Study Guide

Field 004: Assessment of Professional Knowledge:
Multi-Age (PK–12)
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.

According to the theoretical framework developed by Lev Vygotsky, a young child's cognitive development is most strongly influenced by which of the following factors?

  1. encounters with conflicting ideas that lead to disequilibrium and motivate change
  2. positive reinforcement from key individuals in the child's life
  3. genetically programmed characteristics that unfold gradually throughout childhood
  4. conversations and other interactions with adults or more able peers
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of major theories of human development as they relate to students from early childhood through adolescence. Vygotsky's sociocultural theory is based on the idea that social interactions are the most important factor in creating cognitive structures and thinking processes. Higher mental processes, such as problem solving, are first co-constructed during shared activities or discussions between the child and another person. These processes are then internalized by the child and become part of the child's cognitive development.

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.

Which of the following is the best example of a teacher applying a constructivist approach to student learning?

  1. A math teacher has students use hands-on materials and real-world problems to acquire new concepts and practice skills.
  2. A language arts teacher provides students with a concrete reward each time they turn in a written assignment that is free of errors.
  3. A social studies teacher uses visual aids and a logical progression of ideas when presenting lectures about new or unfamiliar topics.
  4. A science teacher models the correct procedures for performing complex experiments before having students perform the experiments.
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of major theories and concepts related to the learning process and their application in educational contexts. Constructivism is based on the concept that individuals build their own knowledge by exploring and interacting directly with their physical and social environments. Constructivism emphasizes the active role of the learner in building understanding, making sense of information, and applying knowledge. The use of hands-on materials promotes each student's active engagement in the learning process and the use of real-world problems provides students with authentic and relevant contexts in which to apply new knowledge.

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.

When planning a lesson, a teacher can best help ensure that instruction will be effective and appropriate for students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds by asking himself or herself which of the following questions?

  1. Will the lesson include opportunities for interaction among students from different backgrounds?
  2. Will students have opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification at various points in the lesson?
  3. Will the lesson be structured in a way that allows students to spend time working with self-selected peers to help process new learning?
  4. Will the examples used to illustrate and explore lesson content be familiar and relevant to students with varied life experiences?
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of strategies for planning and adapting instruction that is responsive to the characteristics, skills, strengths, and needs of all students. Effective instruction helps students make connections between their current understandings and new concepts and ideas. Students from different socioeconomic backgrounds vary in their experiences and their access to enrichment activities (e.g., arts classes, science camps) and educational resources (e.g., museums, libraries, technology). To make learning meaningful for all students, teachers must take into consideration this variation in students' experiential backgrounds and circumstances when choosing examples that will serve as the foundation for new learning.

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.

A teacher is planning lessons for a new instructional unit. The teacher can best ensure the effectiveness of these lessons by considering which of the following questions first?

  1. What is the fairest and most efficient way to evaluate students' achievement of unit objectives?
  2. Which unit activities are best completed individually and which activities are best done in a group?
  3. What background knowledge and experience do students already have with regard to the unit topic?
  4. In what ways does the unit support the goals of the district curriculum in this subject area?
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the examinee to identify procedures used in curricular planning and decision making. The extent of students' prior knowledge and experience with a topic helps determine a teacher's approach to a new unit. If most students have a good foundation of information with regard to the unit topic, the teacher may only need to provide a brief review before beginning the unit. Conversely, if students have had limited or no experience with a unit topic, the teacher will need to help students acquire foundational knowledge of the topic before proceeding with planned instruction.

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.

A tenth-grade history teacher is introducing a long-term project with several components. Students will be required to conduct research and interviews on a self-selected topic, write a report, and make an oral presentation. At this point in instruction, the teacher can best promote all students' ability to achieve the goals of the project by using which of the following strategies?

  1. assigning students partners to provide support throughout the project and scheduling regular times for the partners to meet
  2. reassuring students that they possess all of the skills and abilities needed to complete the project tasks
  3. organizing project tasks in a step-by-step sequence and providing students with directions and reminders for completing each step
  4. explaining to students how the objectives of the project fit into a larger instructional plan
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of how to organize and implement instruction that promotes the ability of all students to achieve learning goals. To complete a long-term project successfully, students must be able to manage their time and organize their work. Individual students vary in their ability to plan and organize their work effectively as well as in the level of independence they demonstrate with regard to their learning. Structuring long-term projects as a series of smaller steps, each with specific directions, provides scaffolding to help students develop organizational skills and achieve the goals of the project. This strategy keeps students aware of what they have to accomplish each day or week and allows the teacher to monitor their progress and provide assistance and support at the point of need.

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 in an early elementary class are completing a unit about their community. Which of the following teacher questions related to the unit would best promote the students' use of divergent thinking?

  1. What was one important thing you learned about your community during the unit?
  2. What do police officers do to keep people in your community safe?
  3. What are some things you can do on your own to keep your community clean and attractive?
  4. What do people use your community's public library for?
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of how to use various questioning techniques to achieve instructional goals. Divergent thinking is the ability to propose many different ideas or answers. Questions that promote this type of thinking are open-ended, allow for many possible answers, and do not always have right or wrong answers. Discussion questions that promote divergent thinking are generally structured so that individual student responses prompt elaboration or additional responses from other students, providing a wider range of responses and adding depth to the discussion.

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.

A student breaks a classroom behavior rule, disrupting the class and interrupting the day's lesson. Which of the following is the most important guideline for the teacher to follow when disciplining the student?

  1. Involve the class in determining an appropriate consequence for the student's actions.
  2. Document in writing the steps taken to address the student's actions and his or her response to those steps.
  3. Determine consequences for the student's actions based on his or her previous behavior and achievement.
  4. Address the student's actions in a manner that allows the student to preserve his or her sense of dignity.
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of various strategies for managing student behavior and relationships between specific classroom-management approaches and student learning, attitudes, and behaviors. Good teachers know that every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This is particularly important when a teacher needs to redirect a student's behavior or discipline a student for inappropriate behavior. In taking steps to preserve the student's dignity, the teacher helps prevent the kind of power struggle that can occur when a student feels humiliated before his or her peers and becomes defiant or argumentative to try to save face and avoid further embarrassment.

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

A high school math teacher has a few students in her classes who have learning disabilities that affect various aspects of their math performance. The teacher has planned a new instructional unit on probability and wants to make sure that all of the students with learning disabilities will be able to participate fully in unit activities. The teacher can best help ensure this outcome by:

  1. preparing a selection of alternative activities that require less advanced math skills for the students with learning disabilities.
  2. asking the special education teacher to review the planned activities and utilizing adaptations suggested for each student who has learning disabilities.
  3. having the students with learning disabilities work on unit activities with a peer partner who has strong skills in math.
  4. trying a few sample activities with the students who have learning disabilities before beginning the unit and making adjustments as needed.
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of how to collaborate effectively with others in the school community to meet student needs and enhance student learning. In inclusive learning environments, classroom teachers must address a wide range of student needs. Special education staff have in-depth training in the nature of various exceptionalities that is beyond the training most general education teachers receive. Special education teachers also have a broad knowledge base about alternative or adapted methods, materials, and approaches that are most effective in meeting the needs of students with specific exceptionalities.

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

In which of the following situations is a teacher most clearly using reflection and self-assessment to improve professional practice?

  1. A teacher asks another teacher to review his or her lesson plans prior to instruction and provide feedback on planned activities and materials.
  2. A teacher engages in co-teaching with a more experienced teacher when introducing particularly challenging content to students.
  3. A teacher reviews videotapes of his or her instruction with a more experienced teacher to identify teaching strengths and challenges.
  4. A teacher creates a comprehensive description of activities used during each grading period to submit to the department chairperson.
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of strategies for using reflection and self-assessment to identify teaching strengths and challenges and to improve professional practice. Self-assessment requires the teacher's active engagement in the process of reviewing and reflecting upon his or her instructional approach. Viewing a video of a lesson allows a teacher to observe his or her own speaking patterns, body language, pacing, and other elements of instructional delivery as well as student engagement in the lesson. Soliciting the support of a more experienced colleague who has a broader understanding of professional practice can enhance the teacher's personal observations and reflections by promoting objectivity and providing helpful suggestions for adapting instruction to better promote student learning.