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The FTCE - Florida Teacher Certification Examinations - test series is a comprehensive and challenging battery of assessments for men and women who want to teach in the state of Florida. The test series can be broken down into three types: the general knowledge test, the professional education test, and the subject area examinations.
The general knowledge FTCE test covers four content areas: English language skills, reading, mathematics, and an essay. The first three content areas consist entirely of multiple-choice questions. For the final content area, candidates must compose an extended writing response. The exam requires a full day: the English language skills and reading sections take 40 minutes; the mathematics section lasts 100 minutes; and the essay section uses 50 minutes.
The professional education FTCE test covers issues related to professional practice and pedagogy. It is composed entirely of multiple-choice questions and takes two-and-a-half hours to complete. The subject area examinations, 42 in total, make up the better part of the FTCE test series. These exams cover subjects ranging from agriculture to physics. For the most part, these exams consist entirely of multiple-choice questions. However, the exams for English and foreign languages also include essays and video recordings.
All of the subject area examinations take two-and-a-half hours, with the exception of the elementary education K-6 exam, which takes 4 hours and 20 minutes. Every FTCE test is administered by computer, and the unofficial results of multiple-choice sections are available immediately upon completion of the exam. The official score report, which will include the marks for any essays or recordings, is usually delivered within roughly a month.
1. Which of the following students is most likely to have a large gap between his or her ability and performance in a fourth-grade class?
a. Juan, a student with an extremely high IQ
b. Sheila, a student who was born in the Czech Republic and came to the United States as a three-year-old
c. Dave, a student who has received average scores on standardized tests
d. Helen, a student diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
2. A fifth-grade teacher has assigned her class a long and open-ended mathematics problem-solving exercise. She wants the class to work continuously and independently on this project throughout the class period. What should she do while the students are busy?
a. Ask students to declare how many problems they have completed every five minutes
b. Reward students who finish a certain number of problems
c. Roam the classroom and occasionally praise a student for his or her hard work
d. Grade papers quietly at her desk
3. Mr. Jones suspects that one of his students, Thomas, is either getting excessive help or having somebody else do his homework. The quality of Thomas’ homework is much greater than the work Thomas completes in class. Mr. Jones is concerned that Thomas will not get the full benefit of an education if he does not do his own work. So, Mr. Jones asks Thomas to stay after class, and he quizzes the boy about his homework regimen. Thomas claims that he does all of his own work himself, but Mr. Jones strongly suspects that he is lying. What should Mr. Jones do next?
b. Wait a few more days and, if the problem persists, ask Thomas about his homework regimen again
c. Give Thomas zeroes on all the assignments he has completed thus far
d. Contact Thomas’ parents
4. Gabriel, one of Mrs. Gomez’ second-grade students, is habitually tardy in the morning. Mrs. Gomez has talked to Gabriel’s parents, but they both work in the morning, so Gabriel is responsible for walking the short distance to school by himself. Mrs. Gomez suspects that Gabriel is often late because he is playing basketball on the playground before school. How should Mrs. Gomez handle this situation?
a. She should recommend that Gabriel be suspended for three days
b. She should give Gabriel a fun but important job to do at the beginning of the school day
c. She should forbid Gabriel from playing basketball
d. She should put another student in charge of getting Gabriel to school on time
5. As part of a science lesson, Ms. Bradley is going to teach her students how to enter the measurements they have collected into a database. She has obtained a projection device that allows her to display what is on her computer monitor to the entire class. What is the best way for Ms. Bradley to deliver this lesson?
a. She should have students read an article about databases
b. She should create a small database while the students look on
c. She should make a database ahead of time, and then allow students to ask questions about it
d. She should guide them through the process of creating and building a database while focusing on student participation rather than lecture
1. A: Juan, a student with an extremely high IQ, is the one most likely to have a large gap between his ability and performance. Specifically, a child with a very high IQ is likely to perform at a much lower level than he or she is capable of. When forced to go at a slower pace and follow the same instructional path as the rest of the class, an extremely gifted student may become bored and stop participating. For this reason, it is important for a teacher to come up with an individualized education plan for gifted students. As for the other answers, a student who was born in another country and has spent five years in the United States will usually be up to speed with respect to English and academic topics. A student who has received average scores on standardized tests should be suited to the normal pace of classroom instruction. Finally, a student with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have a very high IQ and not perform well, though this will not necessarily be the case. Of course, all of these students require individual attention and a personalized learning plan.
2. C: The teacher should roam the classroom and occasionally praise a student for his or her hard work. Educational research has consistently shown that random reinforcement produces the most positive and long-lasting behavioral changes. In other words, a teacher will more successfully encourage students to work continuously by monitoring them and occasionally singling out a student for positive attention. With an open-ended assignment, there is a much greater emphasis on working correctly as opposed to working quickly. For this reason, it is inappropriate to focus on how many problems each student has completed. At the same time, the teacher should not ignore his or her students by merely sitting at a desk and finishing paperwork. It is important to maintain a balance between letting students work independently and provide guidance and reinforcement as necessary.
3. B: Mr. Jones should wait a few more days and see if the problem persists. If it does, he should revisit the subject with Thomas. If Thomas is lying, he will probably give an inconsistent account of his homework habits when asked the second time. If this happens, Mr. Jones should discuss the perils of not doing one’s own work, specifically that Thomas will not learn the course material and will fall further behind. At this point, Mr. Jones may have to contact Thomas’ parents. It is a bad idea to contact the parents earlier, however, because it risks antagonizing them by suggesting their son is lying. Mr. Jones certainly should not let this problem persist, however, because that would significantly hinder Thomas’ academic development.
4. B: Mrs. Gomez should give Gabriel a fun but important job to do at the beginning of the school day. A second-grade student may not be capable of understanding the importance of arriving at school on time. A student at this age is much more susceptible to temptation and distraction. To combat this problem, Mrs. Gomez should offer a more enticing alternative to playing basketball. Suspending the student or forbidding him from playing basketball is too harsh, and it would not be fair to put another student in charge of his punctuality.
5. D: Mrs. Bradley should guide her students through the process of creating and building a database with a focus on student participation rather than lecture. When addressing a process-based subject, it is always best to make the lesson as participatory as possible. Creating a database is a practical skill that benefits from trial and error. After receiving some introductory guidance, students should be allowed to explore the program on their own. A lesson in which students are primarily passive, as in answer choices A and B, will do very little to teach the practical skills intended. Furthermore, a teacher could hardly expect children to have decent questions about a process they do not fully understand. When teaching process-based subjects, it is more important for students to develop experience than to learn jargon or theory.