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Praxis PLT K-6 Ultimate Guide2019-03-12T16:22:48+00:00

Praxis PLT K-6: Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

Preparing to take the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) K-6 exam?

Awesome!

You’ve found the right page. We will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to pass the PLT K-6 exam.

Praxis PLT K-6

Quick Facts 

Students as Learners

Instructional Process

Assessment

Professional Development, Leadership, and Community

Analysis of Instructional Scenarios

Praxis PLT K-6 Overview

The purpose of this test is to assess a new teacher’s knowledge and understanding of educational practices foundational to beginning a career as a professional educator. Examinees will typically have completed, or nearly completed, an undergraduate education program. Simply put, the test makes sure you are ready to teach!

The test content will include topics such as human development, learning processes, instructional processes, diverse learners, educational psychology, and professional issues. Some questions will apply specifically to the stated grade range of the given test, while other questions are universal and apply to all grade levels.

Format:

You will have 2 hours to complete the Principles of Learning and Teaching Grades K-6 test. There are 70 selected-response questions plus 4 constructed-response questions based on case histories. All questions are computer-delivered.

Scoring:

States, associations, and institutions requiring the test to set their own passing scores. Your score report will include information on the passing scores for the states you identified as recipients of your test results.

A list of states and their passing scores is available at www.ets.org/praxis/states

Study time:

Ok, so you know what the test covers. How do you prepare to do your best? The amount of study time depends on many factors. One key to success is to assess what you already know. Then, allot study time to the topics in which you are not as confident.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  1. Guess if you do not know the answer. There is no penalty or subtraction for an incorrect answer. The final score is based on the number of correct answers.
  2. Skip the questions you find extremely difficult. Focus on the questions you can confidently answer, then come back to the others.
  3. Read all of the answers before choosing one. Be careful to understand what is being asked.
  4. Eliminate the weakest answer choices first.

Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS Praxis website: https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/5622

Students as Learners

Overview

Students as Learners content category has 21 selected-response questions. These questions account for 22.5% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 3 sections:

  • Student Development and the Learning Process
  • Students as Diverse Learners
  • Student Motivation and Learning Environment

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Student Development and the Learning Process

This section tests your knowledge on how students learn. You should understand the different educational theories, related theorists, and stages of human development.

Let’s talk about a concept that you will more than likely see on the test.

Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development

Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) proposed the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance. An educator may provide scaffolding, meaning activities to lead a student through the ZPD. These activities/supports will be withdrawn as the student demonstrates competency.

So… what might this look like in a Kindergarten classroom?

A student may struggle to replicate a 3-D model using blocks. The teacher may guide the student to select four red blocks, two green blocks, and one blue block. Once the student has the correct building blocks, he may be able to replicate the model.

Students as Diverse Learners

This section tests your knowledge of how students learn and perform in a variety of ways. You should be able to identify areas of exceptionality and know how these impact the learning process. You should be familiar with legislation related to exceptional learners, including gifted and ELL. Finally, you should be able to demonstrate how to accommodate students and modify instruction when appropriate.

Here is a concept you should know.

Modifying Instruction

There are many ways a teacher can modify instruction to support students. Some specific strategy ideas are listed on the following website: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/how-adapt-your-teaching-strategies-student-needs

Suppose you are teaching the steps of the water cycle to a second-grade class. Perhaps the vocabulary is difficult for an ELL student. Modifications to support this student may include pre-teaching the vocabulary words, matching the terms to visual cue cards, and/or teaching a song with repetition highlighting the terms.  

You may also decide to modify the assessment. You could provide pre-printed labels, so that the student only needs to glue the correct word to the visual step. The student is accurately assessed based on the meaning of the word, rather than correct spelling.

Modifications are also appropriate for intellectually gifted students. Allowing a student to pre-test or demonstrate prior knowledge, then work on a project instead of the standard assignment, is one way to meet students’ individual zones of proximal development.

Student Motivation and Learning Environment

This section tests your knowledge of behavioral theories and related theorists. The implications of motivation, classroom management, and self-motivation are also covered in this section.You should be able to demonstrate knowledge and apply strategies.

Take a look at this concept.

B.F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning

B.F. Skinner is credited with the theory of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning means that learning occurs when behavior changes. A stimulus causes a response; the reward conditions the person towards learning.

Positive and negative reinforcement are key elements in operant conditioning. A positive reinforcer might include verbal praise or a good grade. This will cause the learner to want to provide the desired response. A negative reinforcer will have the opposite effect.

Suppose you want your first graders to raise their hands prior to speaking out loud. You may use positive reinforcement, such as praise, when the desired behavior is observed. “Michael, I really like how you raise your hand and wait patiently to speak to the class. We are ready to hear your idea now.” Students will respond positively to this, rather than negative reinforcers of scolding or being ignored.

        

And that’s some basic info about the Students as Learners content category.

Instructional Process

Overview

The Instructional Process content category has 21 selected-response questions. These questions account for 22.5% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 4 sections:

  • Planning Instruction
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Questioning Techniques
  • Communication Techniques

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Planning Instruction

This content category tests your knowledge of how to plan instruction. You should understand how to plan instruction based on standards and theories. You should be able to plan according to a scope and sequence, selecting content to meet learning objectives. You should be aware of available resources and partners to help you plan instruction for all types of learners.

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Thematic Units

So you need to teach all content areas- math, reading, social studies, science, language arts, etc.- but you worry that the day will be choppy, and students may not make connections between learning. What can you do? Organizing and teaching around the main theme can be helpful. There are four key steps to teaching via a Thematic Unit:

  • selecting a theme
  • designing integrated learning activities
  • selecting resources
  • designing assessments

A learner-centered approach would be to ask the students what theme interests them. For example, a fourth-grade Thematic Unit in the fall may focus on football. A variety of fiction and non-fiction books about football could be displayed in the classroom. Students can go outside and take turns throwing a football to see how far they can make it go. Graph the results on a bar graph when you get back inside. Then read The Great Quarterback Switch by Matt Christopher, and have students respond from different points of view. The following day, have students label a United States map with the location of each football team, to support required social studies standards.

Instructional Strategies

This section tests your knowledge of instructional strategies. The ability to differentiate between cognitive processes, instructional models, and direct, indirect, and interactive instruction is needed. You should be able to make decisions regarding the grouping of students and know how to adjust teaching based on feedback.

Here is a concept you should know.

Instructional Models

You should be familiar with and know the benefits of the following instructional models:

  • Direct– This is the use of straightforward, explicit teaching techniques, usually to teach a specific skill. It is a teacher-directed method, meaning the teacher stands in front of a classroom and presents the information. This is helpful when teaching a new or foundational concept. The teacher makes sure students are given important information.
  • Indirect– Indirect instruction is mainly student-centered. It takes advantage of students’ interests and curiosity, often encouraging them to generate ideas or solve problems.
  • Independent– Once a concept is introduced, students are given the opportunity to practice new skills prior to assessment. This allows the teacher to monitor understanding and gauge needs for re-teaching.
  • Experiential– This approach encourages students to “learn by doing”. One benefit is higher engagement and interest in a lesson.
  • Interactive-While the teacher leads the lesson, students are required to actively listen and engage. Examples of interactive learning include reading with think- aloud and asking students to predict. One benefit is the focus on active, rather than passive, listening.

Questioning Techniques

This section tests your knowledge of questioning techniques. An effective teacher knows how, why, and when to question students. Strategic questioning leads to higher levels of thinking and engagement.

Take a look at this concept.

Think/Wait Time

The amount of silence following a question is a big deal! Research shows that longer periods of uninterrupted silence lead to an increase in correct and complete answers. A minimum of 3-5 seconds should be provided to young students before accepting responses. This period of time is sometimes called “wait time”. However, the term “think time” more accurately describes what students should be doing during this time. It is also appropriate for a teacher to pause 3-5 seconds prior to responding to student questions. This models the concept and allows the teacher to consider how to clearly word the response.

Communication Techniques

This content category tests your knowledge of verbal and nonverbal communication. A teacher should be aware of things that affect communication, know how to use communication tools, and understand effective listening strategies.

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Active Listening

Active listening is a technique that helps students focus, process, and understand what another person is saying. There are basically five steps to active listening:

  1. Focus on the person who is speaking.
  2. Show by your tone of voice, your friendly expression, and your “body language” that you are interested and want to be helpful.
  3. Don’t interrupt.
  4. Accept the person’s feelings without judgment.
  5. Paraphrase or repeat what the person has said to be sure you understand.

Active listening can relate to effective questioning. In step 5, if the listener is not clear on something said, he can ask questions to clarify.

Especially when working with young students, it is helpful to practice and model active listening. Consider the following activity:

Explain that one student will talk about a topic you suggest, and the other partner will paraphrase. You will keep time.

  1. Divide the class into pairs. Using a topic from below, have one person talk for one minute and have his or her partner paraphrase. What is a strong feeling you’ve been having lately? If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
  2. Have the pairs give each other feedback. Ask the people who did the paraphrasing to tell their partners what it was like for them to do this. Did they have trouble listening? Did they have trouble remembering what they heard? How did they feel about the experience? Then have the students who did the talking say what it was like for them to have their partner listen and paraphrase.
  3. Switch roles and repeat.
  4. Discuss. Was it easy or hard to paraphrase? How did it feel to do it? When you were the speaker, what was it like to hear yourself paraphrased?
  5. Repeat with other topics if desired.
  6. Summarize. Active listening is a tool that helps people clarify their understanding of one another and is essential in solving conflicts.

 

And that’s some basic info about the Instructional Process content category.

Assessment

Overview

The Assessment content category has 14 selected-response questions. These questions account for 15% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 2 sections:

  • Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
  • Assessment Tools

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies

This content category tests your knowledge of assessment and evaluation strategies. It is important to use a variety of tools and formats to make sure students are learning!

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Types of Assessments

There are three types of assessments: formative, summative, and diagnostic.

Let’s look at these…

Assessment Tools

This section tests your knowledge of assessment tools. Do you know the types, purposes, and scoring guidelines for assessments you will use in your class? Are you able to discuss these assessments and communicate results?

Take a look at this concept.

Norm- and Criterion-Referenced Scoring

These terms relate to how the results of an assessment are presented.

Norm-referenced is a percentage ranking compared to the average population. For example, “Sophie is at 45th percentile”. This means if you took 100 students and ranked them from top to bottom, Sophie would be 45 from the bottom. So higher is better. The average is 50. Most state accountability tests are norm-referenced.

Criterion-referenced means the test relates to some sort of established unit of measure. For example, the results may be reported in grade level equivalent scores: “John’s phonics skills are low 4th-grade level”.

And that’s some basic info about the Assessment content category.

Professional Development, Leadership, and Community

Overview

The Professional Development, Leadership, and Community content category has 14 selected-response questions. These questions account for 15% of the entire exam.

This content category tests your knowledge of professional development, leadership, and community. It is important that you be able to develop relationships and work with other people outside of your classroom. You also need to stay current on policies and laws.

Concepts to Know

Privacy and Confidentiality

One major piece of legislation to be aware of includes:

FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

This law outlines what information teachers and schools may share. Details and examples are found here:

https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

Occupational Therapists

Usually, occupational therapy is provided to students with disabilities. But occupational therapy can be made available to other children who are having specific problems in school. Occupational therapists complete evaluations and assessments and work with other members of the school-based team to help determine what is needed for a student to receive a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

Improving handwriting is an example in the elementary setting where an occupational therapist may work with the teacher and student.

And that’s some basic info about the Professional Development, Leadership, and

Community content category.

Analysis of Instructional Scenarios

Overview

The Analysis of Instructional Scenarios content category has 4 constructed-response questions. These questions account for 25% of the entire exam.

In this section, you will provide your own written response to given topics. For example, an essay question might present you with a topic and ask if you agree or disagree. You must support your position with specific reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading. You are allowed to use scratch paper to help you organize and plan your response.

Here are some tips for completing this section of the test:

  1. Answer the question accurately
  2. Answer the question completely
  3. Answer the question that is asked
  4. Give a thorough and detailed response
  5. Reread your response

Students as Learners Practice Test

Question 1

Mr. Keyes makes an effort to learn about the heritage and cultural background of each student at the beginning of each year. Which of the following describes the most likely benefit of this practice?

  1. The students will not form negative attitudes about each other’s heritage and cultural background.
  2. Mr. Keyes can ensure the teaching relates to the historical heritage of each student.
  3. The students will better appreciate Mr. Keyes’ teaching.
  4. Mr. Keyes can better adapt instruction to be relevant to the unique experiences of each student.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Mr. Keyes could teach about a war between two or more of the students’ cultures, which could lead to negative emotions about a student’s heritage. It is not possible to ensure a student’s perception towards another student or idea.
  2. Relating teaching to the historical heritage of each student may not be possible and would consume valuable classroom time that needs to be devoted to teaching state standards.
  3. The students may not care or like their culture or heritage, so this is not necessarily true.
  4. If Mr. Keyes is aware of the culture and heritage of each student, then he can adapt lessons and instruction to appeal to their culture and heritage.

Question 2

A science teacher plans to assign his class of students with varying academic needs a major research project. He wants the project to be a positive experience for all students, especially the lower achieving students. Which of the following approaches would be most beneficial for the students?

  1. Provide assistance to the students in planning the project and breaking the project into smaller sub-tasks to help the students manage and accomplish each task.
  2. Allow each student the freedom to choose the topic in which they have the most interest.
  3. Provide each student with a checklist of requirements that must be completed for the research project.
  4. Split the class into groups, having at least one high achieving student and one low achieving student in each group.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. Students have difficulty managing the scope and sequence of research projects. Breaking the project into small, manageable parts allows them to work more effectively and complete the project.
  2. Although students may be interested in the subject matter, without proper planning they are likely to lose motivation as the project progresses.
  3. Providing a checklist for students is beneficial, but most students struggle with the implementation and management of larger projects.
  4. While assigning groups of mixed abilities can benefit low-achieving students, breaking the task into smaller parts would benefit all students.

Question 3

Mr. Jones is entering grades into his gradebook when he takes notice of Tim’s entries. All homework and in-class assignments are marked missing, but Tim is scoring near perfects on all tests and quizzes. Mr. Jones accesses Tim’s standardized testing data and sees Tim tested well above the level of his peers.  What would be the best strategy going forward for Mr. Jones to utilize to engage Tim in the classroom?

  1. Provide Tim with opportunities to “test out” of content and move on to the next unit.
  2. Discuss with Tim the importance of completing in class assignments, even if they don’t interest him.
  3. Meet with Tim’s parents to devise a plan for how to proceed.
  4. Adjust the curriculum so Tim’s activities assess a higher level of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Testing out of content area does not allow Tim the opportunity to review the material or develop a deeper understanding of content he may already know.
  2. Requiring Tim to complete below-level activities is an easy out for the teacher, but will not enhance Tim’s interest in the classroom.
  3. While this would be an important step in modifying for Tim, it is not the best solution.
  4. Tim is likely ignoring the assignments because he finds them too easy; upping the difficulty of the tasks will peak Tim’s interests while also requiring him to interact with the content.

Question 4

Mr. Oden wants to establish and successfully implement classroom behavioral standards to create a positive classroom environment. Which of the following guidelines would be the best way for Mr. Oden to accomplish this goal?

  1. Use many standards to clearly define which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not acceptable
  2. Limit the number of standards to no more than five that focus on creating a positive classroom environment
  3. Provide up to five behaviors that students are not to exhibit and clearly outline consequences for exhibiting these negative behaviors
  4. Create ten classroom guidelines for all teachers to implement in their classrooms

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. Using many standards can overwhelm and confuse the students. Classroom standards should be clear and concise.
  2. There should not be more than three to five classroom rules and standards. Any more than this number overwhelms the students. The standards should be clear, concise, and general enough to guide students in how they should act. Behaviors should be positive. For example, “Every student should treat their classmate with respect” is a positive, general standard. ”Students should not insult other students” is a negative standard.
  3. All classroom rules and standards should be stated in a positive manner.
  4. Creating ten guidelines is incorrect because 1) ten guidelines can be overwhelming for students, and 2) one teacher should not make the rules and expect all of the other teachers to follow them.

Question 5

During a parent conference early in the year, Mrs. Sharp, a fifth grade social studies and science teacher, is alerted by a parent that her child, who is dyslexic, has complained that he does the same work that other students do and he feels that the teacher is not addressing his disability and he is falling behind in both subjects. What is the best way for the teacher to address this problem?

  1. The teacher starts sending the student to the Content Mastery Center on a daily basis.
  2. The teacher asks for help from the special education teacher and together with the parent goes over his IEP to determine what previous methods have been successful in addressing this student’s needs.
  3. The teacher secures help from off-campus professionals concerning working with dyslexic students and seeks courses to take that can better prepare her to work with students having this challenge in meeting standards.
  4. She asks the parent how she would like for the student to be taught.

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. The student needs to be integrated into the regular classroom and the classroom teacher would be neglecting her responsibility.
  2. This is the best answer choice because any student with a classified disability needs appropriate accommodation. Involving the special education teacher will allow the school to use their resources to best serve the needs of the student. This is the best procedure.
  3. The teacher must use the special education teacher so they are not in danger of violating any educational laws or regulations. Teachers should also use the resources on campus to address class issues and should not have to go outside of the district for this kind of assistance.
  4. The parents might have insight on what works best for the student, but it is not good practice to ask parents how to teach the student.

Question 6

Which of the following can be communicated through an open forum where all students, parents, and teachers can view the information?

  1. Classroom specific homework assignments and due dates
  2. Students’ progress reports
  3. Standardized testing scores
  4. Students’ learning disability diagnoses and curriculum modifications

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. This is public information and can be shared through a public medium.
  2. Student grades are sensitive information and should only be communicated to the student and parents of that student.
  3. Standardized test scores are sensitive information and should only be communicated to the student and parents of that student.
  4. Students’ learning disability diagnoses is sensitive information and should only be communicated to the student and parents of that student.

Question 7

Sara is a student who reads above grade-level and discusses ideas at a high level, but has been known to neglect class work and leave assignments unfinished when she does not see the point. She is not motivated by grades and her participation depends mostly on the subject being studied. Which of the following best describes Sara?

  1. externally motivated by teacher approval
  2. externally motivated by grades
  3. intrinsically motivated by interest in the content
  4. intrinsically motivated by a love of reading

Correct Answer: 3

Explanations:

  1. There is not evidence in the description to support Sara being motivated by teacher approval.
  2. Sara is not motivated by grades.
  3. Intrinsically-motivated students draw their motivation from the learning process. They find joy in the activity itself and learn for the sake of learning. Sara’s participation seems to depend on how valuable she finds the assignment.
  4. While the prompt does mention she is a strong reader, Sara does not appear motivated to read anything, but focuses on what interests her.

Question 8

The human body has many parts that work together as a person develops.  Which of these examples correctly expresses a delay in one area that impacts growth in another?

  1. A child with developmental delays is socially delayed because he struggles to relate to peers.
  2. A child with a physical disability from a car wreck is academically delayed because he uses a wheelchair.
  3. A child with a learning disability in math reasoning is also going to be physically delayed.
  4. A child with social delays from a speech disorder is academically delayed.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. This is often true as children with developmental delays will have interests different than typical peers.
  2. A child using a wheelchair is not automatically going to have academic struggles, especially if the physical disability is a result of an accident and not a genetic disorder.
  3. An academic disability does not equate to a physical disability.
  4. Social delays due to difficult to understand speech does not mean that a child is going to have struggles learning.

Question 9

Below is the zone of proximal development. What tasks should be in circle 3?

  1. Tasks a learner cannot do
  2. Tasks a learner can do with assistance
  3. Tasks a learner can do independently
  4. Tasks a gifted learner can do

Correct Answer: 1

Explanation: Circle 1 is tasks a learner can do independently, circle 2 is tasks a learner can do with assistance, and circle 3 is tasks a learner cannot do. The circles are the same for all learners.

Question 10

Kohlberg focused on stages of moral development that are aligned to Piaget’s theory on human development. Which of these stages is based on society’s view of the issue?

  1. Pre-conventional
  2. Conventional
  3. Post-conventional
  4. Both Conventional and post-conventional

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. During this phase, decisions are made based on the consequences of the action.
  2. During this phase, decisions are made based on how society views the situation.
  3. During this phase, decisions are made by an individual independent of societal views and may push back on them.
  4. Conventional is correct, but post-conventional development means making decisions independently.

Instructional Process Practice Test

Question 1

As the second-grade teachers are planning their next unit, they focus on differentiation for individual students. What is the best method for reaching students?

  1. Having centers with different level activities and each child works on their level
  2. Playing a math game and dividing students into groups based on ability level
  3. Assigning a writing project over animals and allowing them to choose an animal based on their interests
  4. Allowing students that finish a writing assignment early to illustrate the story.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. This allows each student to succeed and meet individual goals.
  2. The game is not differentiated so the students are not able to have individual learning experiences.
  3. This does not differentiate for students at different levels if they are all completing the same project.
  4. Drawing is not differentiation.

Question 2

Mrs. Cooper, a fourth-grade teacher, is using her planning period to review the learning expectations for the upcoming geography unit. How should Mrs. Cooper identify what to teach in this unit?

  1. Ask her principal.
  2. Google “teaching geography.”
  3. Plan a meeting with the third-grade social studies teacher to see where she left off and use her knowledge of geography to plan what should come next.
  4. Use the state-adopted standards for her grade level of social studies.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. While the principal would be able to inform Mrs. Cooper of where to access this information, it is not the best answer. Ultimately, the standards will come from the state-specific adopted standards or common core.
  2. Googling “teaching geography” would not provide results that would be aligned vertically with the geography instruction that the students have had and will have in other grades.
  3. Meeting with the third-grade teacher is not the best way to ensure vertical alignment of skills. There may be more than one teacher, for example, and this would not ensure Mrs. Cooper is teaching the appropriate information to prepare her students for future instruction.
  4. Each state either has a set of state-specific adopted standards or uses common core standards as the required framework for education in their state. These documents should guide instruction.

Question 3

To support an instructional unit in mathematics, a second-grade teacher plans to set up activity centers with manipulatives in the classroom. What is the main consideration of the teacher in setting up the centers?

  1. Each activity center should support a specific skill or set of objectives related to the unit.
  2. Students should visit the centers in a prescribed order during the unit for uniformity.
  3. Each center should include manipulative materials to meet the students’ various learning styles.
  4. Students should be allowed to visit centers only if they demonstrate good behavior.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. This is the best choice because having each activity center support a specific skill or set of objectives related to the unit provides reinforcement for that learning.
  2. Prescribing a uniform sequence for visiting the centers would create a logjam and a loss of engaged instructional time if students must wait.
  3. Activity centers for second-grade students serve important instructional purposes. Centers can contain manipulative materials for learning style variety, but they are not necessary for all centers.
  4. Using the centers only for students who demonstrate good behavior might remove this valuable instructional option for many students who need them, and this consideration focuses on discipline rather than learning values.

Question 4

During the units and most of the lessons, a teacher provides students the time to reflect on and assess what they have learned. What is the best reason for this instructional strategy?

  1. The students respond to a regular daily lesson structure, routine, and organization.
  2. The students enjoy active participation and opportunities to express themselves.
  3. The students can participate in this activity, even if they have limited skills.
  4. The students’ learning is reinforced, and teachers receive information on student learning.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Students do respond to lesson structure and organization, but that is not the main reason to include this reflection time at the end of the lesson.
  2. While many students will appreciate the opportunity, it is not the most important reason to include reflection at the end of a lesson.
  3. While all students can participate in a reflection activity, that is not the best reason for using this strategy.
  4. For instructional purposes, this is the best choice because it reinforces learning by having students actively consider what was taught. In this manner, teachers can also assess student learning.

Question 5

A second-grade teacher uses a portion of each day to have students read silently by themselves while she walks around the classroom assessing their reading abilities. The goal of the silent reading is to promote each student’s appreciation of and interest in reading. When selecting books for the students to read, it is most important for the teacher to choose books that:

  1. are slightly above their reading level, so students are challenged in their silent reading.
  2. are engaging and interesting to the students.
  3. relate to the current content being taught in other subjects.
  4. discuss real-life situations the students can relate and identify with.

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. While giving students books that are slightly above their reading level is sometimes beneficial to students, the question does not ask how best to increase their reading levels.
  2. To promote an interest in reading, the literature the students are reading needs to entertain and interest them. Students are not going to enjoy reading if the literature is boring.
  3. Students may not find the content being taught in other classes interesting.
  4. Although discussing real-life situations can be beneficial, it is not the most important characteristic of literature to promote the students’ interest in reading.

Question 6

A fourth-grade teacher plans a science unit that includes two experiments, one class project, a teacher presentation, and a field trip. Which of the following is the most important advantage of the teacher’s instructional unit?

  1. It ensures the content is structured in a coherent, understandable manner.
  2. It allows the teacher to cover a larger amount of material with less time.
  3. It allows students with varied learning styles to process the information using multiple sources.
  4. It gives students hands-on experience with the instructional unit.

Correct Answer: 3

Explanations:

  1. Ensuring the content is structured in an understandable manner is not the most important advantage, as this instructional unit does not guarantee the material will be structured properly, if at all.
  2. The teacher is using a lot of class time traveling on field trips and explaining experiments, so covering a larger amount of material with less time is not necessarily true.
  3. The various learning activities provide the students with multiple ways to process the material in various situations.
  4. Although students’ hands-on experience is important, this is not the most important advantage; some students may not benefit from hands-on activities.

Question 7

Mr. Blanson is planning a unit on land formations. Which of the following would serve as an effective introduction activity to activate prior knowledge?

  1. With students in pairs, provide a list of land formations and ask the students to sketch a picture of each from memory.
  2. Provide a list of terms and provide class time for students to look up the definitions.
  3. Show students a powerpoint with images of the land formations and their names.
  4. Provide the name and description of a land formation to each student and have them take turns presenting to the class.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. Letting students work in pairs and sketch the images from memory will give them an opportunity to activate prior knowledge, both through their discussion with their partner and trying to remember themselves what the land formation looks like. Activities that activate prior knowledge are excellent introductory activities.
  2. While this would expose students to the necessary information, it would not be the most effective way to introduce this new unit.
  3. While this would expose students to the necessary information, it would not be the most effective way to introduce this new unit. It would be an excellent lesson to follow an activity where students were given the opportunity to activate prior knowledge.
  4. This would likely be an effective way for each student to learn their assigned formation, but may not lead to the class as a whole retaining all the information regarding land formations. It would not be the best answer.

Question 8

Ms. Smith is planning to incorporate active listening instructions and expectations into her daily routine. Which of the following would best reinforce actively listening in class.

  1. At the beginning of class, have students complete a quick assessment to see what they remember from the previous day’s lesson.
  2. After giving instructions for an activity or assignment, have each student summarize or paraphrase the instructions for their neighbor.
  3. Include a specific, unusual instruction in the written instruction for an activity to see how many students are reading carefully.
  4. Provide purposefully contradicting information in verbal instructions and wait for a student to notice and ask for clarification.

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. A quick assessment of the previous day would more likely demonstrate their retention and comprehension of the material.
  2. Written instructions would not reinforce active listening.
  3. Having students repeat the instructions, and letting them know ahead of time that this will be an expectation, will encourage the practice of active listening.
  4. Providing purposefully contradicting instructions would not be a best practice for classroom instruction. Less misleading approaches would be more successfully incorporated into daily routines.

Question 9

A science class has just completed an instructional unit about the immune system and how it fights off infection and disease. Which of the following student activities would demonstrate the highest level of critical thinking?

  1. completing a multiple-choice assessment about the concepts covered during the instructional unit
  2. drawing a picture of a white blood cell and identifying the various parts
  3. making a list of common illnesses that the students face during the school year
  4. writing a short story about the typical day of a white blood cell from the perspective of a white blood cell

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. This option is a knowledge-based activity and does not require a high level of thinking to successfully complete.
  2. This option is a knowledge-based activity and does not require a high level of thinking to successfully complete.
  3. This option is a knowledge-based activity and does not require a high level of thinking to successfully complete.
  4. This is the best option. Taking the information from the instructional activity and creating a typical day from the perspective of a white blood cell is an activity at the synthesis level, which is the second highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Question 10

Which of the following would most help students develop time-management skills while working on a multi-step project that extends across many weeks?

  1. Allow students to create and have access to a computer folder to store and maintain their research notes and outlines.
  2. Require students to journal their progress and describe their next steps at the end of each class period.
  3. Ask the librarian to demonstrate to students how best to maintain research notes through a research project.
  4. Provide calendars to the students with the project due date marked, then ask them to create a plan for when each part of the project should be completed along the way.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Students having a digital copy and storage of their research notes would not improve their time management skills. This would, however, prevent confusion and allow students to organize their thoughts and notes quickly.
  2. Having a written journal is not the best resource to help students manage their time.
  3. Involving the librarian and the research project is a good activity, but unrelated to time management.
  4. Providing calendars and giving students the responsibility of setting a timetable within the project will encourage time-management skills and give students more ownership over their learning.

Assessment Practice Test

Question 1

Two social studies teachers are working together to create unit tests. To be successful, they must ensure that their tests:

  1. provide opportunities for students to respond to multiple-choice questions as well as true and false questions.
  2. specifically address the needs of the identified gifted students in their classes.
  3. include identified learning goals and critical thinking skills which students have previously been taught.
  4. offer questions on various levels of difficulty using a variety of assessment formats.

Correct Answer: 3

Explanations:

  1. Simply providing opportunities for students to respond to different types of questions does not promote the best testing procedures.
  2. All students should be encouraged to perform well on test items, not just identified gifted students.
  3. Including identified goals and critical thinking skills ensures that test questions are multi-faceted and have been aligned with material that has been taught.
  4. Offering questions on various levels of difficulty is a necessity, but test items should be verified to have been thoroughly addressed instructionally before being tested. Determining which learning objectives should be tested with precedes instruction.

Question 2

Mr. Jones assigns a new project to his students. After reviewing the project requirements, he hands out the grading rubric and explains what is expected from each project activity and how they will be graded. The use of the rubric best reflects which educational principle?

  1. Assessments should reflect each student’s knowledge and ability.
  2. Students should be made aware of project requirements before beginning.
  3. New projects should be accompanied by handouts to manage the expectations of the parents and students.
  4. Assessments should be objective.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Assessments should reflect each student’s knowledge and ability, but the use of a rubric does not reflect this principle.
  2. Students should be made aware of project requirements; however, the use of the rubric best reflects the principle that assessments should be objective. Rubrics establish the grading principles of an assignment and do not necessarily outline the project requirements.
  3. Accompanying new projects with a handout is a good practice, but a rubric is specific to what aspects of the project will be graded and how they will be graded.
  4. The rubric outlines what will be graded and how it will be graded. By outlining this from the beginning, the teacher will remain objective in the grading process.

Question 3

Of the following, which is the most important feature of an instructional assessment?

  1. The learning objectives are assessed and do not vary significantly from the material the students were taught.
  2. The class average is a score of 80%.
  3. It contains questions of varying difficulty.
  4. Each assessment has various methods of assessment so each student has an opportunity to be assessed in their learning technique.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. Assessments should gauge the knowledge of a student in the specific learning goals of the instructional unit. Also, the assessment should not include material that was not covered by the teacher.
  2. Trying to fit assessment grades into a specific spectrum may not yield a valid assessment. It is possible for the class average to be 50% or 100% and still have a good, well-constructed assessment.
  3. The difficulty of questions is of secondary importance to the content they cover.
  4. Although having various assessment methods is important, if the assessments do not cover the proper material then the students’ knowledge will not be accurately reflected.

Question 4

Ms. Johnson has implemented small intervention groups in her class to provide instruction to students who have similar needs. This allows Ms. Johnson to invite individual students to join the group to work on a specific set of skills. Which of the following would be the best use of these intervention groups by Ms. Johnson?

  1. to provide instruction to a minority of students who exhibit a noticeable lack of interest during instruction
  2. to provide instruction to a minority of students who have not demonstrated mastery of a specific content objective
  3. to assess the content mastery of the high achieving students to ensure the instructional units do not progress faster than the students’ capacity
  4. to assess a specific group’s content knowledge

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. Intervention groups should not be used for students simply because they are not showing interest. They may be uninterested for many reasons, one of which being that they already understand the information being taught. Other classroom management adjustments and/or enrichment opportunities would be a better response for these students.
  2. Intervention groups allow teachers to create a group based upon ability. This is possible because the group is formed by invitation and is not mandatory. Forming groups based on homogeneous ability allows the teacher to re-teach specific skills or concepts the group may not have grasped during regular classroom instruction.
  3. The mastery of most content can be evaluated with whole class assessments, so assessing the high achieving students in small groups would not be the best use of class time.
  4. The mastery of most content can be evaluated with whole class assessments, so assessing specific groups of students in small groups would not be the best use of class time.

Question 5

During the summer, a teacher obtains the standardized test results of the previous year for her upcoming students. This information can be best used to:

  1. Identify the instructional needs of each student and plan instruction to address gaps.
  2. Identify students with similar struggles in order to place them into groups.
  3. Discuss the results with other teachers to plan interdisciplinary units.
  4. Identify the best students in the upcoming class and plan instructional units to meet their needs.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. Using the results from last year gives the teacher an up-to-date profile of the students’ academic capabilities and needs. Using this, the teacher can identify potential weaknesses or areas where students need further instruction.
  2. Students should not be placed into groups based solely on academic ability.
  3. The test results might not be the best indicator of which interdisciplinary units would have the most success.
  4. Tailoring instruction to the highest achieving students will leave the remainder of the class behind and neglected.

Question 6

Having students submit individual self-assessments regarding their participation in group projects can be most helpful to the teacher in:

  1. identifying areas where the student’s perception of group participation does not align with the teacher’s observations.
  2. helping the teacher calculate the appropriate grade for group members.
  3. identifying students who work in a productive, responsible manner and contribute to the group.
  4. evaluating the retention and mastery of the instructional objectives of the project.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. The teacher can identify if students have overestimated their contributions to the group. In this way, the teacher can positively adjust future group activities.
  2. Using student feedback on their own performance can be taken into account when creating grades, but this would not be the most helpful aspect of self-assessment and should not have a significant weight in the final grade of the project.
  3. Students may not be aware that their actions were irresponsible or that they may misrepresent the facts of their work.
  4. The students are evaluating their participation, not demonstrating their grasp of the instructional concept.

Question 7

Mrs. Larken is providing information to her class about an upcoming state-mandated standardized test. She explains that this test is a criterion-referenced test. Which of the following describes a criterion-referenced test?

  1. a test where more points are lost for an incorrect answer than for a question unanswered
  2. a test that compares the score to a “norm group”
  3. a test with a set standard, or amount correct, required to pass
  4. a multiple choice test

Correct Answer: 3

Explanations:

  1. A test where more points are lost for an incorrect answer than for a question unanswered is not a description of a criterion-referenced test. It is a description of a grading policy that is no longer used on college admissions tests.
  2. Norm-referenced tests, not criterion-referenced, are tests that compare an individual’s performance/achievement to a group called the “norm group.”
  3. Criterion-referenced state tests are tests in which a standard has been set for the test taker to achieve in order to pass the test.
  4. Criterion-referenced tests are sometimes–but not always–multiple choice.

Question 8

Which of the following best describes holistic scoring regarding a writing assignment?

  1. The writing is divided into parts and each part is given a distinct grade
  2. The score best reflects the student’s self-assessment of the work
  3. The assignment is used to rank student’s ability within the grade level classroom
  4. The final score is based on the overall quality of the content and the mechanics

Correct Answer: 4

Explanation: This is the best answer option. The other choices are not the best description of holistic scoring.

Question 9

Mr. MacArthur is about to assign a major project to his students. Which of the following strategies would help promote students’ understanding of the project’s expectations?

  1. providing and discussing the rubric that will be used to grade the project with the students

  2. establishing work benchmarks where students must present a completion of work to the instructor throughout the project

  3. asking students to discuss the project with their parents and allowing the parents to contact the teacher directly with any questions

  4. requiring students to self-assess their progress as they work to complete the project

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. Discussing the rubric and providing it to students ahead of time will outline the requirements and grading standards for the project.

  2. Establishing benchmarks is a good process to help ensure students are working on the project and are on the correct path, but it does not help promote the students’ understanding of project expectations.

  3. Asking students to discuss the project with their parents could be helpful in keeping parents informed and involved–but it will only be helpful if the students already have a strong understanding of project expectations.

  4. Requiring students to self-assess their progress is a good process to help ensure students are working on the project and are on the correct path, but it does not help promote the students’ understanding of project expectations.

Question 10

Mrs. Clark has tasked her English students to write a poem about a memorable time in their life. Of the following, which is the most important assessment principle Mrs. Clark should implement?

  1. Assessments should be varied and allow students to demonstrate content knowledge through multimedia.
  2. Assessments should be objective and concrete.
  3. Assessments should be informal and focus on each student’s comprehension.
  4. Assessments should be returned within two weeks of the completed assignment.

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. Varying assessments is a very important principle, but objective assessments are the foundational principle of assessments.
  2. Every teacher should strive to have each assessment be objective, so favoritism or subjectivity cannot influence students’ grades.
  3. Informal assessments can serve a purpose, but many assessments should be formal as well.
  4. Returning assessments within two weeks is a good principle to strive to complete, but it is not the most important.

Professional Development, Leadership, and Community Practice Test

Question 1

Mr. Maher has implemented a new behavioral management program. Soon after the program is implemented, a student demonstrates an unacceptable behavior, and Mr. Maher schedules a parent–teacher conference with the student’s parents. Which of the following would be the actions that Mr. Maher should take to begin the meeting on a positive note?

Answers:

  1. Prepare notes about the student’s behavior to present to the parents with suggestions of appropriate disciplinary actions.
  2. Prepare notes about the student’s academic achievements to present to the parents and encourage the parents to discuss their observations of the student’s academic performance and behavior.
  3. Communicate to the parent about the specific actions the student has demonstrated that are in violation of the behavioral management program and the specific actions the student needs to improve his behavior.
  4. Communicate with parents the standards of the behavioral management program and provide the parents with strategies to implement the program at home.

Correct Answer: 2

Explanations:

  1. It is not the best strategy to begin the conference discussing the student’s behavior. Furthermore, it is not appropriate for the teacher to suggest how a parent should discipline their child.
  2. This is the best option as the teacher communicates the student’s academic achievements to begin the conversation on a positive note and then allows the parents to begin discussion of performance and behavior.
  3. It is not the best strategy to begin the conference discussing the student’s behavior. Furthermore, it is not appropriate for the teacher to suggest how a parent should discipline their child.
  4. It is not appropriate for the teacher to suggest how the parent should enforce discipline standards at home.

Question 2

Emerson Elementary is having all parents of third-grade students schedule a parent-teacher conference to discuss their students’ results in a recent statewide assessment. During the conferences, the primary goal of each teacher should be:

  1. to explain each student’s assessment results and in which areas the student demonstrates strengths and which areas the student demonstrates a weakness.
  2. to discuss with the parents the negative aspects of statewide assessment testing and how it can be improved.
  3. to share the results of each student’s assessment results relative to the rest of the third-grade class.
  4. to gain the parents’ insights into how instructional activities will meet the needs identified in the assessment.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. The purpose of the meeting is to convey to the parents the results of the test and answer questions regarding the results.
  2. Discussing the negative aspects of the test will not be productive as any conversation cannot change the state tests, and this does not convey the results of the test to the parent.
  3. It is not the teacher’s place to discuss the testing results of any other student outside the parent’s student. It is highly inappropriate to divulge the grades of other students.
  4. It is not the parent’s place to dictate the instruction of the child. This is the job of the teacher.

Question 3

Which of the following should be the first step of a teacher who wants to establish a relationship with parents where both the teacher and parent can initiate a conversation to discuss the student’s progress?

  1. Send an email to all of the students’ parents letting them know the conference hours of the teacher.
  2. Require parents to sign the planners of their students each night and let the parents know the planners are a great way to relay notes to the teacher.
  3. Write a positive letter to the parents about the progress of each child.
  4. At the beginning of the year, set up a meeting with each parent to discuss mutual goals for their student.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Sending out a mass email is not personal and is not the best way to establish a relationship.
  2. The parents and a teacher should not communicate only between the student and especially in a student’s planner.
  3. Writing a positive letter does not establish a mutual communication because the parents are not active in the communication.
  4. This is the best answer, as it establishes a personal relationship between the parents and the teacher. Also, the first communication between the parents and the teacher is a positive one, which begins the relationship on the best foot possible.

Question 4

Mrs. Greak just received her roster of second grade students for the new school year. There is a “Back to School” event in 2 days. Students and families may come and meet their teacher. The principal has sent out an email to the school community informing them about the event and has asked her teachers to contact families as well. What is the best way for Mrs. Greak to reach out to her families?

  1. Call each family to introduce herself and invite them to the event.
  2. Send a postcard to each family with a picture of herself and an invitation.
  3. Send an additional email to the families with a brief introduction and remind them about the event.
  4. Send a handwritten note to each child with details about her class and the event.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. This method allows Mrs. Greak to make a connection with each family at the beginning of the year and this helps support the student and their academic goals.
  2. The postcards may not make it before the event.
  3. This is repetitive and does not make a personal connection.
  4. The note may not make it to the student’s house before the event.

Question 5

A common complaint by parent volunteers at Ponder Elementary School is that they feel their effort is not recognized and rewarded. To ensure the retention of parent volunteers in the future, the best approach the principal can take to avoid these emotions is to:

  1. have teachers and administrators create specific tasks for the parent volunteers to accomplish so they can have clear, identifiable tasks to complete.
  2. have parents only volunteer in the classrooms of their children, allowing them to spend greater amounts of time with their own children.
  3. have each volunteer work in a different environment each time they volunteer, allowing them to contribute to multiple areas of the school.
  4. have each volunteer decide how they wish to contribute to the school.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. Giving each volunteer specific tasks to complete will allow them to see the results of their work. Also, it will allow teachers to identify specific tasks completed by the parents and acknowledge each parent’s effort.
  2. Parents should not always volunteer in the same class as their child. They need to be willing to try different areas that contribute to the entire school.
  3. Shuffling the volunteers around is not a good idea, as it is better for parents to have a routine in which they can see their effort rewarded over an extended period of time.
  4. Each volunteer may not be aware of the school’s needs or how best they can help.

Question 6

After a long day at school, Miss Jackson gets home and opens up Facebook. She is frustrated because a parent has been complaining about her teaching methods and behavior management. Which of the following is acceptable to post as a status update on her social media page?

  1. Education would be great if it weren’t for parents! Such a long day!
  2. I love my job, but it can be so frustrating sometimes.  
  3. Can’t wait until June when I don’t have to deal with parent meetings.  
  4. Nothing. As a teacher, it is unprofessional to post negative comments about education.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. This does not advocate positively for the profession. It also does not help build relationships with parents.
  2. This is honest, but teachers serve as an advocate for education. This statement does not reflect well on the field.
  3. Negativity like this does not benefit education.
  4. The professional life of a teacher should not be discussed on social media.

Question 7

At the year’s beginning, a new teacher becomes unsure about all of her responsibilities, including instruction and required documentation and record keeping. Which of the following would be the most effective way for this teacher to secure help?

  1. Revisit college textbooks and notes on instruction and procedures.
  2. Go online to get ideas from teacher blogs, etc.
  3. Ask the department head or team leader for advice and request a mentor teacher with whom to work.
  4. Use the professional library on campus to research how teachers can use their time more efficiently.

Correct Answer: 3

Explanations:

  1. Revisiting college textbooks could help but would take time and still not provide suitable assistance.
  2. Getting ideas online can be helpful and could provide assistance but would not be specific enough to meet the teacher’s needs.
  3. This would be the most effective manner by which to receive help because a mentor would be able to give specific suggestions and ideas to help the new teacher quickly and to offer ongoing help throughout the year. Too many beginning teachers quit the profession early in their career because they do not ask for help and they do not have a mentor with whom to share resources and verbal support.
  4. The library on campus can be helpful, but the best answer would be to ask for a mentor.

Question 8

After an informal observation, Mr. Miller receives written feedback from an assistant principal, Ms. Hill.  Most of the feedback is positive, but Ms. Hill said that the end of the lesson needed improvement. What would be an appropriate response from Mr. Miller to this observation?

  1. Can we work together to develop a better method for ending a lesson?
  2. Can you provide a specific example of what part needed improvement?
  3. Could I have another observation as I ran out time to properly conclude the lesson?
  4. Thank you for all of the positive feedback. (Mr. Miller does not need to address the critique as the rest of the lesson was done well.)

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. This approach encourages collaboration and an improvement in teaching methods.
  2. A specific example will not help improve the teaching methods of Mr. Miller.
  3. Giving excuses does not help improve teaching methods.
  4. All people have room for improvement.

Question 9

Which of the following is the most appropriate professional development activity for teachers?

  1. Chaperoning and sponsoring school activities.
  2. Coaching little league baseball.
  3. Volunteering in extra-curricular religious activities.
  4. University classes or professional workshops relating to the field they teach.

Correct Answer: 4

Explanations:

  1. Chaperoning and sponsoring school activities does not help promote teachers’ in-classroom skills. Professional development should help teachers develop their professional skills.
  2. Coaching little league does not help promote teachers’ in-classroom skills. Professional development should help teachers develop their professional skills.
  3. Volunteering in extra-curricular activities does not help promote teachers’ in-classroom skills. Professional development should help teachers develop their professional skills.
  4. This is the best answer option because it allows the teachers to increase their knowledge in the fields they teach. Professional development should help teachers develop their professional skills.

Question 10

The main purpose of educational journals and publications is to:

  1. keep educators aware of current trends and research relating to instructional techniques and best practices.
  2. profit from the grants by private institutions and grants by the government in education.
  3. reinforce a teacher’s understanding of the subject matter they are teaching.
  4. identify current laws and legislation affecting education, especially in the area of special needs students.

Correct Answer: 1

Explanations:

  1. It is the purpose of educational publications to inform educators of current trends and research in education so they can best meet the needs of their students.
  2. Although profiting from the grants might happen, it is not the main purpose of publications.
  3. A teacher should know the content they are teaching and should not rely on publications to reinforce their content knowledge.
  4. Identifying current laws is important and could be the purpose of specific publications, but it is not the main purpose for most educational publications.
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