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About This Book
REA's The Best Teachers' Test Preparation for the Florida Teacher Certification Examination: Elementary Education K-6 is a comprehensive guide designed to assist you in preparing to take the Florida Teacher Certification Examination required for teaching at the elementary level, kindergarten through grade 6. To enhance your chances of success in this important step toward your career as a teacher in Florida elementary schools, this test guide:
o Identifies some of the important information and its representation on the FTCE: K-6;
o summarizes the content for a quick review;
o provides sample questions in the actual test format;
o suggests tips and strategies for successfully completing standardized tests;
o presents an accurate and complete overview of the FTCE: K-6;
o provides two practice tests for rehearsal before the test date;
o replicates the format of the FTCE: K-6;
o represents the types and the levels of difficulty of the questions that appear on the test; and o supplies the correct answer and detailed explanations for each question on the two practice tests; this enables you not only to identify correct answers but also to understand why they are correct and, just as important, why the other answers are incorrect.
The guide is a result of studying many resources. The editors considered the most recent test administrations, other test guides, and professional standards; they also researched information from the Florida Department of Education, professional journals, textbooks, and educators.
In addition to guiding your preparation for certification, recertification, out-of-field certification, or multiple certifications, this REA test prep is a valuable resource for college and university personnel and in-service trainers. They will find the book helpful as they construct help sessions and recommend resources for a test candidate. The guide may even suggest topics or content to include in a college course syllabus.
Although our book is intended to help you succeed on the FTCE: K-6, you should not consider it a replacement for any college course, a duplicate of the test, or a complete source of subject matter to master. Like knowledge itself, the FTCE: K-6 can change.
This book includes the best test preparation materials based on the latest information available from test administrators. The number and distribution of questions can vary from test to test. Accordingly, prospective examinees should pay strict attention to their strengths and weaknesses and not depend on specific proportions of any subject areas appearing on the actual exam.
About the Test
Who Must Take the FTCE: K-6?
Individuals take the FTCE: K-6 to obtain a temporary certificate (nonrenewable and valid for three school years) or a professional certificate (Florida's highest educator certificate, renewable and valid for five school years). To obtain either certificate, a prospective teacher must demonstrate mastery of subject matter knowledge, as indicated by a passing score on the FTCE: K-6.
People taking the test include (1) individuals seeking initial teacher certification in Florida, (2) educators with temporary certificates who want professional certificates, and (3) educators who are making changes in their teaching career. You are eligible to take the test if you are:
o enrolled in a college or university teacher preparation program at the bachelor's or master's degree level,
o teaching with provisional certification, or
o making a change in your teaching career.
What If I Do Not Pass the Test?
If you do not achieve a passing score on the FTCE: K-6, you should not panic! Instead, as a serious test taker, plan to retake the test after waiting at least 31 days. The waiting period enables you to do additional work to improve your score on the next test. Remember, a low score on the FTCE is not an -indication that you should change your plans about a teaching career.
Who Designs the Test?
The Florida Department of Education develops and administers the FTCE: K-6. The test reflects modifications the Florida Legislature has made to the program of testing required for teacher candidates, who must demonstrate mastery of subject matter in areas covered by the certification.
A committee developed the FTCE: K-6. The specialists on the committee came from within the state and included teachers, supervisors, and college faculty with expertise in the content areas. Recommendations by professional organizations, content area experts, and teachers' unions assisted in the selection of committee members.
The committee identified the information for inclusion on the FTCE: K-6 and validated the content. To develop the test, the committee used reviews of the literature, surveys of and interviews with teachers, pilot tests, and their own expertise. They designed and implemented a validation process to ensure that the content and difficulty level of the test are appropriate.
When Should I Take the FTCE: K-6?
Most candidates for teacher certification take the test just before or after graduation. Some institutions have rules about the dates by which students must have taken and passed the examination. Consult the rules of the college where you are enrolled to determine if any stipulations exist.
The Florida Department of Education establishes the tests you must take for certification and the deadlines by which you must complete the tests for certification purposes. For instance, if you have a temporary certificate, it is good for only three years; if you do not take and pass the required FTCE: K-6 within the period that the Florida- State Department sets, your certificate can lapse.
Typically, there are four or five administrations of the FTCE: K-6 during the academic year, usually on a Saturday,- at several locations throughout the state of Florida. However, the state often plans four or five supplemental test dates to accommodate test takers whose schedules might conflict with the typical testing schedule because of religious obligations, for instance. In addition, a test candidate who has a disability and cannot take the test under standard testing conditions can request special accommodations. A disabled test taker needs to check with the Florida Department of Education about rules for requesting special arrangements.
Several Web sites, phone numbers, and addresses help you stay up-to-date with information about the FTCE: K-6. You can contact the Florida Department of Education as follows:
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 414
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400
Phone: (850) 488-8198 or (813) 974-2400
Web site: http://www.fldoe.org/
In addition, these Web sites provide useful information:
The FTCE Home Page: http://www.firn.edu/doe/sas/ftcehome.htm
Certification Examinations for Florida Educators: http://www.cefe.usf.edu/
Is There a Registration Fee?
To take the FTCE: K-6, you must pay a registration fee. Payment must be by personal check, money order, cashier's check, or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Cash is not accepted. For information on the current test rules, regulations, and fees, contact the Florida Department of Education or go to the Web sites listed above.
How to Use This Book and TESTware®
The following sections outline ways you can use this study guide and take the practice tests to help you prepare for the FTCE: K-6.
Apart from the book itself, we give you a CD-ROM with the diagnostic and practice tests. We strongly recommend that you begin your preparation with the TESTware® tests. The software provides the added benefits of instantaneous, accurate scoring and enforced time conditions. What's more, its powerful diagnostic component provides performance percentages for individual competencies, allowing you to manage your precious study time efficiently and effectively.
How Do I Begin Studying?
1. Review the organization of this test preparation guide.
2. Follow the "FTCE: K-6 Study Schedule" presented at the end of this chapter. The schedule is for a seven-week independent study program, but you can condense or expand the schedule according to the time you have available.
3. Take the Diagnostic Test.
4. Score the Diagnostic Test according to the directions in the section of this chapter titled "Scoring the
5. Review the section of this chapter titled "Format of the FTCE: K-6," which provides the format of items on the sample test and a replica of the real test.
6. Review the suggestions for test taking presented later in this chapter.
7. Pay attention to the information about the competencies and skills, content, and topics on the test.
8. Spend time reviewing topics that warrant more study.
9. Take the Practice Test and study those competencies that your test scores indicate need more review.
10. Follow the suggestions presented later in this chapter for the day before and the day of the test.
Thoroughly studying the subject area reviews in Chapters 2 through 6 of this guide will reinforce the basic skills you need to do well on the exam. Taking the practice tests under timed, simulated testing conditions will help you become familiar with the format of the FTCE: K-6 and the procedures involved in taking the actual test.
How to Use This Book and TESTware®
When Should I Start Studying?
It is never too early to start studying for the FTCE: K-6. (Actually, you started preparing when you began your first college course and internship.) The earlier you begin using this guide, however, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not the most effective way to study; it does not give you the time you need to think about the content, review the competencies, and practice the test. It is important, however, to review the material one last time the night before the test administration.
Format of the FTCE: K-6
The FTCE: K-6 requires all morning and most of the afternoon to complete; test takers get a lunch break between the two parts. At the start of the test, you will receive two test booklets: one for the morning test (about 135 minutes) and one for the afternoon test (125 minutes). The total test-taking time is, therefore, 260 minutes (4 hours, 20 minutes); adding the tutorial time and the lunch break, the total examination period is 330 minutes. The FTCE: K-6 is the only subject area test that you cannot take on the same day as another test, for instance the Professional Education Test.
You should have plenty of time to complete the FTCE: K-6 during the examination period, but you will need to be aware of the amount of time you spend on each question. You do not want to find you have run out of time before you finish all the questions. Although speed is not very important, a steady pace is necessary when answering the questions. Using the practice tests will help you set your pace.
Each of the roughly 223 questions has four answer options: A, B, C, and D. Test takers will receive answer sheets on which they will mark their responses by filling in the "bubbles." Individual test items require levels of thinking, ranging from simple recall to evaluation, analysis, and problem solving. The questions, however, are all in multiple-choice format. To complete the FTCE: K-6 in the allotted 260 minutes, you should allow yourself about one minute for each test question.
Format of Questions on the FTCE: K-6
There are several types of questions on the FTCE: K-6. The types are (1) scenario; (2) direct question, -command, and sentence completion; (3) graphs and maps; (4) graphics; and (5) word problems. Following are definitions of each type of question and examples for practice.
1. Scenario. You must examine a case study, scenario, or problem and answer the question, diagnose the problem, or suggest the best course of action from the provided options.
i. A student describes an analysis of a recent presidential address for the class. The teacher- replies, "You have provided us with a most interesting way of looking at this issue!" The teacher is using
(A) simple positive response.
(B) negative response.
(D) academic praise.
ii. While waiting for students to formulate their responses to a question, a student blurts out an answer. The teacher should
(A) ignore the answer entirely.
(B) respond immediately to the student's answer.
(C) silently acknowledge the student's response and address the response after someone else has answered the question.
(D) move on to another question without comment.
2. Direct question, sentence completion, and command. The examinee must choose the option that best answers the question, best completes the sentence, or best responds to the command given. With the direct question, there is actually a question mark as punctuation in the question stem. The examinee answers the question.
iii. Which of the following is a trait of effective professional development?
(A) A continuous plan of lifelong learning
(B) Activities developed solely by the principal
(C) A one-hour stand-alone workshop
(D) A totally theory-based program
iv. What is one way of incorporating nonperformers into a discussion?
(A) Ask a student to respond to a previous student's statement.
(B) Name a student to answer a question.
(C) Only call on students with their hands raised.
(D) Allow off-topic conversations.
3. With the sentence completion, there is a portion of the sentence omitted. The test-taker chooses the best answer to finish the statement declaratory sentence.
v. Teachers convey emotion through
(A) body language, eye contact, and verbal cues.
(B) verbal contact and cues.
(C) voice levels.
(D) the way they listen.
4. With the command, the word you is understood. The test-taker is given a direction to follow.
vi. Identify the type of traditional literature that serves to explain why a phenomena or phenomenon occur(s).
(B) Fairy tale
5. Graph or map. Identify or interpret a graph or map by choosing the response that best answers the question.
vii. The following graph shows sales totals for each region of the state in thousands of dollars; the graph shows the totals by yearly quarters.
The egion with the largest total sales for the year is
(A) the east.
(B) the north.
(C) the west.
(D) the south.
6. Graphics. Choose the response that best answers a question about a number line, a geometric figure, a chart, a graph of lines or curves, or a table-but not the typical maps and graphs of the previous question type.
viii. Troubled by what seems to be an increase in gang-type activity among increasingly younger children, Bill wants to find out what his students think and know about gangs. He wants to learn the most he can about the students' thinking on this topic in the least amount of time. He wants all students to have the chance to share what they think and know, yet he also wants to maximize interaction among students. The students will spend the entire morning reading, talking, and writing a group report about this subject. Which of the following seating arrangements would best help Bill meet his objectives?
(A) The upper-left diagram
(B) The lower-left diagram
(C) The upper-right diagram
(D) The lower-right diagram
7. Word problem. Apply mathematical principles to solve a real-world problem.
ix. Examine the following addition problems worked by an elementary school student. Analyze what error pattern the student's work is exhibiting. If the student worked the problem 88 ± 39 using the error pattern exhibited here, what answer would the student give?
74 35 67 56
+ 56 + 92 + 18 + 97
1,210 127 715 1,413
i. Academic praise (D) is composed of specific- statements that give information about the value of the object or about its implications. A simple positive response (A) does not provide any information other than the praise, such as the example, "That's a good -answer!" There is nothing negative (B) about the teacher's response. A redirect (C) occurs when a teacher asks a student to react to the response of another student.
ii. If the teacher ignores the answer entirely (A) or moves on to another question (D), it devalues the student's response. If the teacher responds immediately to the digression (B), the disruptive behavior has been rewarded. The correct answer is (C).
iii. Effective professional development is not a one-time workshop, nor can it be satisfied within a specified amount of time (C). To effect growth in children, teachers must grow and develop as well (A). This learning must extend throughout the teacher's career and beyond. In addition, effective professional development relies on meeting the needs of those involved and therefore cannot be dictated solely by one individual (B). Finally, in addition to being theory and research-based, the learning gained from professional development activities must be practical and applicable (D). Otherwise, the learning cannot be used at the school site, and the training is rendered useless.
iv. Nonperformers are students who are not involved in the class discussion at that particular moment. Asking students to respond to student statements (A) is the only option that describes a way of incorporating nonperformers into a class discussion.
v. Even without saying a word, teachers can communicate a variety of emotions with their body language, eye contact, and verbal cues (A). Smiles, verbal cues (such as the intonation of voice), movement, posture, and eye contact with students can convey the enthusiasm of an effective teacher. Body language can even convey that teachers are actively listening to their students by maintaining eye contact and leaning into the conversation.
vi. A myth (C) is an explanation for something that a person does not understand; examples are stories about why a rabbit has a short tail, why the camel has a hump, and why there are certain patterns (constellations) in the night sky. A fable (A) is a story that teaches a moral and that may have animals acting like people; (A) is not the best answer. A fairy tale (B) is a story that -often has stereotyping, magic, and good winning out over evil; (B) is not the best answer. A legend (D) often has some elements of truth, but the person, place, or thing becomes exaggerated. For example, there is a fountain in St. Augustine, but it does not provide eternal youth; there was a lumberjack, but he did not have a blue ox and was not a giant (Paul Bunyan). (C) is the best answer.
vii. To figure out the answer to any question -involving the bar graph, you need to look at the graph carefully. The numbers on the left of the graph in this question are in increments of 20, which would be $20,000; these large increments make it difficult to get a precise answer. The first reaction is that the east might be the correct answer. The largest bar is in the color for the east. If you look more closely, however, you see that during the first quarter, the sales in the east were $20,000; sales were about $28,000 during the second quarter. The third quarter sales in the east (A) amounted to about $90,000; added to the $20,000 for the fourth quarter, you get a total of about $148,000. The totals for the north (D) were $42,000, $42,000, $42,000, and $42,000; this gives a total of $168,000. The sales for the west (C) are $30,000, $38,000, $37,000, and $25,000; that gives a total of $130,000. The reader has no idea of sales figures for the south (D).
viii. Placing the students in small groups in which they meet face to face (B) will allow Bill to maximize the students' interaction while giving each student the maximum opportunity to speak. Placing students in the traditional rows facing the front discourages student interaction and minimizes each student's opportunities to speak (A). Although placing students in pairs maximizes each student's opportunity to speak, it limits the sources of interaction; each student can share thoughts with only one other student (C). In contrast, a group of four allows the student to interact as part of three dyads, two triads, and a quadrant. When placing the students in cooperative groups, it is wise to arrange the desks within the physical space of the classroom in such a way that each group's talking does not distract the members of other groups (D).
ix. You should note that the student is failing to carry in both the ones and tens places. 56 + 97 is being treated as 5 + 9 and 6 + 7. The two answers are then combined for a total of 1,413. Choice A presents the correct answer to the addition problem and therefore does not exhibit the error pattern. Choice C exhibits switching from addition to subtraction (9 - 8 = 1) and (8 - 3 = 5). Also, the child subtracts the top number from the bottom one in the first step. In choice B, the child subtracts 8 from 9, and also 3 from 8, and then adds to the 8 in the tens place. Only choice (D) illustrates the pattern of recording the sum and not carrying.
Content of the FTCE: K-6
The FTCE: K-6 comprises five subject areas, with competencies (areas of content knowledge) under each subject:
o Language Arts: 5 competencies
o Mathematics: 6 competencies
o Social Science: 5 competencies
o Music, Visual Arts, Physical Education, and Health: 9 competencies
o Science and Technology: 9 competencies
The Florida Department of Education has identified skills related to each competency. These competencies and skills are the basis for the FTCE: K-6. The reviewer can use these competencies and skills as an inventory of information to consider when preparing to take the test. The subject area reviews, competencies, and skills in Chapters 2 through 6 of this guide can help one prepare for the FTCE: K-6.
Computer-based tests are available as alternatives to the traditional pencil-and-paper tests. Test candidates can take the on-line tests at flexible times throughout the year; they are comparable in length and in difficulty to the paper-and-pencil tests. Like the traditional FTCE: K-6, the computer-based tests use only multiple-choice questions. You can preview and review questions and change your answers while taking the test. Immediately after you complete the computer-based tests, unofficial score reports appear on your monitor; you should -receive official score reports by mail in about a month. To register for on-line tests, you can go to http://www.cefe.usf.edu/ and click on "Computer-Based Testing."
Minimal computer skills are necessary to take the on-line test. However, you should be comfortable with the Windows platform; able to use a mouse; and familiar with the skills of scrolling, dragging, clicking, and double-clicking. Before you take the computer-based examination, you can complete an on-line short tutorial. The tutorial shows you how to move through the test, mark answers, change responses, and review questions throughout the test.
About the Subject Area Reviews in This Book
The subject area reviews in Chapters 2 through 6 of this book will help you sharpen the basic skills you will need when you take the FTCE: K-6. In addition, the -reviews provide you with strategies for attacking the test questions. Each teaching area has its own chapter; subtopics in each chapter include the competencies within the subject area and information on the skills within the competencies.
Your education has already provided much of the information you need to score well on the FTCE: K-6. Education classes and internships have given you the know-how to make important decisions about situations that teachers face. The reviews in this book will help you fit the information you have already acquired into specific competency components. Reviewing class notes and textbooks and using the competency and skill reviews in this book will provide excellent preparation for passing the FTCE: K-6. Each subject area review includes a competency statement and a list of the associated skills.
Another important part of the book is the two practice tests that will help develop your test-taking skills. Although the review sections and the practice tests will help prepare you for the FTCE: K-6, this guide is not an all-inclusive source of information or a substitute for course work. The sample test items cannot be exact representations of questions that actually appear on the test.
Scoring the FTCE: K-6
How Do I Score the Practice Tests?
There are about 223 questions on the FTCE: K-6. The exact number of questions necessary for a passing score varies with different administrations of the test and with different numbers of test questions on the test. A passing score on the FTCE: K-6 is about 63 percent. In other words, if the test you take has 223 questions, you need to answer roughly 141 questions correctly to achieve a passing score. The passing score for each of the practice tests in this guide is also 63 percent.
If you do not achieve a passing score on the practice tests, you should review completely the detailed explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly. Pay particular attention to the questions you answered incorrectly, note the types of questions you missed and reexamine the corresponding review section. After further study, you might want to retake the practice tests.
When Will I Receive My Score Report for the FTCE: K-6?
Approximately one month after you take the FTCE: K-6, you will receive two identical, official score reports. The Bureau of Educator Certification will receive an electronic copy of the score report. A copy of the score report will go to one Florida college or university and/or one school district if you so requested. Additional copies are $10.00 each.
Studying for the FTCE: K-6
Choose a study time and study place that suit the way the way you live and learn. Some people set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study; others choose to study at night before going to sleep. Busy test candidates study at random times during the day: while waiting in line for coffee, while eating lunch, or between classes. Only you can determine the study plan that is best for you.
It is important to study consistently and to use your time wisely. After you work out a study routine, stick to it. It is crucial not to wait until the last minute and not to cram.
When you take the practice tests in this book, observe the time constraints and try to simulate the conditions of the actual test as closely as possible. Turn off the television, the phone, and the radio. Sit down at a table in a quiet room, free from distraction.
After you complete a practice test, calculate your score. Keeping track of your scores will enable you to gauge progress and discover general weaknesses in particular sections.
Reviewing thoroughly the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly and noting the reasons for the correct answers will help you gain mastery. Give extra attention to the review sections that cover areas of difficulty you have noted, and gradually build skills in those areas.
It is important to concentrate on just one problem area at a time; a good way to do this is by studying the questions you missed and the explanations of why those answers are inappropriate. Study the corresponding chapter for additional information. Giving extra attention to competencies and skills related to your areas of weakness is an effective learning tool and will help increase your knowledge and confidence in subject areas that initially gave you difficulty.
Using note cards to record facts and information for future review is a good way to study and keep the information at your fingertips in the days to come. You can easily pull out the small note cards and review them at random moments: during a coffee break or meal, on the bus or train as you head home, or just before falling asleep. Using the cards gives you essential information at a glance, keeps you organized, and helps you master the materials. Ultimately, you gain the confidence you need to succeed.