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ABOUT THIS BOOK REA’s The Best Teachers’ Test Preparation for the FTCE English 612 Test is a comprehensive guide designed to assist you in preparing to take the FTCE, which is required in Florida to teach English in grades 612. To enhance your chances of success in this important step toward your career as a teacher in Florida schools, this test guide features:
An accurate and complete overview of the FTCE English 612
The information you need to know about the exam
A targeted review of every competency and skill
Tips and strategies for successfully completing standardized tests
Diagnostic tools to identify areas of strength and weakness
Two full-length, true-to-format practice tests based on the most recently administered FTCE English 612
Detailed explanations for each question on the practice tests, enabling you to identify correct answers and understand not only why they are correct but also why the other answer choices are incorrect
This guide is the result of studying many resources. The editors considered the most recent test administrations and professional standards. They also researched information from the Florida Department of Education, professional journals, textbooks, and educators. The result is the best test preparation materials based on the latest information available.
ABOUT THE FTCE ENGLISH 612
What Does the Test Cover?
The following table lists the competencies used as the basis for the FTCE English 612 and the approximate percentage of the total test that each competency entails. These competencies represent the knowledge that teams of teachers, subject area specialists, and district-level educators have determined to be important for beginning teachers. A thorough review of all the competencies, as well as the specific skills that demonstrate each, is the focus of this book.
Competencies and Percentages of Total Test Items
1. Knowledge of the English language and methods for effective teaching 20%
2. Knowledge of writing and methods for effective teaching 20%
3. Knowledge of the use of the reading process to construct meaning from a wide range of selections 20%
4. Knowledge of literature and methods for effective teaching 20%
5. Knowledge of listening, viewing, and speaking as methods for acquiring critical literacy 15%
6. Knowledge of the methods for integration of the language arts 5%
7. Ability to write well on a selection from poetry or prose, including fiction or nonfiction *
* The writing section comprises 30 percent of the score for this subject area test.
Scores for the FTCE English 6-12 Test aggregate the multiple-choice questions score and the performance (essay) score based on these weightings: 70% multiple-choice, 30% essay. The exact number of multiple-choice questions you will need to correctly answer to pass the test will depend upon how well you do on the essay and, in truth, on which of the several forms of the test you are administered. However, for all practical purposes, you’ll want to consider 70%, or 60 questions, as your benchmark. Be aware, however, that, according to the Florida Department of Education on examinations like the FTCE English 6-12 which include written or oral performance components, “percentages are not provided because scoring these examinations involves a more complex process to arrive at ‘combination scores’ or ‘part scores.’ One result of this is that on performancebased examinations, several different combinations of multiple-choice and performance test scores may result in the same passing scale score of 200 for the FTCE.”
Can I Retake the Test?
If you do not achieve a passing grade on the FTCE English 612, don’t panic. You can take the test again after 31 days, and during that time you can work seriously on improving your score. A score that does not match your expectations does not mean you should change your plans about teaching.
Who Administers the Test?
The Florida Department of Education develops the FTCE English 612. Subject area knowledge tested on the examination was identified and validated by committees of content specialists from Florida. Most committee members are public school teachers, but the committees also included district supervisors and college faculty. Selection of committee members is based on recommendations by professional associations, experts, and teachers’ unions. Development of the appropriate content and difficulty levels of the exam involved literature reviews, teacher interviews, field-testing, and professional judgments.
Testing services, including test administrations, for the FTCE are provided by National Evaluation Systems, Inc.
When Should I Take the Test?
Florida law requires that teachers demonstrate mastery of basic skills, professional knowledge, and the content area in which they are specializing. If you have graduated from a Florida state-approved teacher preparation program and made the decision to teach English in grades 612, you need to begin the process by applying for a Florida Temporary Certificate in that subject. The Bureau of Educator Certification will only evaluate your eligibility in the subjects you request on your application form. The Temporary Certificate is valid for three school years, allowing you time to complete the certification tests while teaching full time.
For high school graduates and out-of-state educators, the Bureau of Educator Certification will provide you with official information about which test(s) to take to complete the requirements for the professional certificate. The FTCE is usually administered four times a year in several locations throughout Florida. The usual testing day is Saturday, but the test may be taken on an alternate day if a confl ict exists, such as a religious obligation.
Special accommodations can also be made for applicants who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically disabled, or specific-learning disabled. To receive information on upcoming administrations of the FTCE, consult the FTCE Registration Bulletin, which you can obtain by contacting:
Florida Department of Education
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 414
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400
Phone: (413) 256-2893
Web site: www.fl doe.org/asp/ftce Bureau of Educator Certification: www.fl doe.org/edcert/
The FTCE Registration Bulletin also includes information regarding test retakes and score reports.
Do I Pay a Registration Fee?
To take the FTCE, you must pay a registration fee. You can pay by personal check, money order, cashier’s check, or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Cash is not accepted. Contact the Florida Department of Education (see the information above) if you have questions about registration or any other aspect of the FTCE.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK When Should I Start Studying?
It is never too early to start studying for the FTCE. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to study because it does not allow you the time you need to think about the content, review the competencies, and take the practice tests. However, you should review the material one last time the night before the test administration.
What Do the Review Sections Cover?
The targeted review in this book is designed to help you sharpen the basic skills you need to approach the FTCE English 612, as well as provide strategies for attacking the questions.
Each teaching competency included in the FTCE is examined in a separate chapter. The skills required for all seven competencies are extensively discussed to optimize yourunderstanding of what the examination covers.
Your schooling has taught you most of the information you need to answer the questionson the test. The education classes you took should have provided you with the know-how to make important decisions about situations you will face as a teacher. The review sections in this book are designed to help you fi t the information you have acquired into the competencies specified on the FTCE. Going over your class notes and textbooks together with the competency reviews provided here will give you an excellent springboard for passing the examination.
STUDYING FOR THE FTCE ENGLISH 612
Choose the time and place for studying that works best for you. Some people set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study, while others prefer to study at night before going to sleep. Other people study off and on during the dayfor instance, while waiting for a bus or during a lunch break. Only you can determine when and where your study time will be most effective. Be consistent and use your time efficiently. Work out a study routine and stick to it.
When you take the practice tests, simulate the conditions of the actual test as closely as possible. Turn off your television and radio, and sit down at a table in a quiet room, free from distraction. On completing a practice test, score it and thoroughly review the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly; however, do not review too much at any one time. Concentrate on one problem area at a time by reviewing the question and explanation, and by studying the review in this guide until you are confident that you have mastered the material.
Keep track of your scores so you can gauge your progress and discover general weaknesses in particular sections. Give extra attention to the reviews that cover your areas of difficulty, thus building your skills in those areas.
How Can I Use My Study Time Efficiently?
The following study schedule allows for thorough preparation for the FTCE English 612. The course of study presented here is seven weeks, but you can condense or expand the timeline to suit your personal schedule. It is vital that you adhere to a structured plan and set aside ample time each day to study. The more time you devote to studying, the more prepared and confident you will be on the day of the test.
After having read this first chapter to understand the format and content of this exam, take the first practice test. The score will indicate your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you simulate real exam conditions when you take the test. Afterward, score it and review the explanations, especially for questions you answered incorrectly.
Review the explanations for the questions you missed, and review the appropriate chapter sections. Useful study techniques include highlighting key terms and information, taking notes as you review each section, and putting new terms and information on note cards to help retain the information.
Weeks 3 and 4
Reread all your note cards, refresh your understanding of the competencies and skills included in the exam, review your college textbooks, and read over notes you took in your college classes. This is also the time to consider any other supplementary materials that your counselor or the Florida Department of Education suggests. Review the department’s Web site at www.fl doe.org.
Begin to condense your notes and findings. A structured list of important facts and concepts, based on your note cards and the FTCE English 612 competencies, will help you thoroughly review for the test. Review the answers and explanations for any questions you missed.
Have someone quiz you using the note cards you created. Take the second practice test, adhering to the time limits and simulated test day conditions.
Using all your study materials, review areas of weakness revealed by your score on the practice test. Then retake one or both of the practice tests.
FORMAT OF THE FTCE ENGLISH 612
What Types of Questions Are on the Test?
The FTCE English 612 addresses seven main areas of competency identified by the Florida Department of Education as foundational to effective teaching. Within the seven competencies are 42 skill areas on which you will be questioned to assess your mastery of English as taught in grades 612. Individual test items require a variety of different thinking levels, ranging from simple recall to evaluation and problem solving.
The competencies are broad statements written in a way to refl ect the information that an entry-level educator needs to be an effective teacher. Only the skills will be discussed on the actual FTCE.
The FTCE English 612 subject area test consists of two parts: an essay and approximately 85 multiple-choice questions. You will have one hour to complete the essay and one-and-one-half hours to answer the multiple-choice questions. Each multiple-choice question has four answer choices, lettered A through D, from which to select the one correct answer.
For the essay, you will choose between two topics. This section represents 30 percent of your total score of the exam. Your essay will be scored by two judges on substance and on the composition skills demonstrated, including the following elements: ideas, focus, organization, style (diction and sentence structure), and mechanics (capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and usage). More information on the essay section is available in Chapter 8 of this review and on the Web site of the Florida Department of Education.
On the day of the test, you will receive a test booklet that contains the essay topics and the numbered test questions, as well as lined paper for the essay and a grid for the multiple-choice questions. You should have plenty of time to complete the examination, but be aware of the amount of time you are spending on each section and each question so that you allow yourself time to complete the test. Although speed is not essential, you should maintain a steady pace. Using the practice tests in this guide will help prepare you to work within the time limits of the examination.
Can I Take the Test Online?
As of this writing, computer-based testing is not available for the FTCE English 612. To verify this, go to www.cefe.usf.edu/ and click on “Computer-Based Testing.” Exams on the computer have the advantage of providing you with a notice of pass or fail immediately after completing the exam, which can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.
SCORING THE FTCE ENGLISH 612
How Is the FTCE English 612 Scored?
The FTCE English 612 is a pass or fail test. If you do not achieve a passing score on the practice tests included in this book, review the detailed explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly. Note which types of questions you answered wrong, and reread the corresponding review. After further review, you may want to retake the practice tests.
When Will I Receive My Score Report, and What Will It Look Like?
Approximately one month after you take the test, your score report will be mailed to you. Your scores will be submitted electronically to the Bureau of Educator Certification. A copy of your score report is sent to the one Florida college or university and the one Florida school district that you indicate on your registration application. When you receive your score report and have passed, only the word Pass will be reported. If you do not pass, you will receive a numeric score and will have to retake the test.
TEST-TAKING TIPS Although you may not be familiar with tests like the FTCE, this book will acquaint you with this type of exam and help alleviate your test-taking anxieties. By following the seven suggestions listed here, you can become more relaxed about taking the FTCE, as well as other tests.
Tip 1. Become comfortable with the format of the FTCE. When you are practicing, stay calm and pace yourself. After simulating the test only once, you will boost your chances of doing well, and you will be able to sit down for the actual FTCE with much more confidence.
Tip 2. Read all the possible answers. Just because you think you have found the correct response, do not automatically assume that it is the best answer.
Read through each choice to be sure that you are not making a mistake by jumping to conclusions.
Tip 3. Use the process of elimination. Go through each answer to a question and eliminate as many of the answer choices as possible. If you can eliminate two answer choices, you have given yourself a better chance of getting the item correct, because only two choices are left from which to make your guess. Do not leave an answer blank; it is better to guess than not to answer a question on the FTCE test.
Tip 4. Place a question mark in your answer booklet next to the answers you guessed, and then recheck them later if you have time.
Tip 5. Work quickly and steadily. You will have two and one-half hours to complete the test, so avoid focusing too long on any one problem. Taking the practice tests in this book will help you learn to budget your precious time.
Tip 6. Learn the directions and format of the test. This will not only save time but also help you avoid anxiety (and the mistakes caused by getting anxious).
Tip 7. When taking the multiple-choice portion of the test, be sure that the answer oval you fill in corresponds to the number of the question in the test booklet.
The multiple-choice test is graded by machine, and marking one wrong answer can throw off your answer key and your score. Be extremely careful.
THE DAY OF THE TEST Before the Test On the morning of the test, be sure to dress comfortably so you are not distracted by being too hot or too cold while taking the test. Plan to arrive at the test center early. This will allow you to collect your thoughts and relax before the test and will also spare you the anguish that comes with being late. You should check your FTCE Registration Bulletin to find out what time to arrive at the center.
Before you leave for the test center, make sure that you have your admission ticket and two forms of identification, one of which must contain a recent photograph, your name, and your signature (e.g., your driver’s license). You will not be admitted to the test center if you do not have proper identification.
You must bring several sharpened No. 2 pencils with erasers, because none will be provided at the test center. If you like, you can wear a watch to the test center. However, you cannot wear one that makes noise, because it might disturb the other test takers. Dictionaries, textbooks, notebooks, calculators, briefcases, or packages will not be permitted.
Drinking, smoking, and eating during the test are prohibited.
During the Test The FTCE English 612 is given in one sitting, with no breaks. Procedures will be followed to maintain test security. Once you enter the test center, follow all the rules and instructions given by the test supervisor. If you do not, you risk being dismissed from the test and having your score canceled.
When all the materials have been distributed, the test instructor will give you directions for completing the informational portion of your answer sheet. Fill out the sheet carefully, because the information you provide will be printed on your score report. Once the test begins, mark only one answer per question, completely erase unwanted answers and marks, and fill in answers darkly and neatly.
After the Test When you finish your test, hand in your materials and you will be dismissed. Then, go home and relaxyou deserve it!