August 4, 2015

Praxis II Middle School: Content Knowledge (5146) Test Questions Answer Key

1. Answer: C: Students will not typically arrive in the classroom with excellent listening skills; these skills must be introduced and honed as any others would be. Students often benefit from previewing material or pointing out what they should be listening for, since it will be virtually impossible for them to retain every piece of information proffered during class time. If the information is previewed, they are predisposed to listen carefully to important topics. When asked questions about the information, the teacher will be able to monitor how well they listened, as well as whether they understood what they heard. Choice A does involve listening skills, but does not provide direct instruction or a method of monitoring improvement; choices B and D monitor improvement but do not build skills.

2. Answer: B: As the students strive to understand individuals from around the world, the project would not be complete without attention to that individual’s mode of oral expression. In reading about and repeating the research subject’s own words, the students will have an opportunity, if guided appropriately, to learn about how a person’s speech reflects their identity and thoughts. The students will assume the role of a person very different from themselves and be able to place themselves into another perspective via oral language.

3. Answer: D: Listening is a vital part of being literate and communicative. Students must often listen to understand instructions and content in class, as well as to make sense of the world around them. From an early age, students learn to listen in order to hear stories and other kinds of literature. This listening practice helps them prepare to learn in other ways, such as through reading and viewing. However, once other literacy skills start to develop, students still benefit from honing their listening skills. This practice helps them communicate more effectively and utilize every part of their senses to take in information. Literature and other texts can be appreciated through listening just as much as through reading.

4. Answer: B: Folk tales are stories that have been passed down orally through generations, and typically contain a kind of moral or lesson. Folk tales are most appropriate in this case because they are so influenced and bear a strong relationship to oral traditions across all cultures that could be present in the classroom. This genre provides many opportunities not only to read aloud, but to discuss the importance or oral language in learning lessons about culture and behavior.

5. Answer: D: Literacy skills include reading, writing, comprehending, expressing, communicating and a whole host of other concepts. Often, an individual student will possess varying abilities within each aspect of their literacy development. A teacher should take care not to approach this kind of student with an inflexible plan, or with the notion that certain skills (such as fluency) must be fully developed before others (such as comprehension). Setting small goals with the individual student allows him to take ownership over the process and work on various skill sets in tandem. All components of each student’s literacy can improve simultaneously.

6. Answer: B: Emergent readers are students who are beginning to show signs of reading and writing independently, but still require quite a bit of scaffolding in their work. Often, these readers will show varied abilities within each of the components of literacy, perhaps working independently in one area while needing more help in another. Therefore, emergent readers benefit from specific instruction and exercises that address all the areas of literacy, rather than focusing on one skill at a time. In this way, all of their skills can evolve simultaneously and, ideally, more quickly.

7. Answer: C: Failing to remember previously-learned concepts is a red flag suggesting a learning disability. Note that the student is failing to remember concepts he has already learned, and not simply ideas that have been introduced once. If a student seems to know something one day and then does not know it the next, there may be a learning disability. The girls in the first two choices do not warrant special instruction; rather, they exhibit areas for improvement that can be worked on inside their normal classrooms, as part of daily instruction. Billy, in choice D, likely has some motivation or skill deficits in relation to writing that can be addressed in partnership with him, inside of daily lessons.

8. Answer: D: There will always be students who are quieter in class for a variety of reasons—they may be shy, be disinterested in the topics, or simply have trouble translating thoughts into verbal communication quickly enough. By reducing the number of contributors in the group, quieter students will have more time and freedom to speak aloud. Mr. Everly can then join the groups containing those students and observe them to ensure they are communicating appropriately and have a thorough-enough grasp of the material. If he is unsure about how the student is progressing, he can also engage him in conversation in the group without singling out that particular student.

9. Answer: B: Reading fluency refers to the speed, accuracy and appropriate intonation with which an individual reads. As a student is beginning to learn to read, he or she will be working primarily on sounding out words (phonetics) building recognition of words (sight words), and reading with speed and appropriate vocal modulation (emotion and pauses for punctuation). A fluent reader will read at a natural pace without making many mistakes. He or she will typically pause appropriately to communicate punctuation and modulate the voice with expression to add interest to the text. Comprehension (choice B) is typically thought of as a reading concept that evolves in tandem with fluency, but the former is not a component of the latter.

10. Answer: B: The term “instructional level” refers to the level at which a child can work on building reading fluency without the text being too easy or too difficult. If the child can read approximately 90% of the words without assistance, the text will be considered “instructional level.” If the student needs less help, the teacher should move him to a more challenging-to-read piece or consider the text to be “independent level” reading. If the piece is too difficult, the level of difficulty should be lowered, or extra help should be provided in the areas of difficulty.