CliffsTestPrep CSET: California Subject Examination for Teachers

CliffsTestPrep CSET: California Subject Examination for Teachers

by Jerry Bobrow Ph.D., Stephen Fisher

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The CliffsTestPrep series offers full-length practice exams that simulate the real tests; proven test-taking strategies to increase your chances at doing well; and thorough review exercises to help fill in any knowledge gaps. <See PDF example>

CliffsTestPrep CSET can help you prepare for the California Subject Examination Test: Multiple

…  See more details below


The CliffsTestPrep series offers full-length practice exams that simulate the real tests; proven test-taking strategies to increase your chances at doing well; and thorough review exercises to help fill in any knowledge gaps. <See PDF example>

CliffsTestPrep CSET can help you prepare for the California Subject Examination Test: Multiple Subjects. The Commission on Teacher Credentialing uses the CSET to evaluate subject matter competence for instructors seeking the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Inside this test prep tool, you'll find

  • Full-length practice tests with answers and in-depth explanations
  • Analysis of exam areas and question types with emphasis on suggested approaches and samples
  • Intensive review of subjects using outlines, glossaries, and diagnostic tests
  • Introduction to the format and scoring of the exam, overall strategies for answering multiple-choice questions, and questions commonly asked about the CSET
  • Some test-taking tips and reminders to put candidates on the right track

This book will help you understand the types of questions that will test your knowledge in seven general areas, including Visual and Performing Arts. You can get ready to show what you know in topics such as

  • Sentence structure, preferred usage, and conventional forms of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation in written English
  • United States and California history of early exploration through modern-day economic, political, and cultural development
  • The fundamentals of mathematics with focus on prime numbers, factors, integers, ratio, area, volume, perpendicular, and more
  • Primary scientific concepts,principles, and interrelationships in the context of real-life problems and significant science phenomena and issues
  • Concepts of biomechanics that affect movement and the critical elements of basic movement skills
  • Social development of children and young adolescents, including persons with special needs
  • Components of dance, music, theatre, and visuals arts education

With guidance from the CliffsTestPrep series, you'll feel at home in any standardized-test environment! (For additional help, be sure to visit the Test Prep Think Tank for free online resources.)

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Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
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CliffsTestPrep Series
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CliffsTestPrep CSET

Multiple Subjects

By Jerry Bobrow Stephen Fisher

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2003

Jerry Bobrow, Stephen Fisher
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7645-3983-3

Chapter One

Subtest I: Reading, Language, and Literature


The Reading, Language, and Literature section concentrates on the components of reading literacy, language and
linguistics, nonwritten and written communication, and the elements, concepts, conventions, and interpretations of
literature. Reading and Language studies include the operations of language development and its use in oral and written
expression. Literature studies include both narrative and expository texts and the written materials of all
disciplines. The scope of questions allows you to demonstrate your understanding and knowledge of reading, literature,
and language. This section also tests your ability to use higher-order thinking skills in analyzing problems relevant
to the topics and to apply the principles of the language arts in a variety of contexts.

The multiple-choice section contains 26 questions, which are grouped together, and 2 short constructed-response
questions. The questions cover the following major content areas and focus on the topics listed under each.

*Content Specifications in Reading,Language,
and Literature

*These are the actual California state content specification standards, available on-line.

Content Domains for Subject Matter Understanding
and Skill in Reading, Language, and Literature

Domain 1: Language and Linguistics

1.1 Language Structure and Linguistics.

Candidates are able to identify and demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental components of human
language, including phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, as well as the role of pragmatics in using
language to communicate.

In the context of these components, they reflect on both the potential for differences among languages and the
universality of linguistic structures.

Candidates can demonstrate knowledge of phonemic awareness (e.g., the processes of rhyming, segmenting, and

They apply knowledge of similarities and differences among groups of phonemes (e.g., consonants and vowels)
that vary in their placement and manner of articulation.

Candidates know the differences between phoneme awareness and phonics.

They know the predictable patterns of sound-symbol and symbol-sound relationships in English (the Alphabetic

Candidates identify examples of parts of speech and their functions, as well as the morphology contributing to
their classification.

They recognize and use syntactic components (such as phrases and clauses, including verbals) to understand and
develop a variety of sentence types (e.g., simple, compound, and complex sentences).

1.2 Language Development and Acquisition.

Candidates apply knowledge of both the development of a first language and the acquisition of subsequent ones.

They can describe the principal observable milestones in each domain and identify the major theories that attempt
to explain the processes of development and acquisition.

Candidates demonstrate that they understand the range of issues related to the interaction of first languages and
other languages.

They are able to recognize special features that may identify a pupil's language development as exceptional,
distinguishing such features from interlanguage effects.

1.3 Literacy.

Candidates for Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials understand and use the major descriptions of developing

In both English speakers and English learners, candidates can identify the progressive development of phonemic
awareness, decoding, comprehension, word recognition, and spelling (including its complexities related to the
interaction of phonology, the alphabetic principle, morphology, and etymology).

Candidates understand how these processes interact with the development of concepts, of vocabulary (including
relationships among etymologies and both denotative and connotative word meanings), and of contextual analysis.

1.4 Assessment.

In assessing developing literacy, candidates for Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials apply knowledge of the
implications that language development and differences have for the processes of learning to read and reading
to learn.

They know and apply a range of assessment methods and instruments to the respective and interrelated developing
abilities in listening (for aural/oral languages), speaking, reading (decoding and comprehension), vocabulary, and
spelling conventions.

Domain 2: Nonwritten and Written Communication

2.1 Conventions of Language.

Applying their knowledge of linguistic structure, candidates for Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials identify
and use the conventions associated with what is called standard English.

They recognize, understand, and use a range of conventions in both spoken and written English, including varieties
of sentence structure, preferred usage, and conventional forms of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation in
written English.

2.2 Writing Strategies.

Candidates describe the stages of the writing process. They understand the purpose and techniques of various
prewriting strategies (e.g., outlining, webbing, and note taking).

Candidates revise and edit writing, drawing upon their understanding of principles of organization, transitions,
point of view, word choices, and conventions.

2.3 Writing Applications.

Candidates demonstrate their knowledge of principles of composition, such as paragraphing, transitional phrases,
appropriate vocabulary, and context.

Candidates compose and/or analyze writing according to conventions in different genres, including narrative,
interpretive, descriptive, persuasive, and expository writing, as well as summaries, letters, and research reports.

They understand and are able to use bibliographic citations in a standard format.

2.4 Nonwritten Communication.

Candidates demonstrate knowledge of nonwritten genres and traditions, and their characteristics (e.g.,
organization), including narratives, persuasive pieces, research presentations, poetry recitations, and responses to

They apply understandings of language development stages, from preproduction (beginning) to intermediate fluency,
to children's developing abilities in such areas.

Candidates analyze speech in terms of presentation components (e.g., volume and pace) and pronunciation fluency,
and identify the integration of nonverbal components (e.g., gesture) with verbal elements (e.g., volume).

Candidates demonstrate knowledge of dialects, idiolects, and changes in what is considered standard oral English
usage and their effects on perceptions of speaker performance, with attention to the dangers of stereotyping and

They also demonstrate an understanding of the potential impact on nonwritten presentations of images, sound,
and other features from electronic media.

2.5 Research Strategies.

Candidates demonstrate their ability to use a variety of research sources, both print and electronic.

They interpret such research, putting to use their findings and interpretations to construct their own reports and

Candidates also understand the importance of citing research sources, using recognizable and accepted conventions
for doing so.

Domain 3: Texts

3.1 Concepts and Conventions.

Candidates analyze narrative and expository texts, with special attention to children's literature, from a range of
cultures, for both literary elements and structural features.

They identify themes derived from cultural patterns and symbols found in rituals, mythologies, and traditions.

Candidates identify and analyze evidence of an author's or narrator's perspective in both fiction and nonfiction.

Candidates identify and evaluate structural devices in prose and poetry (such as rhyme, metaphor, and alliteration),
and they examine the connections among organizational structures, the writer's view point, and the goals of reading.

3.2 Genres.

Candidates analyze texts in different literary genres (novels, short stories, folk and fairy tales, and poetry of
various types, for example), as they are represented in different cultures, according to their structure,
organization, and purpose.

Candidates demonstrate an understanding of structural features and their applications in various types of expository
and narrative materials, including popular media such as magazines and newspapers.

They understand and evaluate the use of elements of persuasive argument in print, speech, videos, and in other

3.3 Interpretation of Texts.

Candidates analyze both implicit and explicit themes and interpret both literal and figurative meanings in texts,
from a range of cultures and genres, using textual support for inferences, conclusions, and generalizations they
draw from any work.

They evaluate the structure, purpose, and potential uses of visual text features, such as graphics, illustrations,
and maps.

Candidates recognize and analyze instances of bias and stereotyping in a text.

Sample Questions and Strategies for the
Multiple-Choice Section

Each of the following examples represents an area tested on the Reading, Language, and Literature multiple-choice
segment. An analysis follows each question.

Domain 1: Language and Linguistics

1.1 Language Structure and Linguistics.

1. Which of the following vowel patterns is most inconsistent in its pronunciation?

A. ai
B. ee
C. ea
D. oa

First, circle or underline what you are looking for. In this case, the vowel pattern ... most inconsistent in its
pronunciation. Next, you may wish to try using these vowel patterns in some words. You will notice that in choice C,
ea is commonly associated with more than one pronunciation such as dream (long e sound) or dread (short
e sound). The correct answer is C.

2. Which one of the following is not a complete sentence?

A. The cat wandered down the alley.
B. While Tom is a student known to many of us.
C. The whale breeched once and then was seen no more.
D. The attached guidelines were distributed to all concerned parties.

First circle or underline what you are looking for: not a complete sentence. "While Tom is a student known to many of
us" is a subordinate clause. It is used to modify a word, phrase, or clause and cannot stand by itself. The other three
choices all contain subjects, predicates, and complete ideas. The correct answer is B.

3. A second grader is unable to blend phonemes said aloud by the teacher into a word. For example after hearing
/s/ /a/ /t/, the child says "kitten." What does this suggest to the teacher for instruction?

A. The use of magnetic letters in a small group would assist the student in mastering this skill.
B. The student would benefit from working on this skill with a volunteer or teacher's aide.
C. The student is unaware of syllables and needs explicit instruction in this area.
D. The student needs more instruction in phonemic awareness in addition to his or her reading instruction.

Remember to underline the important words in the question: suggest to the teacher for instruction. Phonemic blending is
a phonemic awareness skill that a student should possess by age six, or first grade. The teacher needs to assess the
student's phonemic awareness to find areas of weakness and emphasize the areas that the student lacks. Even though the
student has completed kindergarten and first grade, this skill has not been mastered by the student. Blending is an
important prerequisite to reading, and students need practice and explicit instruction in this skill. The correct
answer is D.

1.2 Language Development and Acquisition.

1. Focusing on roots to help understand the meaning of words is based on:

A. being familiar with languages that are historically related to English.
B. knowing how to use prefixes and suffixes to analyze words.
C. comparing English words with many Asian words.
D. understanding.

Many words and roots come from languages that are historically related to English and have similar spellings and
meanings in English. The correct answer is A.

1.3 Literacy.

1. A first-grade teacher plans a reading lesson for a class with many English learners from diverse
sociocultural backgrounds. Which of the following should the teacher consider first before preparing her lesson?

A. preparing visual tools (e.g., pictures, illustrations, diagrams)
B. preparing a portfolio for each child with strategies for individual instructional needs
C. preparing strategies for teaching reading lessons written in their native language(s) to meet individual
D. including read-aloud reading material that is culturally sensitive

In a balanced comprehensive reading program, the teacher must provide reading materials to meet the reading level of
all students in the class. In order to develop materials that help children become skilled readers, the teacher must
first develop and prepare individual student portfolios in order to diagnose and meet individual needs. Answer choices
A and D are important instructional tools that can be included in reading lessons, but they should be introduced after
initial assessments and possible intervention strategies are conducted. The correct answer is B.

2. The part of the word "synchronous" that means "time" is:

A. chron.
B. syn.
C. sync.
D. ronous.

Chron comes from the word chronos, which means time. The word synchronous is an
adjective describing events that happen or states that exist at the same time. The correct answer is A.

1.4 Assessment.

1. A first-grade teacher notices that one of her students is struggling with reading. He is in the
lowest-achieving reading group and the teacher has tried some strategies to improve his reading, but he seems to not
make any progress. What are the next steps the teacher should take in working with this student?

A. Assess his reading and target instruction to meet identified skill needs. In addition, keep anecdotal
records of reading behavior and communicate with parents to gain assistance.
B. Request the help of any specialists, such as the reading specialist, resource specialist, or counselor,
at the school to make a joint decision on how to best help the student.


Excerpted from CliffsTestPrep CSET
by Jerry Bobrow Stephen Fisher
Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Bobrow, Stephen Fisher.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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