Study Guide

Field 002: Assessment of Professional Knowledge:
Middle Childhood (4–9)
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Competency 0001
Understand processes of human development, variations in student development, and how to apply this knowledge to provide instructional environments and experiences that promote all students' development and learning.

A middle school teacher has been planning to have the students in a class carry out individual research projects in which each student would investigate and report on a self-selected topic. The teacher decides instead to have the students conduct and report on their research in groups. The group approach is likely to be particularly effective for middle school students because it:

  1. increases the students' overall learning efficiency and sense of contribution during the project.
  2. enables students who usually achieve at varied levels to perform at a level similar to that of high-achieving peers in the class.
  3. uses the students' interest in social interactions to enhance motivation and increase engagement in the learning process.
  4. prompts the students to use a greater variety of methods and approaches to pursue broader, more complex research topics.
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the examinee to evaluate various instructional strategies, approaches, and learning goals in relation to the developmental characteristics and needs of students in middle childhood. To plan effective instruction, teachers need to take into consideration the developmental characteristics of the students they teach. Social development in young adolescents is characterized by an increased focus on peers and peer relationships. Cooperative learning engages students in the social construction of knowledge, integrating learning with peer interaction. This approach also enhances student motivation by responding directly to young adolescents' need for relatedness to others.

Competency 0002
Understand learning processes, factors that can affect student learning and performance, and how to apply this knowledge to provide instructional environments and experiences that promote all students' learning and achievement.

An elementary teacher wishes to use scaffolding to promote student learning. Which of the following is the best example of this strategy?

  1. prompting students to identify personal goals that they hope to achieve whenever they are preparing for an upcoming project
  2. giving students charts labeled with relevant variables on which to record data they gather during classroom science experiments
  3. holding weekly geography bees with students to review important information covered during recent lessons
  4. marking errors in students' descriptive paragraphs and then having the students rewrite the paragraphs correctly
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of processes by which students in middle childhood construct meaning and develop skills. Scaffolding is a method of supporting students' learning by providing them with clues, examples, step-by-step instructions, or partially completed learning tasks. Adapting instructional materials to students' current skill levels is one type of scaffolding. In the example given, labeling a chart with relevant variables helps ensure that students record experiment data accurately and independently.

Competency 0003
Understand student diversity and how to provide learning opportunities and environments that are responsive to student differences, promote all students' learning, and foster students' appreciation of and respect for diversity.

An elementary student who has a mild cognitive impairment is likely to experience the most difficulty in which of the following areas?

  1. generalizing learned skills to new contexts
  2. following classroom routines
  3. working with a peer on a class activity
  4. identifying personal interests
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of different types of student exceptionalities, their characteristics, and their implications for teaching and learning. Cognitive impairment is defined, in part, as a disability characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning. While students with average cognitive abilities can be expected to generalize new knowledge or skills from one situation to the next, often with minimal support, students with cognitive impairments need explicit instruction in this process of generalization. To learn most effectively, students with cognitive impairments need frequent opportunities to practice, with guidance, newly acquired knowledge and skills in appropriate and relevant educational or real-world settings.

Competency 0004
Understand assessment instruments and practices, the relationship between assessment and instruction, and how to use assessment to guide instruction and monitor students' learning progress.

A significant challenge for teachers in using essay tests to assess student learning is that such tests:

  1. tend to be difficult to align with instructional objectives.
  2. are ineffective in measuring certain types of thinking skills.
  3. tend to encourage guessing in student responses.
  4. are difficult to score fairly and objectively.
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics, uses, advantages, and limitations of various types of assessments (e.g., formal, informal, formative, summative). Since essay tests require students to create their own answers, subjectivity in judging the quality of the answers becomes a critical consideration. Teachers must develop and apply consistent criteria to evaluate essay tests objectively. In addition to the content of students' answers, variation in their communicative effectiveness and the mechanics of their writing (e.g., neatness, spelling, punctuation) are factors that teachers must consider when evaluating essay tests.

Competency 0005
Understand principles and procedures of curricular and instructional planning and how to use effective planning to design instruction that promotes all students' learning and achievement.

Eighth-grade science, social studies, and language arts teachers are planning an integrated unit on the Industrial Revolution. This instructional approach can be expected to enhance student learning primarily by:

  1. facilitating students' accelerated achievement of content standards in multiple subject areas.
  2. presenting students with tasks that are responsive to their individual learning preferences.
  3. promoting students' ability to apply a wide range of academic problem-solving strategies.
  4. connecting ideas for students in ways that make content more authentic and meaningful.
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of the benefits of and strategies for integrating curricula. Isolated subject area instruction often prevents students from identifying important interconnections among the subjects they study. Interdisciplinary instruction integrates topics from multiple content areas, usually focusing on a specific theme. This approach provides students with links to help them connect otherwise discrete bits of knowledge and simulates real-world learning and work environments. Interdisciplinary instruction adds meaning and relevancy to students' learning by helping them discover relationships across content areas and to their own lives. It also prompts them to use their knowledge in one content area to better understand and appreciate content in other curricular areas.

Competency 0006
Understand principles and practices associated with various instructional approaches and how to apply these principles and practices to promote all students' achievement of instructional goals.

Which of the following strategies would likely be most effective in improving the quality and effectiveness of cooperative learning experiences for elementary students?

  1. allowing students to choose their own group members for group activities
  2. providing students with direct instruction and guided practice in group-process skills
  3. delaying group work until students have had a chance to get to know each other well
  4. giving students verbal feedback on their group work instead of assigning them a grade
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of how to provide instruction that helps students work cooperatively and productively. Successful cooperative learning experiences depend on group members' effective use of specific process skills. These skills include communicating appropriately, giving and receiving constructive feedback, coming to consensus, and encouraging participation by all group members. Providing students with explicit instruction in these skills and opportunities to practice them gives students the tools they need to achieve success in cooperative tasks across the curriculum and in the real world.

Competency 0007
Understand principles and practices of motivation and communication and how to apply these principles and practices effectively to promote students' active engagement and learning.

Students are most likely to be intrinsically motivated to learn and master subject matter when they:

  1. know that they will be tested on their understanding of the content in the near future.
  2. believe that the work they are doing is interesting and relates to their own lives.
  3. perceive that their performance compares favorably with that of peers engaged in the same tasks.
  4. anticipate that they will receive positive reinforcement for achieving instructional objectives.
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. An important concept in motivation theory is the idea that the strength of students' internal, or intrinsic, motivation in a particular situation is determined in part by their perception of the value of the assigned task. For students to find an assigned task meaningful and interesting, they must perceive the task to have some connection to the real-life problems and situations they will face outside the classroom, both now and in the future. For example, a physical science teacher who knows that many of his or her students are avid skateboarders might use skateboarding as the basis for examples and problems in a lesson.

Competency 0008
Understand how to structure and manage the classroom to establish a safe, inclusive, and positive environment that is organized and productive; fosters excellence; and promotes learning, appropriate student behavior, and effective work habits.

An upper elementary teacher holds regular class meetings with students. The teacher always begins these meetings by giving individual students an opportunity to recognize the efforts or achievement of a classmate or to thank a classmate for assistance with a difficult or challenging task. Beginning class meetings in this way is most likely to have which of the following outcomes?

  1. creating a learning environment that fosters excellence
  2. promoting students' self-monitoring of their own behavior
  3. building a supportive and caring classroom community
  4. communicating to students high expectations for their learning
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of strategies and procedures for creating a supportive classroom environment. In a supportive classroom community, students feel cared about and are encouraged to care about each other. An important step in creating such a community is for the teacher to establish classroom rituals and routines that provide a foundation for positive and caring interactions among students. In the example given, the teacher helps provide such a foundation by adopting a routine for beginning class meetings that sets a positive tone.

Competency 0009
Understand how to establish partnerships and collaborate effectively with families, colleagues, and members of the community to enhance and support student learning.

As a new school year begins, an elementary teacher is making plans to hold a conference with the parent(s)/guardian(s) of each student in his class. During each conference, the teacher will discuss broad goals and expectations for all students in the class. Which of the following additional teacher actions during the conferences would best help promote positive communication and a sense of partnership with parents/guardians?

  1. encouraging parents/guardians to share their own goals for their child's learning and development during the upcoming year as well as any concerns they may have
  2. providing a thorough review of the curriculum in each subject and giving parents/guardians time to ask questions about the content to be covered
  3. soliciting from parents/guardians information about any problematic situations in the home that they believe may affect their child's learning and achievement in school
  4. sharing information with parents/guardians about the teacher's own personal and educational background and his professional credentials
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate an understanding of how to develop partnerships with families to support student learning. Efforts to create partnerships with parents/guardians should begin with the teacher's recognition that parents/guardians are knowledgeable, influential people who have contributions to make to students and their education. True partnerships between teachers and parents/guardians are balanced, with both parties being seen as having valuable knowledge and perspectives. When a teacher solicits input from parents/guardians about their goals for their children's learning and development as well as their concerns, it initiates two-way communication and helps set the stage for this balance.

Competency 0010
Understand roles and expectations for professional educators, legal and ethical guidelines, and strategies for continuous professional growth and self-reflection.

A new teacher has asked her mentor to observe instruction during several lessons and provide feedback on her teaching. These observations are likely to be most beneficial if the new teacher takes which of the following actions before they occur?

  1. identifying for the mentor specific aspects of her instruction, such as leading discussions, that she has particular concerns about
  2. explaining to her students ahead of time the purpose and intended outcomes of the observations
  3. providing the mentor with an overview of her students' current achievement levels, interests, and behavior patterns
  4. clarifying for the mentor key aspects of her own current philosophy of teaching and learning
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of types of professional development opportunities and resources, including interactions with mentors, and their use in enhancing professional knowledge, skills, and expertise. New teachers often have difficulty assessing their own teaching practices and an observation by a more experienced mentor can provide helpful insights. New teachers who are struggling with a particular aspect of teaching (e.g., class discussions) will benefit most from targeted feedback in that area. Providing a specific focus for an observation helps direct the mentor's attention and helps ensure that the post-observation dialogue between the mentor and the teacher addresses an identified need.