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Take your teaching career to the head of the class.
ICTS Basic Skills (096) and Elementary/Middle Grades (110)
Includes CD with timed practice tests, instant scoring, and more.
For Illinois Licensure
Are you prepared to excel on the ICTS?
* Get to know the test, how it is scored, and much more.
* Set up a study schedule by following our flexible, results-driven timeline
* Take one of the practice tests to discover what you know and what you should know
* Use REA's advice to ready yourself for proper study and success
Sharpen your knowledge and skills
* The book's comprehensive review covers all state-defined areas of the ICTS Basic Skills (Field 096) and Elementary/Middle Grades (Field 110) tests, including key educational concepts, subject areas, and more
* Lessons reinforce necessary skills
* Key tutorials enhance specific abilities needed on the test
* Targeted drills increase comprehension and help organize study
Practice for real
* Create the closest experience to test-day conditions with two full-length practice tests on REA’s TESTware CD, featuring test-taking against the clock, instant scoring by topic, handy mark-and-return function, pause function, and more
* Or, initially choose paper-and-pencil testing at your own pace
* Chart your progress with full and detailed explanations of all answers
* Boost confidence with test-taking strategies and experienced advice
Get to the head of the class! Get certified!
REAbooks and software have proven to be the extra support teacher candidates need to pass their challenging test for state licensure. Our comprehensive study guides are teacher-recommended and written by educators who have mastered the test and the related program of study.
With this book in hand, you've taken an important step toward becoming a certified teacher in the state of Illinois. REA's all-new ICTS test prep for the Basic Skills and Elementary/Middle Grades tests is designed to help you get into an Illinois classroom. The instructive chapters in this book provide complete coverage of the ICTS with in-depth reviews of every topic and area you can expect to encounter on exam day. Full-length practice tests carefully modeled after actual ICTS exams will hone your test-taking teacher skills. All practice test questions are explained in thorough detail to provide you with a greater understanding of the exams' content and difficulty. When you finish preparing with this book, you will be well equipped with all the knowledge, practice, and strategies needed to succeed on these important exams.
About the Tests Who takes the Basic Skills and Elementary/Middle Grades tests and what are they used for?
While passing the ICTS alone is not sufficient to earn certification to teach in Illinois, it is also true that, except for qualified out-of-state candidates, successful completion of courses of study must include your passing the Basic Skills test and a content-area test such as the Elementary/Middle Grades test.
The Illinois Certification Testing System tests are aligned with the Illinois professional teaching and content-area standards for educators. The ICTS tests are the only tests accepted for certification in Illinois.
Details on ICTS tests are available in the Illinois Certification Testing System Registration Bulletin, which can be found online at icts.nesinc.com. The Registration Bulletin and website also contains test datesand information that can assist you in determining which tests must be successfully completed.
How do I achieve "highly qualified" status in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act?
Successful completion of a content test in the area of your teaching assignment is one means of becoming "highly qualified" under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
Am I required to take these tests if I hold a teaching certificate from another state?
If you hold a valid, comparable certificate from another state and apply for Illinois certification on or after July 1, 2004, you will not be required to pass the ICTS Basic Skills test provided that (a) you have not previously failed the ICTS Basic Skills test and (b) either your out-of-state certificate was issued before June 30, 2004, or you were required to pass a basic skills test to obtain a teaching certificate from your state.
Otherwise, if you have a valid out-of-state certificate, you may be eligible for a Provisional Certificate. Provisional Certificates allow you to teach for 9 months before you must pass the ICTS. To qualify for a Provisional Certificate you must hold a valid and comparable certificate from another state. More information on Provisional Certificates may be found at isbe.net/certification.
How is the test content determined?
Testing has been required of candidates seeking Illinois teaching, school service personnel, and administrative certificates since 1988. Legislation enacted at that time established a testing program as part of the state's certification requirements. Subsequent legislation and the adoption of administrative rules by the Illinois State Board of Education provided addition content requirements and information regarding the specific tests required of certification candidates and by whom and when these tests must be taken.
All tests in the ICTS program are criterion referenced, meaning they are designed to measure candidates' knowledge in relation to an established standard of competence rather than in relation to how other candidates perform. The explicit purpose of the ICTS is to help identify those candidates who have demonstrated the level of knowledge and skills necessary to perform satisfactorily in their fields of educational specialization.
Who administers the ICTS?
The ICTS is developed by the state of Illinois and administered by National Evaluation Systems, Inc.
When are the ICTS tests offered?
The ICTS tests are offered up to six times a year. There are two testing sessions on a scheduled test administration date: a morning and an afternoon session. Each test session is five hours in length. The usual testing day is Saturday. If you have a documented disability or if English is not your first language, you may request alternative testing arrangements. To receive more information, consult the Illinois Certification Testing System Registration Bulletin.
Additional information is available from the Illinois State Board of Education, to which NES is under contract. The department can be contacted as follows:
Illinois State Board of Education100 N. 1st StreetSpringfield, IL 62777 Phone: (866) 262-6663Website: isbe.net/certification
Is there a registration fee?
Yes. Check with NES for payment options.
How to Use this Book and TESTware®
What do I study first?
We recommend beginning your study with the comprehensive chapter reviews. It is important to read over each review, noting crucial test-taking suggestions and insights. By studying each review thoroughly, you will reinforce basic skills that are vital to performing well on the ICTS. After reviewing, take the practice tests. This will familiarize you with the actual exam's format, procedures, and level of difficulty. An added bonus to taking these practice tests is knowing what to expect on exam day.
Apart from the book itself, we give you a CD-ROM with two full-length simulated tests. We strongly recommend that you begin your preparation with the TESTware® practice tests. The software provides the added benefits of automatic scoring and enforced time conditions.
Wisely scheduling your study time is also a key component to your success on the ICTS. To best utilize your study time, follow our flexible ICTS study schedule found at the end of this chapter. The schedule is based ideally on a seven-week program, but can be condensed if needed.
When should I start studying for the ICTS tests?
It is never too early to start studying for your ICTS test. Time is your ally here. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills and focus your efforts. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to study, since it does not allow you enough time to learn what will be required of you. It takes time to learn the tested areas and test format. Make the most of your time while you have it. Use it well to master the essentials necessary to pass.
Format of the ICTS tests How were the tests prepared and what are they like?
There are many types of ICTS tests, including: Basic Skills, Assessment of Professional Teaching, Content-Area, Learning Behavior Specialist, English Language Proficiency, and many other specialized fields. This book covers Basic Skills and Elementary/Middle Grades.
The Basic Skills test consists of two sections: multiple-choice questions and a constructed-response section. There are 125 multiple-choice questions covering three primary areas: Reading Comprehension; Language Arts (grammar and writing); and Mathematics. Multiple-choice questions have four answer choices. A single constructed-response writing assignment will require you to provide a written response to an assigned topic. You should allow approximately 60 minutes to complete your written response, thus devoting the remaining 4 hours to the multiple-choice questions.
As a content-area test, the Elementary/Middle Grades test consists of 125 multiple-choice test questions.
About the Subject Reviews
The subject reviews in this book are designed purposefully to provide you with critical insight into the content and form of the ICTS. For smarter study, we break down this part of test preparation into more manageable "chunks." Before you begin reviewing, it is important to note that your own schooling experience has taught you most of what is needed to answer the questions on the actual ICTS. Our review is written to help you fit and shape information acquired over the years into a context ideally suited for taking the ICTS.
You may also be taking test preparation classes for the ICTS or have purchased other study guides and textbooks. Reviewing class notes and textbooks along with our subject reviews will provide you with an even better foundation for passing the ICTS.
Scoring the ICTS To pass the Basic Skills test, you must obtain a total test score of 240 or above on a scale of 100 to 300, and you must score at or above the minimum allowable score for each subarea. The total test score is based on your performance on the entire test, including the number of multiple-choice test questions you answered correctly and the score you received on your essay.
Your minimum allowable score for each subarea is:
Reading Comprehension 50% of questions correctLanguage Arts 50% of questions correctMathematics 35% of questions correctWriting Score of 5 out of 12 Unofficial scores for the Basic Skills test will be available on the Internet by 5:00 P.M. CT on the score-report date for each test administration. Refer to the test registration schedule on the back cover of the ICTS Registration Bulletin for further information. Unofficial scores are available on the Internet for approximately two weeks. To access your unofficial scores, go to icts.nesinc.com and follow the score retrieval instructions.
Like the Basic Skills test, the Elementary/Middle Grades test is scored on a scale from 100 to 300. To pass this content-area test, you must obtain a scaled total test score of 240 or above. Subarea scores are presented on the same scale as the total test score, 100 to 300.
If you do not achieve a passing score, review the detailed explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly. Note which types of questions you answered wrong, and re-examine the corresponding review. After further review, you may want to retake the practice tests.
And finally, if you do not do well on test day, don't panic! The test can be taken again, so you can work on improving your score on your next ICTS. A score on the ICTS that does not match your expectations does not mean you should change your plans about teaching.
Test-Taking Strategies Although you may not be familiar with tests like the ICTS, this book will help acquaint you with this type of exam and help alleviate test-taking anxieties. Here are the key ways you can more easily get into an ICTS state of mind:
Become comfortable with the format of the ICTS. Practice tests are the best way to learn the format of the ICTS. When you take a practice test, try to simulate the environmental conditions of the actual testing facility. Remember, you are in training for the ICTS, and simulated testing conditions will only help you perform better. Stay calm and pace yourself. After simulating a test even once, you boost your chances of doing well, and you will be able to sit down for the actual ICTS with much more confidence.
Read all the possible answers. Examine each answer choice to ensure that you are not making a mistake. Jumping to conclusions without considering all the answers is a common test-taking error.
Use the process of elimination. GUESS if you do not know. If you do not know the answer immediately after reading the answer choices, try to eliminate as many of the answers as possible. Eliminating just one or two answer choices gives you a far better chance of selecting the right answer.
Do not leave an answer blank. There is no penalty for wrong answers, and you might even get it right if you had to guess at the answer.
Familiarize yourself with the test's directions and content. Familiarizing yourself with the directions and content of the ICTS not only saves you valuable time, but can also aid in reducing anxiety before the test. Many mistakes are caused by anxiety. It's simply better to go in knowing what you will face.
Answer accurately! Be sure that the answer oval you mark corresponds to the appropriate number in the test booklet. The test is multiple-choice and is graded by machine. Marking just one answer in the wrong place can throw off the rest of the test. Correcting an error like this can deprive you of precious minutes.
After the Test When you finish your test, hand in your materials and you will be dismissed. Then, you are free. Go home and relax. Meet with friends. Go out to dinner. Or go shopping. Whatever you do, make it a great day! After all you have done to get this far, you deserve it!
CONTENTS About the Authors
Installing REA's TESTware®
BASIC SKILLS REVIEW
Chapter 1: Reading comprehension
Strategies for the Reading Section
A Four-Step Approach
Chapter 2: Language Arts
Punctuation and Capitalization
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transitions and Coherence
Chapter 3: Writing assignment
Strategies for the Essay
Recognizing Effective Writing
Writing Your Essay
Polishing and Editing Your Essay
Chapter 4: Mathematics
Basic Number Skills
Algebraic Graphing, Equations, and Operations
Geometry and Reasoning
BASIC SKILLS PRACTICE TEST
BASIC SKILLS PRACTICE TEST ANSWERS
Detailed Explanations of Answers
Elementary/middle grades review
Chapter 5: Language Arts and literacy
Development of Reading Competence
The Writing Process
Research Skills and Strategies
Listening and Speaking Processes
Chapter 6: Mathematics
Algebraic Concepts and Methods
Statistics and Probability
Mathematical Reasoning Processes
Chapter 7: Science
Earth and Space Science
Principles and Processes of Scientific Investigations
Chapter 8: Social sciences
Government and the Responsibilities of Citizens
Economic and Political Principles
Locating, Organizing, and Interpreting Social Sciences Information
Chapter 9: The Arts, health, and physical education
Health and Physical Education
Health and Safety
ELEMENTARY/middle grades PRACTICE TEST
ELEMENTARY/middle grades PRACTICE TEST ANSWERS
Detailed Explanations of Answers