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The LAST, the ATS-W, and the Multi-Subject CST are part of a series of assessments called the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE) that you must pass in order to be certified to teach in New York State. The NYSTCE and the program that goes with them are the results of requirements adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in 1989, effective September 2, 1993. To apply for an initial teaching certificate, you will have to submit evidence of having achieved a satisfactory level of performance on the LAST, the ATS-W, and the CST portions of the NYSTCE. Your provisional certificate will be valid for five years.
The Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST) portion of the NYSTCE is required for all those seeking initial teacher certification in New York State. The test is the same for every certification area (unlike the ATS-W, which has an elementary and secondary component). The LAST comprises a series of 80 multiple-choice questions and one written assignment. The multiple-choice portion covers a broad spectrum of liberal arts objectives, assessing analytical skills, critical thinking, communication skills, and multicultural awareness. The LAST assesses introductory liberal arts knowledge.
There are four subareas of the LAST: scientific and mathematical processes, historical and social scientific awareness, artistic expression and the humanities, and communication skills. These are assessed through the 80 multiple-choice questions. The fifth subarea, written analysis and expression, is assessed through a writtenperformance task in which you will be given two sides to an issue unrelated to any of the subareas and asked to defend one of the sides.
ATS-W stands for the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written. There are two versions of this test: the Elementary and the Secondary. If you are seeking a Pre-K-6 common branch teaching certificate, you should take the Elementary ATS-W. If you are seeking a certificate for a secondary academic subject, you should take the Secondary ATS-W. If your goal is K-12 certification, you may elect to take either version of the ATS-W.
Each version of the test consists of approximately 80 multiple-choice questions and a written assignment. The ATS-W assesses knowledge of the learner, instructional planning and assessment, instructional delivery, and the professional environment. Each of these four subareas is defined by a set of objectives, which we will define and analyze in chapters 9 and 10.
The Multi-Subject CST
The Multi-Subject CST is a new requirement for those wishing to acquire an initial teaching certification in New York State. The test consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and one written assignment.
The subareas covered on the CST are: English language arts, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, fine arts, health and fitness, family and consumer science, and career development. The written component focuses on foundations of reading. Each of these subareas is defined by a set of objectives, which we will define in chapter 15.
How Do I Register?
The New York State Teacher Certification Examination Program recommends that you take the LAST and the CST during your sophomore or junior year after you have completed most of the basic liberal arts and sciences coursework. You should delay taking the ATS-W until you have had an opportunity to apply what you have learned in your pedagogical coursework to actual teaching situations, such as in student teaching. You will need to demonstrate this kind of thinking on the ATS-W.
Once you are certain when you want to take the exams, sign up as soon as possible. Application deadlines for the tests are very strict, and you will have to pay monetary penalties for registering late. The best thing for you to do is obtain a NYSTCE Registration Bulletin the semester before you want to take the tests, so that you do not miss the deadline for regular registration.
You can find additional information, testing requirements, and the application form in the NYSTCE Registration Bulletin, available through most New York State institutions of higher education that have teacher education programs. Alternatively, you can obtain a copy from National Evaluation Systems (NES) or the Office of Teaching.
When Are the Tests Given?
You may take two of the exams on the same day (either the LAST or CST in the morning, and the ATS-W in the afternoon) or you may take each test on a different day. You are allotted four and one half hours for each test (four hours of testing plus 30 minutes for instructions). The LAST and the Multi-Subject CST are administered from 8:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. (morning session); the ATS-W is given from 1:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. (afternoon session).
2004-2005 Test Dates
How Are the Tests Scored?
There are two types of scores: raw scores and scaled scores. Raw scores represent the number of correctly answered items or the number of points earned on the written assignment. Scaled scores represent the raw score compared with everyone else who has taken the test.
You must attain a scaled score of 220 (of a maximum of 300) on each of the examinations to pass. Because the scoring formula is not made public, it is difficult to determine precisely how many items you must answer correctly to get a passing scale score. Remember, a qualifying score on both exams is required for certification. So if you pass one exam but fail the other, you must retake the failed exam until a passing score is achieved.
Copyright © 2005 by Kaplan, Inc.