Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): Ultimate Guide and Practice Test
Preparing to take the Praxis ESOL exam?
You’ve found the right Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages study guide. We will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to pass the ESOL exam, and even provide some Praxis ESOL practice tests.
Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Test Overview
Foundations of Linguistics
Foundations of Language Learning
Planning and Implementing Instruction
Assessment and Evaluation
Professionalism and Advocacy
Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Quick Facts
The Praxis ESOL exam is for those who plan to teach ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) in elementary or secondary schools. It tests your knowledge of linguistics and pedagogy related to teaching English as a second language.
The score range for this test is 100 – 200. The passing score varies from state to state. Passing scores for different states are shown below:
This test has an average score of 177, with an average range of 168 – 185.
In order to feel prepared for the test, plan to spend several weeks preparing. It is helpful to create a schedule for yourself ahead of time by breaking down the test topics into different weeks. This way, you will know you have enough time to study each topic covered on the test, especially by using our Praxis English practice tests.
What test takers wish they would’ve known:
- There are listening questions throughout the test where test takers have to listen to a recording and answer questions about it. You will have an opportunity to listen to a recording multiple times, but keep in mind that this will take up time, and the test has a 2 hour time limit.
- Some of the questions will ask you to choose more than one answer choice. This will be clearly stated in the question by saying something such as, “Select all answer choices that apply.”
- Watch for questions that include the words, “not or except,” which indicates that you need to choose the answer choice that does not apply.
- Keep an eye on the time and make sure you are able to complete the test in the two hour time frame.
- It is better to guess on a question you don’t know the answer to, than to leave it unanswered.
Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS Praxis website: https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/5362
Foundations of Linguistics
The Foundations of Linguistics content category has about 22 multiple-choice questions, which accounts for about 18% of the test.
Concepts to Know
Let’s take a look at some concepts you definitely need to know for the test.
Derivational versus Inflectional Morphemes
A derivational morpheme is a prefix or suffix that when added to a word, creates a new form of that word or a new word. A derivational morpheme often changes the part of speech of a word and can also change the meaning of the word. For example, adding -er to the word “dance” changes it from a verb (dance) to a noun (dancer). Adding -ize to the word “critic” changes it from a noun (critic) to a verb (criticize).
An inflectional morpheme is different from a derivational morpheme, because it does not change the part of speech of a word. Instead, it is used to show past, present, and future tense, to show possession, to show if a word is singular or plural, or for comparisons. For example, adding -ing to dance changes the word to “dancing,” but it does not change the part of speech. Dance and dancing are both verbs. Similarly, adding -er to short changes it to “shorter.” This does not change the part of speech, because short and shorter are both adjectives. In the English language, there are only eight inflectional morphemes:
- -s to show plural form of a word
- -’s to show possession
- -er used for comparison
- -est used as a superlative
- -s to show 3rd person singular present tense
- -ed to show past tense
- -ing to show present tense
- -en used as a past participle
Cognates are words in different languages that have the same origin and the same or very similar meanings. Because they have the same origin, the spellings are very similar or identical, making them easier to learn than other words when learning another language. The pronunciation of these words are often slightly different. Some examples of English and Spanish cognates include:
- artist (English) and artista (Spanish)
- color (English) and color (Spanish)
- hour (English) and hora (Spanish)
- minute (English) and minuto (Spanish)
- piano (English) and piano (Spanish)
Pragmatics refers to the ways in which people use language to produce and comprehend meaning. This includes social conversational norms, how meaning can change based on context, and how the literal meaning of a phrase is not always what the phrase or expression really means.
When someone speaks or writes, they always have an intended meaning. Intended meaning is what they hope to convey, or what they are meaning to say. When someone is learning another language or is immersed in a different culture, they may have difficulty understanding the intended meaning of a statement or conversation. This can lead to pragmatic failure, meaning that they did not understand the intended meaning of what someone is saying.
A typical example of pragmatic failure is an English Language Learner misunderstanding an idiom or a phrase used in slang. For example, the phrase, “I’ll hit you up later” could be very confusing to a person who only understands the literal meanings of “hit” and “up” and does not understand that the speaker means they will call or contact them later.
Pragmatic failure can also include misunderstandings in conversational norms. For example, it is typical in American culture that when a stranger or acquaintance says, “How are you today,” we reply with a short, positive answer such as, “I’m doing well, how are you?” However, if a person isn’t used to this typical exchange, they might end up telling someone details about their day or how they aren’t doing well, making the person who asked the question feel slightly uncomfortable or unsure how to respond.
While these pragmatic failures often don’t cause major implications at the time, they can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, as well as stereotypes of different cultures.
Also included in pragmatics is “code switching.” This refers to a speaker of two or more languages alternating or “switching” between various language in conversation. Spanish and English speakers will frequently do this in informal settings. For example, a person who speaks both Spanish and English might include the Spanish word for “why” (porque) in the middle of an English sentence, by saying, “I need a new phone porque mine broke.”
World Englishes refers to the English language being used in numerous places throughout the world, and the fact that English is present even in countries that do not speak English. For example, most airport signs use English in addition to languages used in that country, and most instructions always include English. The concept of World Englishes also includes different varieties of English being used in different areas of the globe. For example, people in England have some words that are not used in America or are used differently, such as calling a cookie a biscuit.
Sociolinguistics is the study of the way language and language use is affected by cultural norms and cultural contexts. Sociolinguistics includes the study of dialects, sociolects, speech community norms, and social functions of a language. Each of these factors is explained below:
- A dialect is a form or variety of a language that is unique to a certain regional area. An example of dialect is people in the southern United States saying “y’all” instead of “you guys.”
- Sociolects, or a social dialect, is a variety of a language that is used by a certain socioeconomic class, age group, or other social group. An example of a sociolect is slang used by teens or terminology used in a certain profession.
- Speech community norms: A speech community is a group of people who share a similar language, but also share the same speech characteristics and linguistic norms. Speech communities are often thought of as being a smaller area, such as a city or small town, rather than an entire region such as the Southwest. An example of a speech community norm is the way people in the Boston area pronounce words with “r,” such as “cah” instead of “car.”
Minimal pairs are two words that differ by only one phoneme. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word, so minimal pairs differ in only one sound. This does not mean that the words differ in only one letter, although this may sometimes be the case, as well. Examples of minimal pairs include:
- pass and path
- sink and think
- vent and tent
- light and right
- fairy and very
Minimal pairs can be difficult for someone who is learning a new language, because of the fact that only one sound is different. They can cause confusion when listening and when speaking.
And that’s some basic info about the Foundations of Linguistics content category.
Foundations of Language Learning
The Foundations of Language Learning content category has about 26
multiple-choice questions, which accounts for about 22% of the test.
Concepts to Know
Let’s look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Positive and Negative Transfer
Positive transfer is when your background knowledge or something you have previously learned helps you with something new that you are learning. Negative transfer is when something you have learned interferes with your learning in a negative way. Positive transfer typically occurs more often than negative transfer.
An example of positive transfer is a student who knows how to add two digit numbers by regrouping the tens and can then quickly apply that same concept to adding three digit numbers and regrouping the digits in the hundreds place. An example of negative transfer is when a young child learns that adding “-ed” to the end of a word means it happened in the past, and then they begin to apply this to words that do not follow the same rule, by saying things like “I goed to the store.”
Simultaneous and Sequential Bilingualism
Simultaneous bilingualism is when a child learns two different languages at the same time. This typically occurs with a young child (under two years old) who is learning to talk and lives in a bilingual home. For example, if parents speak both English and Spanish at home and use each language frequently, the child will likely learn both languages at or near the same time. When a child learns two languages at once, both languages are considered their first language.
Sequential bilingualism occurs when a child first learns one language and is later introduced to another language. This new language then becomes their second language. This occurs when a family moves to a new country and the child is introduced to a new language, usually at school. It can also happen when a family already lived in an area, but only spoke their first language at home. For example, a child born in the United States to parents who only speak Spanish will experience sequential bilingualism as they first learn Spanish at home and then English at school.
Interlanguage occurs when a person is in the process of learning a new language and is applying some characteristics of their first language and some characteristics of the new language. Interlanguage constantly changes as the person learns the rules of the second language and has more exposure to it. It can be thought of as being “in between” two languages. An example of someone using interlanguage would be a person progressing through the following phrases:
“I no cake.”
“I no want cake.”
“I don’t want cake.”
Stages of Reading Development
The stages of reading development are:
- Emergent Reading (generally pre-K and Kindergarten)
- Early Reading (generally Kindergarten and 1st grade)
- Transitional Reading (generally 1st and 2nd grade)
- Fluent Reading (generally 3rd grade and beyond)
While most students go through these stages at similar ages and grade levels, ELLs may be in the emergent or early reading stage in later grades when they are learning a second language. For example, a 4th grade student might be a fluent reader in their first language, but in the early reading stage for their second language. This can cause issues when selecting appropriate texts for ELLs. The student is ready for topics geared toward their age, but cannot read on that level yet. Books for emergent and early readers will often not be interesting to them. The teacher should be aware and use various resources to find appropriate books for these students.
Characteristics of At-Risk Students
“At-Risk” is used to refer to students who are considered to be at a higher risk of failing or dropping out of school. Certain factors can cause a student to be considered “at-risk.” These factors can include homelessness, serious illness, socioeconomic status, learning disabilities, family immigration status, and coming from a family whose primary language is not English. The last two factors listed (and sometimes socioeconomic status) are often characteristics of English Language Learners.
Types of Motivation
Types of motivation refers to the reasoning behind what motivates a person to learn or try something new. There are various types of motivation, but the two most common are extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation means that the motivation is coming from some outside source. This can mean that a learner is motivated by something such as a reward or to avoid punishment. With regards to second language acquisition, this can be a student who is motivated to learn, because their parents have told them that they need to learn English and that they need to bring home all A’s and B’s on their report card.
Intrinsic motivation means that a person is motivated to learn because they enjoy learning or feel personal achievement by learning something new. An example of this is a student who wants to learn English, because they enjoy having conversations with friends and want to be able to adapt to their new environment.
While both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can be used with success, students with intrinsic motivation may have longer lasting motivation when it comes to learning a new language.
And that’s some basic info about the Foundations of Language Learning content category.
Planning and Implementing Instruction
The Planning and Implementing Instruction content category has about 28 multiple-choice questions, which accounts for about 23% of the test.
Concepts to Know
Let’s talk about some concepts that you may see on the test.
Colloquial language essentially means conversational or informal language. It is language that is used when you are not in a formal setting or not writing something formal. It can include slang, contractions, and shortening of words or phrases, such as saying, “I’m gonna run to the store real quick,” instead of “I am going to go to the store. It will not take long.”
Instructional Delivery Models
Different instructional delivery methods include TPR, push-in, pull-out, and inclusion.
TPR stands for Total Physical Response. It is a language instruction method that combines language and physical movement. When using TPR, a teacher will speak to students in the language they are learning while using body movements that coordinate with what is being said. Students will respond in a similar way, by using language and body movement.
“Push-in” refers to the ELL student staying in the general education classroom, while the ESL teacher comes into the classroom to help the student. In this scenario, the ESL teacher works in collaboration with the general education teacher and works alongside the ELL student to assist him or her.
“Pull-out” refers to the ELL student being removed or “pulled out” of the general education classroom for certain amounts of time to receive specific ESL instruction. The use of a “push-in” or “pull-out” program can depend on the specific needs of the student.
Inclusion refers to the ELL student being taught in the general education classroom for the majority of the day and being included with their English speaking peers. Push-in teaching methods can occur with inclusion.
Acquisition of Productive Skills
Productive skills are speaking and writing, because language is being produced. This is in contrast with receptive skills, which are reading and listening. ELLs acquire productive skills through observing others and by having opportunities to practice these skills in and outside of the classroom. Teachers can promote the acquisition of productive skills by providing authentic and low stress situations for ELLs to practice in, such as having an ELL tell a friend about their weekend or having them write a journal entry about things they enjoy.
Balanced literacy refers to reading instruction that includes components of both phonics and whole language instruction. Important components of balanced literacy include read alouds, guided reading, authentic texts, shared reading, independent reading, and word study. A major goal of balanced literacy is to build proficient and lifelong readers.
Grouping and Previewing
Grouping is a teaching strategy that refers to placing students in well-planned, strategic groups. Students can be grouped in various ways, depending on the intended outcome or purpose of the group. For example, students might be grouped by a similar reading ability for guided reading groups. When working on a group project, you might group students so that there are students of different abilities who can help each other. Grouping is important for ELLs, because it allows them to learn from their peers and also can help them feel less intimidated when they are grouped with students of a similar ability.
Previewing is a reading strategy where students skim through a book before reading it to help activate background knowledge and make predictions before they read. Younger students might look through the pictures and make predictions about what is happening in the story. Older students might look for certain text features, such as diagrams or headings, to tell them what a book might be about. This is an important strategy to use with ELLs, because it helps them think about their current background knowledge, but it can also help the teacher see where there are gaps in background knowledge. For example, if a student looks through a book with pictures of a family going camping and can’t describe what they are doing, the teacher will know that they need to first explain some of these events before the student tries to read the book.
A graphic organizer is a visual tool that helps organize a student’s thoughts or organize information. Graphic organizers show relationships between concepts and can help students understand these relationships. An example of a graphic organizer is a flowchart that shows the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Another example is a tree map showing different animal kingdoms and species. Graphic organizers are helpful for ELLs, because it adds a visual component that allows them to see direct relationships among concepts they are learning.
And that’s some basic info about the Planning and Implementing Instruction content category.
Now, let’s look at a few practice questions to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.
Assessment and Evaluation
The Assessment and Evaluation content category has about 18 multiple-choice questions, which accounts for about 15% of the test.
Concepts to Know
Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Informal Assessment Methods
Informal assessments are often used as “check-ins” with students to see how they are progressing. Informal assessments are usually completed more often than formal assessments and generally do not have a numerical grade. Informal assessments include running records that are used to assess a student’s reading level, anecdotal notes that a teacher takes during a lesson or when working one-on-one with a student, and rubrics or checklists used to assess a student’s knowledge on a topic.
One example of an informal assessment is the SOLOM, or Student Oral Language Observation Matrix. This is used as a rating scale to assess how a student is doing with regards to oral language, or speaking. The SOLOM can be a helpful informal assessment for teachers with English Language Learners.
Formal Assessment Methods
Formal assessments are used as a standardized way to assess what students know. They will often have a percentage or numerical score, but not always. Formal assessments include End of Course exams (EOCs) that are taken as a statewide assessment, unit tests given to students at the of a unit or end of a grading period, final projects that students have been working on throughout a unit, and portfolios that show a variety of work on a certain topic.
Formative versus Summative Assessments
Formative assessments are assessments that are given throughout a unit or throughout the learning process to check how students are doing. The results of formative assessments are used to plan future assignments and to guide instruction. Examples of formative assessments include graded assignments, quizzes, “exit tickets,” and observations made while students are working.
Summative assessments, on the other hand, are used at the end of a unit to assess what students learned. Summative assessments are often worth a higher percentage of students’ overall grade than formative assessments. Summative assessments include end of unit or end of course exams, final projects, or research papers.
Adapting Classroom Assessments
In order to fit the needs of all learners, ELLs included, classroom assessments often need to be adapted in various ways. Some ways to adapt assessments include:
- Oral administration: This refers to reading a test, or part of a test, out loud to a student. This can be helpful when you are assessing an ELL on something that does not include their ability to read in English. For example, a student may know how to solve a multi-step word problem in math, but if they are asked to read the question on their own they may not be able to demonstrate what they know. Reading the question to them allows them to show that they understand what is being assessed.
- Oral response: Similar to oral administration, this allows ELL students, who are still struggling with the writing component of English, to show a teacher what they know without having to write the answer. For example, if a teacher wanted to assess a student’s knowledge of the water cycle, they could have a student describe orally what they know.
- Shortened test/Fewer questions: ELL test takers may take longer to read questions and answer questions in writing. To accommodate for this, tests can be shortened while still covering all topics that need to be assessed.
- Presenting tests in a different format: Tests can be presented in written format, audio recorded, or include the addition of illustrations to help ELLs understand what is being asked.
Cultural Bias in Testing
Cultural bias in testing occurs when a test includes questions related to culture-specific scenarios or refers indirectly to a cultural-specific idea or item. Standardized tests are often created by people who are part of the predominant culture, and as a result, the test often contains a level of cultural bias.
Cultural bias in testing is not always very obvious. For example, a test might include a reading passage that refers to a baseball game followed by questions that require the student to make inferences about the game. If a student has never seen a baseball game or even heard of baseball, they are already at an unfair disadvantage.
Teachers can try to avoid cultural bias by carefully selecting test questions that do not refer to culture-specific things, by giving students necessary background knowledge ahead of time, and if possible, by having a person of another culture look over an assessment for any cultural bias.
Norm- versus Criterion-Referenced Assessments
Norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests are both ways to assess students, but the difference lies in the scores and how these scores are interpreted. The main difference between criterion-referenced tests and norm-referenced tests is that norm-referenced tests compare students’ scores to their peers. A student may score in the 90th percentile at the beginning of the year on a norm-referenced test, but score in the 30th percentile at the end of the year if they did not make as much progress throughout the year as other students.
In a norm-referenced assessment, a student’s score is compared with the scores of their peers, or the “norm group.” The norm group is usually students of the same age or grade level. Scores from norm-referenced tests are usually reported as a percentile. For example, if a student’s score is shown as the 25th percentile, this means they performed higher than 25% of students in their peer group. Scores may also be reported as “well below average, below average, average, above average, or well above average.” English Language Learners may be at an unfair disadvantage when taking a norm-referenced test if the test “norm group” did not include an adequate amount of ELL students. Students may show up as being “below average,” when really the test included questions that were not appropriate for an English Language Learner at that age.
In a criterion-referenced assessment, a student’s score is compared with a predetermined standard or performance level. The scores and cut-off values for each performance level do not change based on how other students do on the assessment. A student’s score on a criterion-referenced assessment will show you how they performed in relation to the test standards but not how they performed when compared with peers. Criterion-referenced tests are typically more appropriate for ELL students, because they are able to demonstrate what they know based on the test criteria, rather than being compared to their English speaking peers.
And that’s some basic info about the Assessment and Evaluation content category.
The Culture content category has about 13 multiple-choice questions, which accounts for about 11% of the test.
Concepts to Know
Let’s look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Nativists are people who believe that only their culture or the majority culture should be protected, not the culture of immigrants. Nativists often feel threatened by “non-native” people or their cultures. Throughout American history, different groups have been perceived as “outsiders” to nativists, including Irish immigrants, African Americans, and Mexican immigrants.
An ethnocentric mentality refers to the belief that your culture is the superior culture. It means that you use the standards of your culture to judge other cultures. This can lead to a negative view of other cultures, as well as stereotypes of people from that culture.
Culture shock occurs when a person moves to a new area and is overwhelmed by the new culture around them. Students experiencing culture shock may appear nervous, frustrated, distracted, homesick, or anxious. Culture shock can hinder language acquisition, because students experiencing culture shock are not in the best mindset for learning new information. Once a student adjusts to the culture and culture shock wears off, they will be more prepared to learn a new language.
Acculturation versus Assimilation
Assimilation refers to the process of a minority group taking on aspects of the majority group’s culture and losing aspects of their own culture in the process. An example of assimilation is an Asian-American family gradually stopping their Asian customs as they take on American traditions and customs.
Acculturation, on the other hand, refers to a minority group taking on aspects of the majority group’s culture while still maintaining aspects of their own culture. An example of this is a Mexican-American family celebrating American holidays such as Thanksgiving, but still celebrating Mexican holidays such as Dia de los Muertos.
The meaning of eye contact and it’s implications varies from one culture to another. In the United States and in many western European countries, eye contact is considered polite. It shows respect, interest, and engagement in the conversation. In other cultures, however, eye contact can convey a different meaning. For example, in many Asian cultures, avoiding eye contact is considered a sign of respect. In other cultures, a child making eye contact with an adult can be considered an act of defiance. It is important that educators understand that the meaning of eye contact varies across cultures. A student who is not maintaining eye contact may not be showing disrespect or disinterest, but is instead not used to making extended eye contact with their teachers.
And that’s some basic info about the Culture content category.
Professionalism and Advocacy
The Professionalism and Advocacy content category has about 13 multiple-choice questions, which accounts for about 11% of the test.
Concepts to Know
Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
ESSA is a United States law passed in 2015. The previous version of this law was the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). It is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) passed in 1965. ESSA kept many components of NCLB but also made some changes, including the fact that it allows schools to phase in ELLs test results for accountability purposes.
Plyler v. Doe
Plyler v. Doe was a Supreme Court case in 1982 that resulted from a public school district in Texas denying enrollment to students who were not yet legal citizens of the United States. The school district also attempted to require students who were not citizens to pay tuition to attend a public school. The Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court case decided that states and school districts cannot deny students a free public education based on their immigration status. This case continues to ensure that children have access to free public education, regardless of their immigration status.
NABE stands for the National Association for Bilingual Education. It is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “[t]o advocate for educational equity and excellence for bilingual/multilingual students in a global society” (Source: www.nabe.org). NABE supports English Language Learners by providing professional development for bilingual educators, by ensuring English Language Learners maintain their rights, and by making sure programs that serve these students receive enough funding.
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. TESOL can refer to certifications required to teach students who speak another language, teaching English to ELLs in general, or to the TESOL International Association (see www.tesol.org).
NIEA stands for the National Indian Education Association. It is a national nonprofit formed in 1969 by Native American educators. NIEA strives to improve education for Native American students and to promote the development of Native American languages and cultures. NIEA provides resources to educators and also encourages changes in policies that will help Native American students (Source: www.niea.org).
TOEFL stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language. It is a test that is taken by those who speak English as a second language and are planning to apply to an English-speaking university. The test consists of four sections: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. TOEFL is considered the most widely accepted English-language test and is accepted by colleges in more than 150 countries.
And that’s some basic info about the Professionalism and Advocacy content category.
Foundations of Linguistics Practice Test
The past tense marker in English is -ed. Changing verbs from present to past tense simply requires adding this suffix. This is an example of:
I. English grammar
II. English morphology
III. English syntax
- I and II
- II and III
- I, II, and III
Conventions of the English language affect the following:
I. commas and semicolons.
II. run on sentences.
- I and III
- II and III
- I, II, and III
Correct answer: 3. There are many conventions in the English language, however focus on these is not necessary for a beginning English learner. In fact, it is counterproductive, because the learners’ efforts need to be on communication, not on the form of the language used.
Mrs. Evans has an ELL student, Jae Shin, who is really struggling with his writing, because he is not able to move on from his first language habits. Mrs. Evan suggests he read more of the English books on the school’s “Recommended Reading List.” Which of the following best describes why she would make this suggestion?
- By reading more English, he will most likely begin to speak more English at home and improve his English skills
- English literature will help model proper sentence structure and vocabulary use for the student
- The teacher is unable to make all the necessary corrections for the student
- Reading more English books will most likely help the student better understand everyday vocabulary used by his peers
Correct answer: 2. Although more writing will give Jae Shin practice with word choice, he may continue to make the same types of mistakes. Thus, more reading helps influence his writing, because he sees quality writing that he can learn from.
The study of existing sounds in a particular language is called?
Mrs. Summerville is teaching a unit on synonyms and antonyms. Her instructional activities would best cover what concept?
- Conventions of English
Mr. Hanson notices an ESL student looks confused during a conversation with fellow students about a baseball game. Mr. Hanson follows up with the student to ask why he looks confused. The student responds, “They said the batter hit a fly in the ninth to win the game.” The teacher asks what the student is confused about and the student replies, “Why would anybody throw cake batter at a fly in a game?” Which of the following is the most likely reason for the student’s confusion?
- The student is only familiar with soccer
- The student is not aware of the multiple meanings of the word “batter” and “fly” and how they pertain to baseball
- The student is not familiar with the baseball rules
- The students’ friends were not using proper terminology to discuss baseball
Slang and idiomatic expressions are confusing to second language learners because:
- teenagers have created these phrases.
- the word for word translations of the expressions do not make sense.
- some word combinations are unacceptable.
- their culture does not use slang or idiomatic terms.
Correct answer: 2. This is true. Think about the phrase, “His kicks are super fly.” This means a person’s shoes are nice. However, translating the phrase would literally mean a person’s action of kicking is like an enhanced flying insect.
Some middle school ESL students are struggling with the current assignment on word order. The teacher explains again that there are certain rules in English that must be applied. She points out verb endings and other relevant information to one group more than once. Why might they be having such a hard time?
- They are not listening attentively
- They are having a conflict with the rules from their first language
- They do not want to work in their assigned groups
- They are not intelligent students
Correct answer: 2. This is the correct answer. Although the stereotypical tendencies of middle school students may sometimes hinder their cooperation, the question does not allude to any such tendencies. The question gives a great example of first language interference which is very strong for this group of kids.
Mrs. Walters notices many of her English language learners occasionally use improper grammar when they speak English. Of the following, which is the best strategy for Mrs. Walters to address the students’ improper grammar?
- Address the grammatical errors once the students have a firm grasp of the English language
- Address the grammatical errors at the time they occur to help internalize the rules of the English language
- Address minor grammatical errors to encourage students to focus on the use of content, not grammar
- Don’t address the grammar so the ELLs build confidence in their ability to use English
When ELL students hear these phrases, “It’s raining cats and dogs outside,” or “This is just a drop in the bucket,” they may be confused as they probably need to have specific instruction in:
- phonetic strategies.
Correct answer: 1. This is the correct answer. Semantics is the study of word or symbol meaning. It is important because one word or sentence might have multiple meanings or have a meaning that is figurative rather than literal.
Foundations of Linguistics Practice Test
Mrs. Johnson has been working with an English language learner to develop his English language skills. The student has shown frustration in his progress because he feels many words are easier to say than to spell. She encourages the students to continue trying to pronounce words and write them correctly. Mrs. Johnson’s encouragement most accurately reflects the knowledge that:
- if a student cannot say a word, they will not be able to spell it.
- language skills are interrelated and do not develop sequentially.
- a student must have a positive attitude to learn a new language.
- the phonetics of some words are reflected in their spelling.
Mr. Levitt notices that one of his English language learner students is adapting his speech depending on the social situation. The student best demonstrates an awareness of:
- language register.
- language function.
A teacher is perplexed by a recurring syllable appearing within words that the ESL student has included in his composition. The student explains that in his language there are ways to express affect by adding in this syllable. This is an example of:
- semantic drift.
- language interference.
Correct answer: 3. This is the correct answer. Information that a student uses from his first language that does not exist in the second language is an example of interference; when the information does exist and it is helpful to the student to use it, then it is called ‘transfer.’
Students with home languages that derive from Latin will have an easier time learning the English counterparts of science vocabulary than students with Germanic home languages because:
- the syntactic elements are similar.
- the lexical items are similar.
- the discourse features are similar.
- the sound systems are similar.
Correct answer: 2. This is the only answer choice that relates to the meaning or definition of words. Lexical pertains to the subject of vocabulary given in the question.
Which of the following is required for a student to become a proficient English speller? The student must:
I. possess strong memorization skills.
II. know that written vowels have many sounds.
III. know that certain letters are silent under specific circumstances.
- I and II
- I, II, and III
- II and III
In a cookbook, there are many instances of command forms of verbs. This is true because the purpose of the recipes is to tell how to prepare various food items. This is an example of:
- a language proficiency level.
- a language function.
- a language register.
- a lexical expansion.
Correct answer: 2. This refers to the function of a particular language. The purpose of the language used in a cookbook is to guide the reader to make the specific food items correctly.
At the beginning of the school year, Mr. Covey notices that one of his students, who is classified as an English language learner, speaks almost fluent conversational English. Of the following, which would be the best assessment of the situation by Mr. Covey?
- The student will be academically successful because he is articulate
- The student will be academically successful because conversational English must be learned before formal English
- The student will be academically successful as his knowledge of conversational English indicates he is highly intelligent
- It is uncertain if the student will be academically successful because conversational English develops much faster than the English skills necessary to be academically successful
Correct answer: 4. The first three answers are misconceptions people have, but there is a distinction between socio-oral language and the academic language needed for school. The acronyms stand for BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) and CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency Skills). The latter take additional years to develop.
Mrs. Summers allows her students to have quiet reading time where they read books of their own selection. Many of her English language learners choose to reread the same book multiple times. Of the following, which would be the most appropriate action for Mrs. Summers to take?
- Allow the students to continue this habit because funding is limited and only a few books are available
- Allow students to continue this habit because increased comprehension comes through the rereading of a text
- Prohibit this habit because the teacher does not have time to reread books with them
- Prohibit this habit to expose the English language learners to a wider variety of vocabulary
Correct answer: 2. When children are small and they watch a movie over and over, it is mostly because they enjoy it and they feel comfortable with the contents of the movie. This is also the function of rereading. It also makes them feel better about themselves. It is true that funding can be limited and that there is not enough time in a day to reread every book with the teacher, but the correct answer choice is more about the processing of language to get a complete grasp.
Which of the following is not a characteristic of interlanguage?
Which of the following terms describes the process of learning two languages at the same time?
- Sequential bilingualism
- Synchronous bilingualism
- Concurrent bilingualism
- Simultaneous bilingualism
Correct answer: 4. Simultaneous bilingualism describes the process in which a person learns two languages at the same time, whereas sequential bilingualism describes the process in which a person learns one language first, then another.
Planning and Implementing Instruction Practice Test
Mrs. Brunson notices that many of her English language learner students understand the beginning of what she says but become lost as she progresses in her lectures. She decides it will be helpful to pause as she speaks. What is the most appropriate time to pause during her instruction?
- After every third word
- After every difficult word
- After every sentence
- After every complete thought
Correct answer: 4. This is the best choice. Once a thought is complete, a pause allows the listeners to process the information in its entirety to promote the ability to use context clues and the main ideas to define the words.
Mr. Martin is planning an instructional unit and wants to adjust the lesson to meet the needs of the English language learners in his class. Each student has a varying level of English proficiency. What is the best strategy to adjust the instructional unit to meet the students’ needs?
- Allow the ELL students to work together during group activities to promote English proficiency
- Adjust the content to make the presentations and homework assignments simpler to accommodate the varying language proficiencies
- Make dictionaries accessible to the students and allow for additional time to complete the assignments while other students work independently
- Send the ELL students to the resource room for supplemental instruction during the presentations
Correct answer: 3. By allowing students a dictionary and additional time, the teacher is adjusting instruction to meet the needs of the ELL students while promoting English proficiency and grade-level appropriate content.
An ESL teacher is working with four new ESL students during an instructional unit. At varying times during the instruction, she asks each student to perform a different classroom task. What is the greatest benefit in using this strategy?
- It encourages students to listen intently, because they do not know when their name will be called to perform a task
- It helps them develop connections between English words and actions
- It encourages them to use English during everyday activities
- It promotes using English to achieve goals
Correct answer: 2. The teacher develops activities to be associated with specific language. Students demonstrate a high retention rate of language when action is correlated to language.
An ESL teacher who adjusts her lessons for various language proficiencies does this at the planning level by:
I. having dictionaries as reference materials for the beginners.
II. having additional time to complete an assignment for some while others are doing independent work.
III. keeping the lesson content on grade level but adjusting the students’ tasks to match their language proficiency.
- I and II
- I and III
- II and III
- I, II, and III
Correct answer: 4. A way to adjust the task but keep the content intact is by checking for evidence of learning with responses that require varying linguistic responses (from a single word to full sentences). Of course, additional time is beneficial to allow for more processing time and having resource materials add yet another form of scaffolding instruction.
English language learners benefit most from comprehensive reading instruction rather than learning aspects of reading in isolation. Which of the following is an example of comprehensive instruction?
- A vocabulary worksheet
- An instructional video about an instructional activity
- Continuing a reading lesson with a writing activity
- Direct instruction by the teacher
Mr. Duke wants to break up his class into small groups for a discussion after a multimedia presentation. Mr. Duke has multiple English language learners in his class. Which of the following is the most important criteria for placing English language learners into groups?
- Make sure the English language learners are placed in the same group so they are comfortable speaking and sharing ideas
- Make sure the English language learners are placed into various groups to promote vocabulary development
- Create homogeneous groups of similar academic abilities
- Create heterogeneous groups of similar academic abilities
At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Gladwell is informed she will have three English language learners. She is excited about the opportunity and wants to help them acquire the English language by creating a productive linguistic environment in her class. Which of the following would be the best strategy for creating and promoting a productive linguistic environment?
- Introduce the three English language learners to the class and let the class know to be patient in speaking with the students as they are new to the English language
- Have the class bring food dishes of the English language learner students’ cultures
- Have the English language learners give a presentation of their native cultures
- Create activities that allow all of the students in the class and the teacher to become more familiar with each other’s background
Correct answer: 4. This is the best option as language is a social activity and encouraging students to get to know one another promotes a community in the classroom that is conducive to learning.
A school has a growing population of older beginning-level English language learners. Many of the students come from migrant families and have had an interrupted academic career resulting in limited language skills both in English and their primary language. The students spend a part of their day working with the bilingual teacher to receive primary language instruction. Which of the following ways could the ESL teacher use to best promote the students’ English language and literacy development?
- Develop activities that allow the students to work together to reinforce their primary-language literacy skills
- Create lessons for these students that focus on developing their literacy skills in English that are completed individually
- Design lessons that primarily focus on the development of these students’ oral language skills in English
- Work with the bilingual teacher to design literacy units that build on these students’ current language skills and past experiences
Correct answer: 4. This is the best option as the students can build upon their primary language as well as English. By working together to build up both of their languages, the students are more likely to adopt and implement the new knowledge.
Robert and John are two siblings who are new ELL students. Robert is the older brother and has been in and out of school throughout his childhood while his younger brother, John, is in first grade, after completing kindergarten the year before. Throughout the school year, John is progressing at a faster rate than Robert. Their parents become concerned at the discrepancy in academic performance. Which of the following is the best explanation a teacher could provide the parents about their concern?
- Because John is younger than Robert, his ability to absorb the language is better. Robert’s academic performance will improve as he increases his English skills
- Robert should be tested for a learning disability
- The first-grade curriculum is easier than Robert’s curriculum
- Because Robert has been in and out of school, academics are more difficult as he has gaps in his knowledge while John, being a first-year student, is starting from the beginning
Correct answer: 4. This is the best answer. John is beginning his schooling in America without a significant gap in his academic progress. The concepts being taught will be in-line with his past schooling. However, Robert has had gaps in his education and he is behind regarding language and in his conceptual knowledge.
Which of the following are the receptive language skills?
- Listening and speaking
- Listening and writing
- Listening and reading
- Reading and writing
Correct answer: 3. In both instances of listening and reading the person is decoding someone else’s information and is not engaged in creating language for someone else. Speaking and writing are the productive skills.
Assessment and Evaluation Practice Test
Mr. Ramirez is confident his English language learner students are able to apply the rules of English in prompted conversation, but he is not sure if they can fluently speak English in everyday conversation. Which of the following would be the best assessment for Mr. Ramirez to gauge the conversational English of his students?
- An integrated language test
- A true/false test
- A short-answer test
- An oral assessment of language rules
Mr. Chalmers wants to evaluate the learning progress of his English language learner students over the past few weeks. Since there are no major formal assessments scheduled in the upcoming week, which of the following would be the most appropriate informal assessment of the students’ learning progress?
- Take an alternate form of the unit test provided by the textbook company after school
- Have the ELL students read back questions from a unit test
- Review past formal assessments
- Listen in on the ELL students’ group activity
Mr. Rivera uses multiple-choice, true/false, and short answers on his assessments. He also implements oral exams for students to gauge academic progress. Mr. Rivera’s use of multiple assessment formats best reflects knowledge in which education principle?
- Some students may perform more accurately on different types of assessments due to learning styles and test anxiety
- Multiple assessment types should be implemented to provide parents with various assessment reports
- Student learning styles require diverse academic instruction
- Academic instruction should be diversified in response to varying cognitive development levels among students
Mr. Levy is a seventh-grade science teacher who is working with an ELL student. Mr. Levy feels confident the student knows and is comfortable with the scientific concepts being taught in class. However, the student has not done well on the last three exams, because he has trouble writing a response to the essay questions. Mr. Levy asks the ESL teacher about the best way he can accommodate the test so the student can demonstrate his content knowledge. Which of the following recommendations from the ESL teacher would be most appropriate for the situation?
- Allow the student to dictate his answers to another student who records the answers verbatim
- Excuse the student from the essay portion of the exam
- Allow the student to complete the essay portion of the exams at home
- Supplement the essay questions with multiple choice and true/false questions
Correct answer: 1. This is the best answer option, because the course demands and the requirements are being maintained, yet there is some adaptation to meet the student’s needs. The student should not be excused from the essay portion, as that would be unfair to his classmates, but rather he should be allowed to express his content knowledge in some way that is not hindered by a language barrier.
A standardized test falls under which category of assessment?
Mrs. Levy has two new English language learners in her fourth-grade class. She reads their academic profiles and notices that they have very few English-speaking skills. In creating assessments for the two new students, which of the following question types would be the most appropriate to use?
- Multiple choice
- Short answer
Correct answer: 3. Yes/no questions are the best answers to the questions, because the language barrier is minimized. The other answer options require a higher proficiency of English to differentiate between or create.
Mr. Abrams has five English language learners of varying abilities in his class. Which of the following options would be the best way to assess their content knowledge?
- Use multiple types of assessments
- Use a curved assessment
- Use a state standardized test assessment
- Have the students assess themselves
Charlie is an ESL student with a large vocabulary. Which of the following tests will Charlie most likely perform well on?
- Short answer
- Multiple choice
- Fill in the blank
Of the following, which is the best grading resource to use for group projects and activities?
- A teacher-designed rubric
- A teacher-student designed rubric
- A teacher’s impression of how the project fulfills the project requirements
- A student’s impression of how the project fulfills the project requirements
Which of the following terms describes when standardized testing assesses specific knowledge that is specific to a certain culture?
- Norm-referenced assessment
- Cultural bias
- Halo effect
- Selection bias
Culture Practice Test
The students’ understanding of values, ethics, and relationships is greatly influenced by their culture and society. This is important to remember in working with English language learners because:
- their native cultures might place different emphases on values, ethics, and relationships than the American culture.
- their ability to grasp basic mathematical concepts might be complicated by cultural influences.
- their ELL learning styles will be vastly different due to differences in cultural backgrounds.
- their family relationships might have different priorities than that of the American culture.
Correct answer: 1. This is the most important thing to remember because students’ behavior and thought processes can be shaped by the different emphases on values. To adequately communicate and teach the ELL students, these differences need to be considered in communication.
Along with promoting English proficiency among her students, Mrs. Armstrong strives to help her English language learners express their feelings and consider other students’ viewpoints. Of the following, what is the greatest benefit of this practice?
- Helping students understand English culture
- Allowing students to gain greater proficiency in English
- Encouraging high expectations in the students’ academic achievements
- Reducing conflicts among students with different backgrounds
Correct answer: 4. Helping students express their feelings and understand the viewpoints of others will help reduce conflicts among students of different cultures as misunderstandings are more likely to be prevented.
Henry is an English language learner and has mastered the English language. He also performs well academically and participates in various extracurricular activities. He has many English-speaking friends; however, he continues to speak his primary language with his family and friends from his home country. Also, Henry is actively involved in community events that celebrate his heritage and home culture. Henry’s behavior is most indicative of which of the following?
Correct answer: 4. Acculturation−the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture. This is what Henry is doing. He is not replacing his own culture but incorporating American culture while maintaining his primary heritage and culture.
A middle school class includes many ELL students. Marie, an ELL student, avoids contact with other members of her cultural group and tries to emulate the behavior of U.S.-born classmates; Arnold, another ELL student, takes great pride in his heritage and is condescending of other cultural heritages; Bobby, another ELL student, has friends from a variety of cultural groups. Which of the following concepts about culture adaptation apply to these students?
- How quickly individuals assimilate into a culture is directly related to how much contact they have with the culture
- Cultural identity levels can vary among individuals who live in a culture different from their primary cultures
- Academic success is dependent upon positive attitudes towards the main culture of the school
- Some cultures retain a stronger cultural identity than others
The greatest benefit to creating a multicultural and multilingual classroom environment is to:
- allow each student to understand the benefits of each culture.
- allow each student to learn about the differences of each culture.
- create a classroom environment that promotes respect for different cultures.
- create a classroom environment that adopts aspects from various cultures.
Correct answer: 3. It is a high priority for students in the classroom to respect different cultures. Among the answer choices, this is the highest priority. While it is important to understand and learn about different cultures, it is not useful unless the students develop a respect for the cultures they learn about. It is not necessary for students to adopt aspects of different cultures.
What is ethnocentrism?
- The belief that all cultures are equal
- The belief that one’s own culture is superior to others
- The study of culture
- The belief that cultures are important
Which of the following terms describes the process of a cultural group adapting to and resembling a dominant culture?
- Cultural agreeance
Of the following, which is the most likely group structure for promoting English proficiency among English language learners?
- Homogeneous in English proficiency
- Heterogeneous in English proficiency
- Heterogeneous in the home languages spoken
- Friends form the groups
Correct answer: 3. Placing students in groups where each member has a different language proficiency level allows the students to learn and observe proper language models and to practice their English. This is the best way to promote English proficiency.
Which of the following is the best definition of culture?
- The traditions passed down from one generation to the next
- The norms and social behavior of groups of people
- The holidays celebrated by a specific country
- The expectations and rules set forth by a group of people
Which of the following is not a common symptom of culture shock?
- loss of focus
Correct answer: 4. Contentment is not a common symptom of culture shock. Common symptoms of culture shock include depression/sadness, irritability, loss of focus, disorientation, sleeping and eating disturbances, feelings of helplessness, etc.
Professionalism and Advocacy Practice Test
Of the following, which would be the most beneficial staff development program adjustment to promote the needs of English language learners in a school?
- Emphasize innovative literary strategies to promote English proficiency
- Extend participation in the program to the entire school, not just the ESL staff
- Allow a guest-speaker to address the differences between the cultures that the students are familiar with and the culture of the English language.
- Promote a second language development among the ESL staff
Correct answer: 2. By extending participation to the whole school, the ESL department allows all teachers to better address the needs of the ELL students. The staff development program should already have important informational activities planned, so other adjustments would have a limited impact on the students as only a portion of the staff would be exposed to the other adjustments.
Providing books in English to English language learners is equal treatment but not sufficient to provide English learners an equitable education. Of the following, which court case established this rule?
- Texas v. Ramirez 1955
- Lau v. Nichols 1974
- California v. English Immersion 1966
- Brown v. Board of Education 1954
Staff members at a rural school with a growing ELL population are developing an ESL program to meet the needs of students. Which of the following questions can best ensure their program is in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
- Does the ESL program develop English language proficiency while providing English language learners with equal opportunities to participate in the district’s educational program?
- Does the ESL program ensure that English language learners have access to the same educational resources?
- Does the ESL program establish specific English language and academic educational standards for English language learners in the district and measure students’ achievement of these standards?
- Does the ESL program ensure that English language learners’ educational progress is assessed in the same manner and frequency as students in the district who are native speakers of English?
An ESL teacher has created a list of books he would like to read to promote his professional development. His school does not have a budget for purchasing materials for professional development and he cannot find the books in the school or local library. Which of the following would be the best approach for the teacher to find the books?
- Apply for a grant to purchase the books
- Request the books directly from the publisher, explaining the situation and his desire for professional growth
- Locate a university that can collaborate with the local library for an interlibrary loan
- Use the funds for classroom materials to purchase the books
Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark case related to:
- segregation based on language.
- segregation based on race.
- segregation based on income.
- segregation based on culture.
Mr. Rivera notices one of his English language learners is having a more difficult time than the other students adjusting to his second language. When is it the most appropriate time for Mr. Rivera to recommend a special education assessment of an English language learner?
- After one full year of observation
- After the student has not moved up an English proficiency level during one year
- After two years of instruction
- As soon as language adoption struggles are noticed
Mrs. Moore is a principal who is scheduled to meet with an English language learner and his parents after school. She asked the Spanish teacher to sit in on the meeting to serve as a translator between the principal and the parents. Which of the following is the greatest benefit to using the first language of the parents in the meeting?
- Increase family involvement in their child’s academic learning
- Demonstrate cultural sensitivity
- Establish safeguards to prevent a lawsuit or legal action
- Allow the Spanish teacher to build a relationship with the parents
Correct answer: 2. This is the greatest benefit as it should be the goal to increase family involvement in the child’s academic learning. By establishing a relationship with the parents and making them feel comfortable by using their primary language, the school increases the likelihood of parental involvement.
Mr. Hernandez is planning an after-school activity for students and parents. He contacts the parents of his English language learner students to discuss the activity and asks for their input in the planning. Mr. Hernandez’s actions best reflect his awareness that:
- students of ELL families are more likely to develop English proficiency if their families are involved in community activities.
- the teacher-parent conversation provides a proper grammar model for ELL students to develop their English proficiency.
- families of ELL students are more likely to promote academic studies if they are familiar with the content being taught.
- families of ELL students who have a positive opinion about school and their child’s learning are more likely to develop English proficiency.
Correct answer: 4. This is the best answer as families of ELL students are more likely to be more involved and implement English in the home if they have positive attitudes towards the children’s school.
What is the best way an ESL teacher could advocate for ESL students to the school’s staff and faculty? The teacher could provide information about the:
- strategies for assessing students and the need for simplifying the use of complex phrasing, idiomatic expressions, and cultural references.
- different cultural viewpoints about education.
- proper pronunciation of culturally sensitive words.
- different learning styles of the students.
Correct answer: 1. Helping the school’s staff and faculty better understand assessment strategies, and how to simplify the more difficult aspects of the English language, will allow them to better address the academic needs of the ESL students.
An ESL teacher should always encourage the students to share information about school with their parents and use their native language at home. The greatest benefit to this activity is:
- it validates the parental role.
- it does not limit the communication between the parent and child regarding academic progress.
- it promotes the parents’ knowledge of the child’s school system.
- it allows the teacher to have more efficient interaction with the parent.
Correct answer: 2. Parents and students need to communicate about school and by requiring the students and parents to speak in English can limit that interaction. It is more important for students and parents to communicate about schoolwork and school activities than for students to use English in the home. Communication between students and parents is the highest priority among the answer choices.