Test Strategies for TExES Exams Sharon Duncan, BA.Ed Antonio J. Castro, M.Ed. Work smarter, not harder! Overview of the PPR The PPR test of the TExES will compromise approximately 90 questions, including 10 field test questions. 80 questions will be scored and be distributed about evenly across the 13 competencies. You must make at least 240 points to pass. The test is designed to take less that 2.5 hours; however, you may use the entire 5 hour testing period. Content exams cover PPR Content tests cover a certain amount of content, but also request that pedagogy – the HOW of teaching – is included. Therefore, studying PPR questions helps you to see the connection between teaching content and managing students. You must make at least 240 points to pass. Exams are designed to take less that 2.5 hours; however, you may use the entire 5 hour testing period. Questions on the Content and PPR Single question items Cluster question items (using involving two or three questions connected to the same scenario) Teacher Decision Sets (a series of questions following a scenario through various stages) Before Studying the Strategies Before the strategies, you must know the content material. The information on the PPR come from the 13 competencies.You should know the information related to these competencies and the competencies themselves. Take 5-10 minutes to review competencies. Domain 1: Designing instruction and assessment to promote student learning.You must know student development, diversity, curriculum and state standards, learning processes. Domain 2: Creating a Positive, Productive Classroom Environment.You must know how to establish a positive, learning classroom environment where students feel safe and can learn without interference from other students; use of procedures and safety rules that manage learning time. Domain 3: Implementing Effective, Responsive Instruction and Assessment. You must know how to communicate effectively with students, provide instruction that actively engages students, incorporate the effective use of technology to plan, organize, deliver, and evaluate instruction, and monitor student performance and achievement, providing students with timely and quality feedback. Domain 4: Fulfilling professional Roles and Responsibilities. You must know the importance of family involvement and how to interact with parents and guardians; how to enhance professional knowledge and interact with staff and faculty; and you must adhere to legal and ethical requirements for educations and know the structure of education in Texas. What Nath & Cohen Say Don’t skip questions. Mark on the test. Visualize the scenario. Make sure the answer choice matches the question. Determine which competency is being tested. Know the competencies and key terms. Sample Question 1 Ms. Morrison realizes that assessment is a vital part of the teaching- learning cycle. She sets up her lessons so that student peers assess performance tasks, and she uses informal observations and discussions to assess students’ work on performance tasks. What other assessment tool would be effective to ensure she is adequately assessing diversity in her classroom? A. She administers at least five quizzes and four essay type exams per subject every grading period. B. She gives two spelling tests each week. C. She places students in cooperative groups in order to complete several performance tasks related to the stated objectives of the lessons. D. She sends a note home when her students do not seem to understand. (TExES PPR by REA, 4-8 PPR questions) Sample Question 1 discussion The steps to approaching a questions include: 1. identify the scenario Age range of students (if applicable) Goal of scenario 2. use process of elimination (POE) 3. make a final decision, considering: Note keys words like assessment and diversity. Are they being used properly? What answer choices don’t address the question? Which answers do not solve the problem? Is there a magic number of assessments each grading period? Correct answer: C Performing tasks give students the opportunity to do hands-on activities that allow them to work together. Placing students in cooperative groups encourages tolerance and understanding between students. A is wrong since traditional tests and quizzes do little to enable teachers to demonstrate the significance of student diversity for assessment. B is wrong since spelling tests do not address diversity. D is wrong for the same reason. What to Eliminate Choices that answer the wrong question (focus on goals of scenario) Choices that contradict accepted educational theories and practices or Texas state law. Choices that make things easy for the teacher. Choices that use extreme language. Choices that upset parents/caregivers, other teachers, or school administrators. Sample Question #2 Answers A. He wants them to know that he can overrule them at any time. B. He believes that this action will reduce his problems with parents. C. He knows that involving students in developing rules and procedures is an effective method of managing students behavior. D. He feels that the students will respect him more. Which answers can be eliminated and why? Sample Question #2 Mr. Silva teaches sixth-grade language arts. At the beginning of every school year, he spends the first five days of schools setting up rules and procedures. Before school begins, Mr. Silva prepares a list of rules and procedures he wants the students to learn and follow. The first day of class he passes out the list and gives students time to read it. He goes over each rule and procedure with the students and asks for their comments about the fairness of each. May students do comment, and when Mr. Silva feels the comments are justified, he changes or modifies the rule or procedure. When he and the students are satisfied, he begins practicing the procedures with the students. When the students demonstrate knowledge of the classroom procedures, Mr. Silva begins to teach course content. Why does Mr. Silva involve the students in the creation of classroom rules and procedures? (TExES PPR by REA, 4-8 PPR questions) Sample Question #2 steps First, identify the scenario What is the age range? What is the goal? Then, use POE to narrow down the choices Make a final decision. Sample Question 3 Answers A. modify her class discussion questions so that they are not as difficult for girls to answer. B. ask the boys to stop responding to discussion questions in class, so that the girls have a chance to respond. C. have students write down their responses, taking up the written responses to check for accuracy. D. call on students for responses in class, making sure she calls on girls as often as boys. Which answers are not “perfect world” answers and why? What is the question? Sample Question 3 question Ms. Almond notices that the boys in her class always seem to call out the answers to the questions. Although girls make up almost half of the class, they rarely seem to answer questions introduced in class discussions. What is the answer? D – call on students This technique has the teacher in charge, facilitating, with the procedures set that students do not call out answers but call on students in a way that gives equal time for responses, giving all students the opportunity to answer. Hopefully, she will use higherlevel, critical thinking questions that make students think! (TExES PPR by REA, 8-12 PPR questions) Look for Key Words One very successful strategy is to define each competency and make a list of essential key words or concepts. When addressing a question, if you can identify the competency, the key words will clue you into the answer. If you cannot identify the competency, identify the major area and determine the best practice for managing students and learning time. Example of Key Words for Competencies Lifelong learning Positive environment Developmentally appropriate Self-esteem Scaffolding Moral development Reflectivity Zone of proximal development Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Plagiarism and fair use TEKS and TAKS Scope and Sequence Metacognition Operant Conditioning Diversity Synthesis modeling self-efficacy wait-time site-based management (For more key words, see the Nath & Cohen texts, at the beginning of each chapter) “Red Pepper” Words (Kaplan) These are words that usually indicate a wrong answer: List Handout All students Predetermined Precisely Worksheets Lecture confront “Green Pepper” Words (Kaplan) These are words that could indicate a correct answer Most likely Most appropriate Except First step Primary purpose Higher-order thinking Model Foster Sample Question #4 Ms. Morrison is a first year teacher who has accepted a position as a first grade math teacher. In college, her love was math and science, so she is eager to begin working with students so that in addition to teaching reading skills, she can teach them to enjoy mathematics and relate math to science. Of the many tasks that she must perform, which is likely to have the most significant impact on her students’ success? A. Having a wide variety of teaching material ready and available. B. Making the room look inviting by creating bulletin boards depicting students of many nations. C. Personally contacting the parents or guardians of each student. D. Coordinating her math activities with reading activities. (TExES PPR by REA, EC-4 PPR questions) Sample Question #4 Answer and Discussion The correct answer is C because making a personal contact with each child’s parent or guardian is the most crucial task that a teacher can perform in order to assure the success of students. Meanwhile, having a variety of teaching materials (A) is important but not the most important factor for student success. Using bulletin boards and representing students from many nations (B) is also important for making students feel at home but is less important than C. Coordinating math and reading activities is useful (D) but does not ensure student success like teacher-parent contact. Most significant rule: Know what the question is asking and how the perfect teacher will ensure success for all students!!! As you work through the EDTC 3000 textbooks, taking a personal quiz at the end of each chapter and studying why answers are best and wrong is imperative. We will discuss your questions and relevance to age group and characteristics sometime during each class period, so have questions ready.