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About this Book
REA’s Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT), Grades 7–12 test guide provides you with an accurate and complete representation of the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) 7–12 Test. This volume includes customized PLT reviews to provide you with the information and pinpoint strategies needed to pass the exam. We also provide two full-length practice tests based on the most recently administered examinations.
REA’s practice tests replicate the actual two-hour PLT, carefully capturing every type of question—and the level of difficulty—that you can expect to encounter on the PLT. Following each practice test, you will find an answer key with detailed explanations designed to help you not just identify the correct answer, but also to understand why it’s correct. Just as important, we explain why the remaining choices are incorrect.
Passing the PLT
About the Praxis Series
The Praxis Series is a group of teacher certification tests developed and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). There are three categories of tests in the series.
Praxis I includes the paper-based Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) and the Praxis I Computer-Based Tests (CBT). Both versions cover essentially the same subject matter. These exams measure reading, mathematics, and writing skills. These tests are often a requirement for admission to a teacher education program.
Praxis II includes Subject Assessment for Teachers (MSAT), and the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) tests. These tests are taken after the classroom training, the coursework, and the practicums in most teacher-training programs.
Praxis III is different from the typical multiple-choice and essay tests normally used for assessment purposes. ETS-trained observers evaluate an instructor’s performance in the classroom. The ETS assessors use nationally validated criteria for their evaluations. The observers may videotape the lesson, and other teaching experts may critique the resulting tapes.
About the Principles of Learning and Teaching Tests
What are the PLT Tests?
The Principles of Learning and Teaching test you will be taking is one of four PLTs that come under the Praxis II: Subject Assessments umbrella. Praxis, by the way, is ETS’s shorthand for Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. The PLT tests use case studies, constructed-response items, and multiple-choice questions to gauge what ETS calls your “general pedagogical knowledge.” Most people who take the PLTs are seeking initial licensure; check with your state’s education agency to determine which PLT tests you should take. The four tests are pegged to four levels: Early Childhood, K–6, 5–9, 7–12. The tests cover subject matter that is typically taught in teacher-education courses such as human growth and development, school curriculum, methods of teaching, and other professional development courses. This book will prepare you to pass the PLT 7–12.
Who administers the PLT?
The tests are developed and administered by ETS, the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization.
When should I take the PLT 7–12?
The PLT 7–12 is a test for those who have completed or almost completed their teacher education programs. In some states the test is a requirement for initial certification; in other states the test is a requisite of beginning teachers during their first months on the job. Each state establishes its own requirements for certification; some states specify the passing of additional or different tests. Check with your state education agency for details.
When and where does one take the PLTs?
ETS offers the PLT tests six times a year at a number of locations across the nation. The usual testing day is Saturday, but examinees may request an administration on an alternate day if a conflict—such as a religious obligation—exists.
To receive information on upcoming administrations of the PLT, consult the ETS Registration Bulletin. Contact ETS at:
ETS—The Praxis Series
PO Box 6051
Princeton, NJ 08541-6051
Phone: (609) 771-7395
Special accommodations are available for candidates who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically disabled, or specific learning disabled. Telephone numbers for questions concerning disability services are available.
Disability Services: (609) 771-7780; (866) 387-8602
TTY only: (609) 771-7714
Provisions are also available for examinees whose primary language is not English. The registration booklet includes directions for those requesting such accommodations.
The ETS registration bulletin includes information regarding available test sites; reporting test scores; requesting changes in tests, centers, and dates of test; purchasing additional score reports; and other basic facts. The bulletin also includes information on test retakes. There is even a listing of the more than 30 state certification agencies that require or accept Praxis tests.
Is there a registration fee?
To take a PLT test, the examinee must pay a registration fee which is payable by a check, money order, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit cards. In certain cases, ETS offers fee waivers. The registration bulletin gives qualifications for receiving this benefit and describes the application process.
How to Use this Book and TestWare®
What do I study first?
Read over our subject reviews and suggestions for test-taking. Studying the reviews thoroughly will reinforce the basic skills you will need to do well on the exam. Make sure to take the practice tests so you’ll be familiar with the format and procedures involved with taking the actual PLT.
Apart from the book itself, we give you a CD-ROM with two full-length practice tests. We strongly recommend that you begin your preparation with a TestWare exam. The software provides the added benefits of automatic scoring and enforced time conditions.
When should I start studying?
It is never too early to start studying for the PLT. 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 needed to learn the test material. It is important, however, to review the material you need to study one last time the night before you take the test.
Format of the PLT 7–12
The Principles of Learning and Teaching Test, Grades 7–12 contains 24 discrete multiple-choice questions. These questions assess a beginning teacher’s knowledge of certain job-related skills and knowledge. Four choices are available for the test-taker to choose from; the options bear the letters A through D.
The PLT also contains four case studies. Three constructed-response questions follow each case study. You will be given two hours to complete the exam. Use the practice test to learn how to pace yourself. You should spend approximately 25 minutes on each case study and 20 minutes on the multiple-choice questions.
Our book contains two full-length model tests; both practice tests completely mirror the PLT 7–12. The PLT contains four content categories: (1) Students as Learners, (2) Instruction and Assessment, (3) Communication Techniques, and (4) Teacher Professionalism.
The topics covered under the first category, “Students as Learners,” accounts for approximately 33% of the total score and includes:
• Student development and the learning process
• Students as diverse learners
• Student motivation and the learning environment
The topics covered under the second category, “Instruction and Assessment,” accounts for approximately 33% of the total score and includes:
• Instructional strategies
• Planning instruction
• Assessment strategies
The topics covered under the third category, “Communication Techniques,” of the exam accounts for approximately 15% of the total score and includes:
• Effective verbal and nonverbal communication
• Cultural and gender differences in communication
• Stimulating discussion and responses in the classroom
Finally, the “Teacher Professionalism” topics portion of the exam accounts for approximately 15% of the total score which includes:
• The reflective practitioner
• The larger community
REA’s model exams test the content included under each of the aforementioned topics. Individual test items require different thinking levels, ranging from simple recall to more complex evaluation and problem-solving.
About the Review Sections
The reviews in this book will 1) help you sharpen the basic skills needed to approach the PLT and 2) provide strategies for attacking the questions. By using the reviews in conjunction with the practice tests, you will better prepare yourself for the actual test.
This REA study guide covers each content category in the PLT in the review. When used in concert, the book’s review sections and model tests will put you in the best possible position to succeed on the PLT.
Most of what you need to know to answer the questions on the test, you should have learned through your course work and your practical experience in the schools. The education classes you took should have provided you with the expertise to make important decisions about situations you will face as a teacher. Our review should help you fit the information you have acquired into its specific testable category.
Reviewing your class notes and textbooks along with systematic use of this book will give you an excellent springboard for passing the PLT.
Scoring The PLT
How do I score my practice test?
The number of raw points awarded on the PLT tests is based on the number of correct answers given. Your scaled score is computed from your total number of raw points in a way that adjusts for the difficulty of the questions. The scoring of the constructed-response items is on a scale of 0-2. Your written response to each question is read and scored by two or more qualified scorers.
Your essay will receive a score of 2 if: The response appropriately answers all parts of the question. The response shows evidence of understanding the case study, the principles of learning and teaching, and how to apply the content categories to the answer.
Your essay will receive a score of 1 if: The response appropriately answers only parts of the question. It will show only some understanding of the case study, the principles of learning and teaching, and how to apply the content categories to the answer. Your essay will receive a score of 0 if: The response is inappropriate. It does not answer the question nor does it show any understanding of the case study, the principles of learning and teaching, and how to apply the content categories to the answer.
Your passing score will vary depending on the state in which you are taking the test. The following table provides contact information and current passing scores for each of the states that administer the PLT tests. We recommend that you check with your state education agency for the latest information on the PLT battery.