’s important to remember that fluency is not a particular milestone. Fluency varies over time and depends upon the text. Even a proficient reader may read unfamiliar words slowly.
Once students reach fluency, they move beyond labored decoding and are able to think more deeply about the meaning of the text. It is after achieving fluency that students really begin to enjoy reading. At this point, reading is automatic and no longer a complicated chore.
There are multiple ways to boost and monitor fluency. Here are a few ideas:
- Try “round-robin” style reading in your classroom
- Partner students and have them listen to one another read
- Give students periods of time in which to read silently, at their own pace
- Ask students to record themselves while reading
- Direct students to read the same text more than once
This objective tests your knowledge of the writing process and on how to use writing tools and resource materials. You will demonstrate that you know how to help students write clearly and coherently. You’ll also be asked about applying the stages of the writing process to compose various styles of writing, such as persuasive writing. This section of the exam will also allow you to show that you are able to promote students’ use of resource materials and digital tools to produce writing.
Take a look at some concepts that may appear on the test.
The Writing Process
No matter what type of writing you are teaching (whether formal or informal), there are usually basic steps that are followed. With formal writing assignments, these steps are called the writing process. The writing process includes the following five steps:
- Prewriting: This is the “planning” step of the writing process, when students brainstorm, research, and gather ideas. During this phase, students often use diagrams for mapping out their thoughts.
- Drafting: Students create a rough draft by writing down their ideas in an organized way to convey ideas or to present arguments.
- Revising: Students will review and modify their drafts during this phase. During the revision phase, students rearrange, add, and/or delete content. It is important that students receive feedback from a teacher or peer before revising their drafts.
- Editing: At this point in the writing process, students will proofread and correct errors in grammar.
- Publishing: During this phase, the final drafts are shared with others. Sharing can be implemented in a variety of ways. For example, students can use computers to share their work online with classmates.
Persuasive writing is a type of non-fiction writing used to convince readers to agree with the writer about a topic. Authors, including student writers, use persuasive writing to change the minds of readers about a topic. Students should be directed to use facts to support their opinions. For more helpful pointers, read other tips for teaching persuasive writing below:
Tips for Teaching Persuasive Writing:
- Ask students to brainstorm and list ideas to strengthen their arguments
- Ask students to think of potential counterarguments and how to address them
- Remind students that statements, like “just because” or “because I think so,” are not valid arguments
- Teach students to write strong topic sentences and conclusions which summarize their arguments
- Direct students to use persuasive phrases, such as “wouldn’t you agree,” “have you honestly considered,” and “evidence shows”
Digital Tools for Writing
Information and digital literacy are just as important as language literacy. Fortunately, digital tools can help students improve their language literacy.
Let’s take a quick look together at some examples:
- Students can use tools such as Edmodo, Seesaw, and Google Docs to share their writing with others.
- Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and many other platforms include built-in spell-check tools.
- A variety of online thesauruses and dictionaries can allow students to use precise language in their writing.
- Many online resources can provide students with examples of formal writing upon which to base their own informational or narrative texts. A few helpful sites for this purpose include TweenTribune.com, Time Magazine for Kids (timeforkids.com), KidsHealth.org, Curriculet.org, and FreeChildrenStories.com.
Speaking, Listening, and Presenting
This objective tests your knowledge of how to facilitate student listening and participation in verbal communication about grade-appropriate topics. It will also test your knowledge of ways to help students develop skills necessary for speaking, listening, and presenting appropriately to an audience, including peers.
Here are some concepts that are likely to pop up on the test.
So, what’s active listening, anyway? Active listening is the act of giving full attention to the speaker in order to understand the complete message being relayed.
An active listener may show verbal or nonverbal signs of listening. Making related comments and asking related questions are verbal signs of active listening. Non-verbal signs of active listening include nodding, facing the speaker, and avoiding distractions, such as side conversations.
You can reinforce your students’ active listening skills by encouraging them to
follow these 5 rules:
- Maintain eye contact.
- Do not interrupt the speaker.
- Ask questions to achieve clarification.
- Repeat information given by the speaker.
- Listen for the speaker’s total meaning.
How can you improve your students’ speaking and listening skills? Implement some of the following activities:
- Read stories to your students. Ask them to make predictions.
- Allow your students to engage in group conversations. This gives your students an opportunity to practice both speaking skills and listening skills.
- Play the telephone game. Have one student whisper a sentence to the next student. Each student repeats the sentence to the next. Ask the final student to say the sentence aloud to see how much the sentence has changed during the game.
- Create a list of questions with your students to ask one another in small groups. After each student in the group has answered, see how many answers the others can remember.
- Play the “spot the change” game. Read students a short story or an article. Then read it again, changing some details. Each time your students hear a change, they can clap or raise their hand.
Presentation skills need to be taught from an early age, before students really have an awareness of “being in the spotlight.” By presenting to others at a young age, students can avoid stage fright and develop the natural skills needed to give engaging presentations. Activities like conducting “show and tell,” reenacting events or stories, and sharing slideshows can each help students become accustomed to giving presentations.
Here are some pointers for helping students give engaging presentations:
- Make sure that students thoroughly research topics before giving classroom presentations
- Encourage students to use visuals
- Ask students to make eye contact with classmates and to speak clearly and at an appropriate volume
- Tell students to avoid vocal interruptions, such as “uh,” and “um”
- Model good presentation skills for students
- Teach students to use technology to enhance presentations with sounds, videos, and graphics
Grammar and Vocabulary
This objective tests your knowledge of English grammar, punctuation, and spelling. As an elementary educator, you will teach students to use these skills when writing, reading, speaking, and listening. During this section of the exam, you’ll also be tested on your ability to teach vocabulary words and skills to students.
Let’s look at some specific concepts that you are likely to see on the test.
Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different meanings and different spellings. Understanding homophones helps build students’ vocabulary and spelling skills.
Here are a few examples of homophones:
Now, let’s try an example question:
A student hears the word “break,” but he writes down the word “brake” instead. This is an example of why students need to learn to differentiate between different ________.
A. homophones (correct answer)
When writing and speaking, students should use verbs and subjects that agree. When a subject is plural, the verb describing its action should also be plural. If a subject is singular, the corresponding verb should also be singular. Let’s look at some examples:
Incorrect: The cups is on the desk.
Correct: The cups are on the desk.
Incorrect: The rock are under a tree.
Correct: The rock is under a tree.
Incorrect: My mom, along with my aunts, were cooking dinner.
Correct: My mom, along with my aunts, was cooking dinner.
Incorrect: Everyone are going to the party.
Correct: Everyone is going to the party.
And that’s some basic info about the Reading and Language Arts subarea.
Subarea II: Social Studies
The Social Studies subarea makes up about 25% of Test I.
This part has four sections:
- Information Processing Skills
- Government, Civics, and Economics
So, let’s start with Information Processing Skills.
Information Processing Skills
This objective tests your ability to help students find, analyze, and apply information about social studies topics, including information from primary sources.
Primary versus Secondary Sources
You should be able to teach students the difference between primary and secondary sources and how to gather and analyze information from both. If you’ve forgotten the difference between these two types of sources, don’t worry – here’s a quick review:
Primary sources are first-hand accounts of a topic. Secondary sources are any sources that are not primary sources. Examples of primary sources are interviews, speeches, and paintings. Keep in mind that secondary sources can be based on primary sources or on other secondary sources.
Here are a few tips for incorporating primary and secondary sources as you teach social studies:
- Take advantage of the Internet. Today, it is easier than ever for social studies teachers to teach students how to find primary resources. You teach students to use online tools such as databases and the Library of Congress website (https://www.loc.gov) to search for information.
- Allow students to experience multiple formats of primary and secondary sources. Introduce students to videos, online articles and magazines, social studies games designed for tablets, and sound clips.
- Ask students to compare primary and secondary resources. After presenting students with a primary resource, ask them to search for a secondary resource about the same topic. Students can then compare and contrast the two resources.
- Create opportunities to test students’ understanding of primary versus secondary sources. Provide students with examples of primary and secondary resources. Ask them to determine which category each example belongs in and explain how they know.
This objective tests your knowledge of the important people historical figures and events which are considered significant to the United States and to Georgia. Students should understand why historically significant people and events are important.
Let’s look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the real test.
The Stamp Act
The Stamp Act was passed on March 22, 1765, when America was still a British colony. The British Parliament required American colonists to pay a tax on all printed paper. As a result, American colonists paid taxes on licenses, newspapers, and even playing cards. The money collected by the Stamp Act was to be used to help pay the costs of defending and protecting the American frontier near the Appalachian Mountains (10,000 troops were to be stationed on the American frontier for this purpose).
Previously, taxes were placed on colony members as a way to regulate commerce, not as a way to raise money. The Stamp Act was created for the purpose of raising money to defend the American frontier.
The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first democratically-elected legislative entity in the American colonies. In 1765, the Virginia House of Burgesses adopted Patrick Henry’s Stamp Act Resolves. The Stamp Act Resolves declared that American colonists had the same rights as British people and that anyone taxing Virginians against their consent was an enemy of the colony. Virginia Governor Fauquier did not approve of the Resolves, and he dissolved the House of Burgesses in response.
However, after months of protest and an appeal by Benjamin Franklin, the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an important American figure because of his relentless activism during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. King led non-violent protests to fight for all Americans, including African Americans. He was considered one of the best orators of modern times, and he is best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave in 1963 during the “March on Washington.”
The “March on Washington” was extremely successful. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, a year after the march.
Dr. King died as a hate crime victim in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. While he stood on a hotel room balcony, he was shot and killed by James Earl Ray. King’s death is considered a terrible American tragedy and his life is celebrated on the 3rd Monday each January.
James Oglethorpe was born December 22, 1696 in Surrey, England. He is most known for founding the colony of Georgia. Oglethorpe was originally a soldier in the British army. After deciding to end his military career, he followed his father and became a member of Parliament.
In the early 1700s, England had problems with unemployment and poverty. Oglethorpe, however, proposed a solution to King George II. Oglethorpe suggested that a new British colony be established between South Carolina and Florida. This new colony would consist of unemployed and low-income British citizens.
In 1732, his idea was approved. The new colony was named Georgia after King George II. In 1733, Oglethorpe and the first settlers established the city of Savannah. Savannah became the capital of Georgia. Oglethorpe led the Trustees of Georgia and is generally considered to be Georgia’s first governor.
During the next few years, the British colony of Georgia faced attacks from the Spanish colony of Florida. In 1740, Georgia invaded Florida and attempted to capture the city of St. Augustine but was unsuccessful. In 1742, Oglethorpe defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
Oglethorpe returned to England in 1743 when Parliament paid him back for the personal money he had used to help establish Georgia. James Oglethorpe died on June 30, 1785 in Cranham, England.
This section tests your knowledge of geographical concepts concerning Georgia, the United States, and the world.
Here are some concepts that may appear on the real test.
Major Rivers in Georgia
Georgia has seven major rivers. Let’s take a look at each one now:
- The Altamaha River: This river, which is located in South Georgia, is the largest river in Georgia. It was named for a Native American chief, Altamaha. In the early days of Georgia’s history, several large cotton plantations were located along the banks of Altamaha. This river creates several marsh and swamp habitats in the Coastal Plain region of Georgia. A variety of wildlife, including turtles and alligators, make their home in the Altamaha.
- The Chattahoochee River: Over half of Georgia’s population depends upon this river as a main source of water. The Chattahoochee River begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains, flows through Atlanta, and finally meets and joins the Flint river.
- The Flint River: The Flint River is 344 miles long and drains an area of 8,460 square miles of western Georgia. Near the Florida state line, at Bainbridge, the Flint River connects to Lake Seminole.
- The Ocmulgee River: This river begins near Atlanta in North Central Georgia. The sections of the Ocmulgee on the Coastal Plain are popular with fishermen.
- The Oconee River: The Oconee River is home to several state-protected species of fish. This river begins in Northeast Georgia and flows south, where it joins the Ocmulgee River. Together, both rivers form the Altamaha River.
- The Savannah River: The Savannah River begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains and forms most of the border between South Carolina and Georgia. Two major cities are located along the river: Savannah, Georgia and Augusta, Georgia. They were the central part of English Settlements in early Georgia history. In 1733, James Oglethorpe built the first Georgia settlement in Savannah.
- St. Marys River: The area around this river was home to many early Spanish settlers. St. Marys River begins as a small stream in the Okefenokee Swamp and it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. More than 65 different species of fish have been identified in this river.
Maps versus Globes
Both maps and globes deserve a place in the classroom. The main importance of a globe is that it allows students to develop a better sense of perspective and to see that the world is round. Globes are typically used when discussing modern-day geography and events and understanding the world as a whole.
Maps, including digital maps, are more useful when discussing specific places. For example, a map of Georgia would be more useful than a globe when teaching students about Georgia’s rivers. Maps are also very useful when teaching students about the past. A map can show how the world has changed in terms of political boundaries, population growth, forest density, and a number of other specific topics.
Types of Landforms
Here are a few types of landforms that you’ll need to know about as you take the test:
- Mountains: A mountain is a landform that is elevated above its surroundings. It has peaks at the top and is sometimes covered in snow at its highest altitudes.
- Canyons: A canyon, such as the Grand Canyon, is a narrow, steep valley which is carved out by water. Some canyons still have rivers flowing through them.
- Hills: A hill is similar to a mountain, but it is not as large. Usually, a hill has a rounded top.
- Valleys: Valleys are low-lying spaces around mountains. Sometimes, valleys are caused by the movement of the earth’s crust.
- Plateaus: A plateau is similar to a mountain, but it has a flat top instead of peaks.
Government, Civics, and Economics
This objective tests your knowledge of the economy, good citizenship, and the government.
Let’s look at some specific concepts.
The Four Major Sectors of the U.S. Economy
Let’s look at the four major sectors of the U.S. economy.
- Household: This is the simplest form of economy. Household economy refers to the production of goods for one’s own consumption. For example, think of gardening or making clothes by hand.
- Private business: Private businesses create job opportunities and boost the economy by promoting consumerism.
- Banks: Banks lend money to businesses and individuals. They can also make investments, which in turn boosts other sectors of the economy.
- Government: The government uses people’s taxes in order to provide for them. The government also regulates banks and private businesses.
Opportunity cost is an important concept in economics. It relates to the basic relationship between scarcity and choice. When an individual or business makes a choice and gives up other options, the individual or business experiences an opportunity cost.
For example, imagine going to a sandwich shop, where each sandwich costs the same amount of money. You usually choose a turkey sandwich, but today you choose a cheese sandwich.
So, what’s the opportunity cost? The cheese sandwich does not cost you any extra money, but it does cost you the experience of eating the turkey sandwich. Missing out on that experience is the opportunity cost. When asked to find the opportunity cost on the test, just look for what an individual or business loses when a choice is made.
The Four Types of Productive Resources
The following are the four basic types of productive resources:
- Land: Natural resources such as gold, diamonds, and oil
- Labor: Human resources; wage-earning workers
- Capital: Factories and equipment used to produce goods, such as assembly lines, trucks, and heavy-duty machinery
- Entrepreneurship: The ability to organize the other three resources; people who start businesses are entrepreneurs (ex. Steve Jobs)
And that’s some basic info about the Social Studies subarea.
Subarea III: Analysis
The Analysis subarea makes up about 25% of Test I.
This part has two sections:
- English Language Arts Instruction
- Social Studies Instruction
So, let’s start with English Language Arts Instruction.
English Language Arts Instruction
Your English Language Arts constructed-response essay will receive a score between 0 and 3. Here’s a look at the rubric:
Be sure to read each constructed-response question carefully before you begin writing your response. Organize your thoughts and form a plan before writing to ensure that you address all components. You should write according to the standard conventions of written English and use details as needed to support your ideas. Read over your essay after you have completed it to check for spelling, grammar, and general clarity.
Here’s an example of an English Language Arts constructed-response question:
A third-grade class is exploring the theme of friendship in language arts. One of the stories the class will be reading is Angelina and Alice by Katherine Holabird. The book is about two friends who help each other learn gymnastic tricks to perform at the town fair. The friends learn that by working together and helping each other, they not only improve their performance, but also become closer friends.
- Describe ONE instructional technique or strategy that you would use during the reading of the story to enhance the students’ comprehension of the theme.
- Explain what you would do to determine if the strategy was successful in helping the students understand the theme.
Social Studies Instruction
Your Social Studies constructed-response essay will be scored using the same rubric as your English Language Arts constructed-response essay:
Just like the English Language Arts constructed-response essay, be sure to read each question carefully before you begin writing your response. Organize your thoughts and form a plan before writing to ensure that you address all components. You should write according to the standard conventions of written English and use details as needed to support your ideas. Read over your essay after you have completed it to check for spelling, grammar, and general clarity.
Here’s an example of a Social Studies constructed-response question:
1. Scenario: A second-grade teacher gives students the following assignment:
Put the important events in the history of Alaska in order by year.
- 1867 – United States buys Alaska from Russia.
- 1959 – Alaska is granted statehood.
- 1896 – Gold is discovered in Alaska.
- 1912 – Alaska becomes a United States territory.
- 1989 – Exxon Valdez oil spill takes place.
2. Draw a timeline with a scale.
3. Put the events on your timeline.
- Evaluate the student’s work, listing strengths and errors.
- Explain how you would help the student correct one of the errors
And that’s some basic info about the Analysis subarea.
Test II is comprised of three subareas:
- Health Education, Physical Education, and the Arts
Subarea I: Mathematics
The Mathematics subarea makes up about 53% of Test II.
This part has six objectives:
- Number Sense
- Algebraic Thinking
- Place Value
- Measurement and Data
So, let’s start with Number Sense.
This objective tests your knowledge of comparing, ordering, and connecting numbers to quantities. You will be asked questions about topics such as ordering real numbers, comparing numbers, and finding common factors.
Let’s take a look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Ordering Real Numbers
Most numbers are real numbers. A real number might have a positive value, a negative value, or be equal to zero. By contrast, an imaginary number, such as infinity, does not fit into any of those three categories.
The easiest way to order real numbers is to convert any numbers containing fractions to decimals and then plot the numbers on a number line. Let’s look at an example together:
You are given the following numbers:
-½, .5, 1¼ , 2.75
Let’s convert them each to decimals:
-.5, .5, 1.25, 2.75
Now, it’s easy to plot the numbers on a number line!
Whether you are comparing whole numbers, fractions, decimals, or mixed numbers (a whole number which also includes a fraction or decimal), you will use the same comparison symbols:
Less than: <
2 < 5
.10 < .20
5 ½ < 10 ¾
½ < ¾
Greater than: >
21 > 5
.10 > .01
51 ½ > 2 ¾
½ > ⅓
Equal to: =
2 = 2
.5 = ½
3 ¾ = 3.75
⅓ = ⅓
Greatest Common Factor
To prepare for this section of your test, you should review common factors and multiples. The GCF (greatest common factor) is the greatest factor that can be used to divide two numbers. In order to determine the GCF of two numbers, list the prime factors of each number. Then, multiply the prime factors that the numbers have in common in order to find your answer.
Imagine that you are asked to determine the greatest common factor shared by 12 and 18. Let’s factor these two numbers:
12 = 2 x 2 x 3
18 = 2 x 3 x 3
Both 12 and 18 have at least one 2 and at least one 3. So, let’s multiply to find the greatest common factor:
2 x 3 = 6
The greatest common factor of 12 and 18 is 6.
This section tests your ability to teach students to understand and solve equations, use the order of operations, and solve addition and subtraction problems. You’ll also be tested on your ability to help students gain the basics of multiplication and division, as well as understand the fundamentals of simple algebraic patterns.
Here are some concepts you should know.
Solving for x
While completing the Algebraic Thinking portion, you’ll need to work with some very simple variables. Variables don’t have to be scary! Just remember that a variable is a stand-in for a number. Most variables are represented by letters, such as “x.”
In this portion of the test, you’ll be asked to solve equations to find out the value of variables. Here’s an example:
Solve for x:
4x – 2 = 2x + 8
To solve this equation, you need to bring like terms to one side:
4x – 2x = 2 + 8
Add and subtract on each side:
2x = 10
And divide each side by 2 to find the value of x:
x = 5
Order of Operations
“PEMDAS” is the acronym that teachers often use to teach the order of operations. It stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction. The mnemonic phrase, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” can help students remember PEMDAS.
Here’s a simple example problem:
7 + 5 – (4 × 2)
Solve what’s in the parentheses first:
7 + 5 – 8
Now, we’ll add:
12 – 8
Then, we’ll subtract to get our answer:
Patterns are groups of things that repeat in predictable ways. Algebraic patterns are number patterns based on addition or subtraction. You can use addition or subtraction to predict the next numbers in the pattern. Here’s an example:
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ___, ___
Let’s use addition to figure out the next two numbers in the pattern. Since 1 + 2 = 3 and 2 + 3 = 5, we know that this pattern requires us to add the previous two numbers to find the next number.
Now, let’s add 8 + 13 to get 21. Next, we’ll add 13 + 21 to get 34. Here’s our finished pattern:
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34
This objective tests your knowledge of, well, place value! Simply put, place value refers to the numerical value of a digit as determined by its place in a number. For example, a digit in the “tens place” has more value than a digit in the “ones place.” You’ll also need to be prepared to answer questions related to the associative property of addition.
Let’s look at some concepts.
Associative Property of Addition
The associative property of addition states that you can add numbers regardless of how they are grouped in parentheses. Remember the order of operations? If every operation is the same (addition), you will get the same answer regardless of how the numbers are grouped.
Here’s an example:
(2+3) + 5 + (1+3) = 2 + (3+5) + 1 + 3
Regardless of where we put the parentheses, the answer will always be 14.
Let’s take a look at place value, which we’ve recently discussed as the numerical value of a digit in accordance with its place in a number.
Let’s use an example number: 20,154.376
Here’s a place value chart to help us determine the value of each of those 8 digits:
By looking at the table, you can tell that the “1” is actually greater than the “5.” That’s because the “1” stands for “100” and the “5” stands for “50.” Now you’ve had a brief refresher on place value!
This objective tests your ability to teach students to recognize fractions as numbers. You’ll be tested on both your knowledge of dividing and multiplying fractions by other fractions and whole numbers.
Here are some concepts that may pop up on the test.
Multiplying Fractions by Other Fractions
In order to multiply a fraction by another fraction, multiply the numerators (on top) to get the new numerator. Next, multiply the denominators (on the bottom) to get the new denominator.
Here’s an example:
1/5 x 2/3
In this case, you’ll multiply the 1 and the 2 and you’ll multiply the 5 and the 3.
Here’s our answer:
Multiplying Fractions by Whole Numbers
This process is pretty much the same as multiplying a fraction by a fraction. In order to multiply a fraction by a whole number, just add a 1 under the whole number so that it has a numerator. Take a look at this example:
5 x 8/10 is the same as 5/1 x 8/10
Now, we will multiply the 5 and the 8. Then, you’ll multiply the 1 and the 10.
40/10 is our answer.
We can simplify this answer by dividing 40 by 10 to get 4.
Dividing Fractions by Other Fractions
When presented with a question that asks you to divide one fraction by another fraction, keep in mind that dividing fractions is just multiplying fractions by their reciprocals (inverses). Once your multiplication problem is set up, you will multiply your numerators, then your denominators.
What might this look like on the test? Here’s an example:
8/6 ÷ 2/3
First, set up your multiplication problem:
8/6 x 3/2
And multiply to find your answer:
24/12 or 2
Dividing Fractions by Whole Numbers
In order to divide a fraction by a whole number, all you need to do is multiply the bottom number of the fraction by the whole number. Here’s an example:
½ ÷ 3
Now, let’s multiply:
You have your answer!
Measurement and Data
This objective tests your knowledge of data, including mean, median, and mode. You’ll also be asked questions about measuring angles. During this section of the test, you’ll also show your understanding of measurable objects and answer questions related to perimeter, area, and volume.
Let’s look at some concepts that may appear on the test.
Measures of Central Tendency
This area of the test will ask questions about measures of central tendency, such as mean, median, and mode. Take a look at the following set of numbers:
2, 2.5, 3, 3, 3.5, 7
The mean is the average. Add all of the numbers in the set together and then divide by the amount of numbers in the set (in this case 6). The mean of this list is 3.5.
The mode is the number that occurs most in the set. In this case, the only number that appears more than once is 3. Therefore, 3 is the mode.
The median is the number that appears in the middle of the list when the numbers are ordered from least to greatest. What do you do if you have an even amount of numbers and no “middle” number? You add the two numbers in the center and divide them by two. Since 3 + 3 = 6 and 6/2 = 3, 3 is the median of this particular set.
Perimeter and Area
Perimeter and area are similar, but are not quite the same. Perimeter is the distance around a figure. To find the perimeter of a figure, add the lengths of all the sides. For example, if a square garden plot is 10ft on each side, you can add all four sides to determine the perimeter of the plot is 40ft.
To find the area of the plot, you will need to determine the square footage of the plot. The area is found by multiplying two dimensions, length and width. The length and width of the plot are both 10. Since 10 x 10 = 100, the area of the plot is 100 square feet.
A great way to promote students’ understanding of perimeter and area is to provide them with visuals. This can be done by giving students an actual object to look at and measure, such as a lid or a piece of paper. Other times, it might be more helpful to provide them with a graphic, such as the one below:
This objective tests your knowledge of coordinate planes, two-dimensional shapes, and three-dimensional shapes. During this portion of the test, you will show that you know how to graph points on a coordinate plane. You’ll also classify shapes and angles.
Let’s look at some concepts.
Graphing Points on the Coordinate Plane
A coordinate plane is a two-dimensional number line. On a coordinate plane, the vertical line is called the y-axis and the horizontal line is called the x-axis. The lines on a coordinate plane are perpendicular and intersect at the zero point. This point is called the origin.
Let’s look at an example of how to graph a point on a coordinate plane. To graph the point (2, 4), you need to know that the first number is always x and the second number is always y (x, y).
Start at the origin (0,0). Now, count over to the “2” on the x-axis and up to the “4” on the y-axis. You’ll end up with this answer:
Attributes of Two-Dimensional Shapes
Two-dimensional shapes are flat and have a length and a width. Examples of two-dimensional shapes:
- Rectangle: A shape with four sides and four right angles.
- Square: A rectangle which has four sides that are equal in measure.
- Circle: A perfectly round shape with no sides or angles.
- Triangle: A shape with three sides and three angles.
- Hexagon: A shape with six sides.
- Octagon: An eight-sided shape.
Attributes of Three-Dimensional Shapes
A three-dimensional shape, such as a cube, has more attributes than a two-dimensional shape. While two-dimensional shapes are flat, three-dimensional shapes are not. Three-dimensional shapes include spheres, cubes, pyramids, cylinders, and rectangular prisms, just to name a few.
Let’s look at some attributes of three-dimensional shapes:
- Edges: The edges of three-dimensional shapes are the lines where two faces meet.
- Faces: The faces of three-dimensional shapes are the flat areas of the shape.
- Vertices: The vertices are the corners of three-dimensional shapes.
And that’s some basic info about the Mathematics subarea.
Subarea II: Science
The Science subarea makes up about 30% of Test II.
This part has four objectives:
- Characteristics of Science
- Earth Science
- Physical Science
- Life Science
So, let’s start with Characteristics of Science.
Characteristics of Science
This objective tests your knowledge of teaching students the necessary skills for scientific investigation. In order to teach students these skills, you will need to model reasoning and the analysis of data and observations.
Here is a concept you should know for the test.
So, what is scientific inquiry? It is the process of taking what you already know and using that information to form a question or prediction. You can then test out your question or prediction by searching for evidence and making observations. One way to teach scientific inquiry is to introduce students to the Scientific Method and to guide them in its use.
Here are the steps of the Scientific Method:
- Purpose: What do you want to learn? Ask a question or state a topic.
- Research: Gather as much background information as you can.
- Hypothesis: Try to predict the answer to the question or make a guess about the topic.
- Experiment: Design a test which will confirm or disprove your hypothesis.
- Analysis: Record what happens during the experiment.
- Conclusion: Review the information that you gathered during the analysis. Check to see if your hypothesis is correct.
This objective tests your knowledge of climate, weather, rocks, and soil. You’ll be tested on how fossils are formed and how the environment changes over time. You will also be asked questions about the formation of Earth’s surface features.
Let’s take a look at some concepts you have to know for the test.
Climate versus Weather
Weather refers to the short-term, day-to-day changes in the atmosphere. A rain storm is an example of a weather event. Climate describes the weather of a certain area over a long period of time. For example, a desert might have a hot, dry climate, because it receives rain infrequently and temperatures in the area tend to stay high most days.
All soil contains minerals, water, air, and organic matter. Let’s take a look at the properties of soil together:
- Texture: Texture refers to the size of the particles that make up the soil. The texture of soil depends upon the proportion of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter in the soil. A soil containing a lot of sand, for example, will have a gritty texture, because the particles in the soil will be quite large.
- Structure: Structure refers to the way the sand, silt, and clay particles are clumped together. For example, a soil may be very firm or very loose and crumbly.
- Porosity: Soil porosity refers to the space between the particles in the soil. Soils that have particles that are not close together are very porous.
- Chemistry: Soils can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral in terms of pH. The chemicals within a soil determine the soil’s pH level. For example, a soil containing a lot of lime is very alkaline (not acidic).
- Color: Soil color comes mostly from organic matter and iron. Soils can range from white to black. They can also be brown or red. Iron gives soil a red hue. Soils with more organic matter are darker than soils containing little organic matter.
Constructive versus Destructive Processes
Constructive processes bring about new landforms. Think of volcanoes, which can create mountains and islands. Another example is a river creating a sandy delta over time.
Destructive processes break down landforms. Wind can be a destructive force, because it can gradually wear away at a mountain or cliff. Landslides and floods are other examples of destructive forces.
This objective tests your knowledge on the basic concepts of physical science, such as force, states of matter, and chemical changes.
Here are some concepts you should know for the test.
States of Matter
Matter is anything that takes up space. The state of matter depends on how densely its particles are packed together. Let’s take a look at different types of matter:
- Solids: A solid is the most dense state of matter. Its particles are very close together. Solids have a definite shape. A rock is an example of a solid.
- Liquids: Liquids are less dense than solids. A liquid will change shape depending upon what container it is transferred to. Room-temperature water is an example of a liquid.
- Gases: Gas particles have a lot of space between each other. A gas will expand to fill whatever space it is in. An example of a gas is pure oxygen.
- Plasmas: This type of matter is not typically found on Earth, though it is found in space. Plasma is very similar to gas; however, plasmas are made up of electrically charged particles.
A chemical change occurs when atoms interact with each other to change matter. Chemical changes are usually non-reversible. Here are a couple of examples of chemical changes:
- Burning a sugar cube: This is an example of a chemical change, because fire causes a chemical reaction between the oxygen and the sugar.
- Rust: Iron rusts when its particles are exposed to oxygen. This process is also called oxygenation.
Keep in mind that chemical changes are different from physical changes. An example of a physical change is an ice cube melting; this process can be easily reversed.
Types of Forces
Force is energy applied towards an object. It causes physical action or movement. Forces are external and the result of an interaction between objects. Here are some different types of forces:
When an object moves across a surface, friction is caused. An example of friction is sliding a book across a rug.
This type of force occurs when an object is in contact with another stable object. An example of normal force is a dinner plate resting on a table.
Applied force occurs when an object is being pushed or pulled. A person pushing a box across a room is an example of applied force.
Large objects, such as Earth, attract other objects. This is gravity, or gravitational force. For example, imagine dropping an apple to the ground. The apple certainly will not float! This is gravitational force at work.
This objective tests your knowledge of the life cycles and habitats of living things. You’ll also show that you understand how organisms interact with their environments. Also, be prepared to answer questions about the traits of organisms, as well as natural selection.
Let’s look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Characteristics of Living Things
All living things share certain characteristics. We’ll take a look at some of those characteristics now:
Movement: All living things move. Sometimes, movement is obvious, like a cheetah chasing its prey. Other times, movement is less obvious, like plants moving slightly towards light.
Respiration: This is a chemical reaction that happens when cells release energy from food. Once food molecules enter an organism, the molecules are broken down and produce products such as carbon dioxide.
Sensitivity: This is an organism’s ability to detect changes in the surrounding environment. A cat might enjoy the warm sensation of sunlight or the pleasant pressure of being caressed by a person’s hand.
Growth: No matter if the organism is an oak tree or an orca whale, all living things grow.
Reproduction: Living things are also able to reproduce. For example, reproduction can occur as a result of mating, pollination, or the fertilization of eggs.
Excretion: Living organisms must excrete waste. We won’t get too graphic with this example, but picture the bottom of a goldfish bowl that has not been cleaned! The goldfish gets the nourishment it needs from food and later releases what it does not need.
Nutrition: A living organism must have nutrients. Nutrients come from a variety of sources, such as plant material, decaying animals, and soil.
The environment in which an animal lives is its habitat. Animals need air, water, food, and shelter from intolerable environmental conditions. In order to meet these needs, an animal depends upon its habitat. Let’s take a closer look by considering some examples:
Air: A white-tailed deer cannot survive without oxygen. The plants in a deer’s forest habitat provide it with oxygen.
Water: A tree frog depends upon its damp rainforest habitat in order to have enough water to survive.
Food: A reef shark depends upon its coral reef habitat to provide fish.
Shelter: A black bear must hibernate in the winter. It needs a den, such as a space between rocks, for shelter to survive the cold.
Natural selection is the process by which animals who are best suited to their environments survive and pass on their genes. Members of a species who are less adapted to their environments are less likely to survive and reproduce.
For example, let’s consider flounder on the ocean floor. A flounder who is able to quickly change color and blend in with the sand is less likely to be eaten by a predator than a flounder who stands out against the sand. The flounder who camouflages easily is more likely to live long enough to reproduce. It will pass on its traits to the next generation.
And that’s some basic info about the Science subarea.
Subarea III: Health Education, Physical Education, and the Arts
The Health Education, Physical Education, and the Arts subarea makes up about 17% of Test II.
This part has two objectives:
- Health and PE
- Dance, Music, Visual Arts, and Theater Arts
So, let’s start with Health and PE.
Health and PE
This objective tests your knowledge of healthy habits and disease prevention. You will show that you understand motor skills and skill-related fitness. You’ll also show that you can promote overall health to students.
Let’s look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
First off, let’s start with a couple of definitions:
Gross motor skills are the skills that give someone the ability to perform
large movements, such as jumping and crawling. These skills use the large muscles in the arms, legs, feet, and torso.
Fine motor skills are the skills that enable small movements, such as picking up small objects and holding a pencil. These skills require the use of the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue.
Here are a few examples of activities that can help young students develop gross motor skills:
- Hop scotch (increases lower body strength and overall balance)
- Simon says (also teaches students about body parts)
- Wheelbarrow walking races (improves upper body strength)
- Walking/climbing over unstable surfaces (increases overall body strength)
- Catching large objects (improves coordination)
- Obstacle courses (combines lots of gross motor skills)
Activities that can help young children develop fine motor skills include beading, manipulating Play-Doh, tying bows, finger painting, writing/tracing, and spooning small objects like marbles and paper clips.
Skill-related fitness includes training to improve speed, agility, balance, coordination, power, and reaction time. These skills help students improve their performance at a sport or activity.
Let’s take a look at each of the 6 skills involved:
- Agility: the ability to change the position of your body and to control the movement of your entire body. Someone who is agile can change direction quickly. Changing directions to dodge a ball requires agility.
- Balance: the ability to keep a steady, upright posture. Activities like riding a bicycle and doing gymnastics require agility.
- Power: the ability to perform with strength at a fast pace. Playing football is an example of an activity that requires a high degree of power.
- Reaction Time: the amount of time it takes to move once your senses signal the need to move. Karate is an example of an activity which requires quick reactions.
- Coordination: this skill integrates eye, hand, and foot movements. This component is necessary in sports like t-ball and softball.
- Speed: the ability to cover a distance in a short amount of time. Running a race is an example of an activity that requires speed.
The following actions can help prevent disease in the classroom:
- Ask sick students to stay at home.
- Keep a supply of hand sanitizer and ask students to use it regularly.
- Teach good hand-washing practices.
- Disinfect classroom materials and surfaces.
- Teach students about the safe handling of food.
- Provide facial tissues.
- Teach students to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
- Teach students not to share eating utensils.
- Encourage parents to get their children vaccinated.
Dance, Music, Visual Arts, and Theater Arts
This objective tests your knowledge of dance, music, theater, and visual arts concepts. You should be able to recognize art forms as a means of communication and creative self-expression. Also, be prepared to answer questions about the history of art.
Take a look at these concepts.
Meter is the pattern of stresses or accents that provide the beat of a piece of music. In order for students to understand meter, they need to feel that the first beat of every measure is the strongest. They also need to be able to track measures. For example, in 2/4, there are 2 beats in every measure, and in 4/4, there are 4 beats in every measure.
The time signature (such as 4/4) is used to show the meter of a piece of music. The first (or upper) number is used to show the number of beats per meter. The second (or lower) number shows the symbol length of each beat. The 4/4 time signature indicates a quadruple meter. In this example, each beat is a quarter-note long. Therefore, the total length of each bar will be 4 quarter-notes, or 4/4 of a whole-note.
History of Theater
Theater is a form of art in which actors perform in order to relay real or imagined ideas or events. Theater’s roots go back to ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks performed tragedies as part of their religious rituals.
Early tragedies only had one actor, who typically wore a mask and was meant to represent a god. Later, tragedies began to include a chorus, as well. Members of the all-male chorus would sing and dance during the ritual.
Later, ancient Greeks began to perform comedies, as well as tragedies during their outdoor performances. Unlike a tragedy, which is a serious production, comedies have a happy ending. The protagonist of a comedy usually achieves his goal by the end of the performance, and the audience often laughs throughout the play.
Perspective in visual art is used to make the objects look three-dimensional and more realistic. Artists achieve perspective through a variety of methods. For example, in a painting, an object that is meant to seem closer to the viewer will appear larger than an object that is meant to seem farther away.
Think about two onions of the same size. If the painter of a still life wants one onion to appear closer to the viewer, she will paint that onion larger than the onion that is “farther” away. Remember, the farther you are from an object in real life, the smaller it appears.
Other methods of achieving perspective involve vibrance and tone. Objects in the background will have less vivid colors and be lighter in tone than objects in the foreground.
And that’s some basic info about the Health Education, Physical Education, and the Arts subarea.