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Section 4: Sample Selected-Response Questions
Special Education EC–12 (161)

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This section presents some sample exam questions for you to review as part of your preparation for the exam. To demonstrate how each competency may be assessed, sample questions are accompanied by the competency that they measure. While studying, you may wish to read the competency before and after you consider each sample question. Please note that the competency statements do not appear on the actual exam.

For each sample exam question, there is a correct answer and a rationale for each answer option. The sample questions are included to illustrate the formats and types of questions you will see on the exam; however, your performance on the sample questions should not be viewed as a predictor of your performance on the actual exam.

Domain I—Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs

Competency 001—The special education teacher understands and applies knowledge of the characteristics and needs of students with disabilities.

1. Which of the following behaviors demonstrated by a 2-year-old child is the clearest indicator that the motor development of that child may be impaired?

  1. Difficulty coordinating hands and eye
  2. Inability to climb stairs with alternating feet
  3. Frequently falling while running
  4. Making involuntary hand movements
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because involuntary hand movements in a 2-year-old child can be a result of developmental delays. Options A, B, and C are incorrect because having difficulty with hand-eye coordination, being unable to climb stairs with alternating feet, and falling down while running are developmentally appropriate behaviors for many 2-year-old children.

2. A fifth grader has diabetes and manages her illness through insulin injections. Which of the following symptoms should indicate to a teacher that this student may be experiencing insulin shock?

  1. Trembling and irritability
  2. A high fever
  3. Muscle and joint pain
  4. An increased level of thirst
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because trembling and irritability are symptoms of insulin shock — a condition that occurs when a person with diabetes forgets to eat after an insulin shot and ends up with too much insulin in the blood. Options B, C, and D are incorrect because high fever, muscular pain, and increased thirst are not typical symptoms of insulin shock.

3. Which TWO of the following characteristics are common to students with both autism spectrum disorder and a hearing impairment?

  1. Displaying social isolation or awkwardness
  2. Exhibiting difficulty with word endings or quiet speech sounds
  3. Manifesting difficulty with comprehending contextual or alternate meanings of words
  4. Engaging in repetitive activities or rituals
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A and C are correct because displaying social isolation or awkwardness and manifesting difficulty comprehending contextual or alternate meanings of words are both characteristics of students with autism spectrum disorder and students who have a hearing impairment. Option B is incorrect because exhibiting difficulty with word endings or quiet speech sounds is a characteristic of students with a hearing impairment. Option D is incorrect because engaging in repetitive activities or rituals is characteristic solely of students with autism spectrum disorder.

Competency 002—The special education teacher understands formal and informal assessment and evaluation procedures and knows how to evaluate student competencies to make instructional decisions.

4. Ms. Smith stops the class after just a few minutes of mathematics instruction, which is taking place at the board. She asks two questions requiring simple student responses on note cards. After quickly reviewing the cards, Ms. Smith returns to instructing at the board. Which type of assessment is the teacher using?

  1. Summative
  2. Formal
  3. Formative
  4. Alternate
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because a formative assessment refers to a wide variety of methods that teachers use to conduct in-process evaluations of students’ comprehension and learning needs to adjust their instruction. Option A is incorrect because a summative assessment measures students’ progress at the end of a unit. Option B is incorrect because formal assessments are generally scored using percentiles, stanines, or standard scores. After being scored, they provide data beyond just the score. Option D is incorrect because an alternate assessment measures students’ performance using portfolios and presentations.

5. Alyssa is a third grader who has been assessed and found to be significantly below her grade-level peers in mathematics calculation and problem solving. To indicate that Alyssa qualifies for special education as a student with a specific learning disability in mathematics, Alyssa’s evaluation must also show that she exhibits a

  1. communication deficit when describing math concepts.
  2. discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.
  3. lack of ability to match concrete models with numbers or problems.
  4. shorter attention span and a lesser ability to focus than her grade-level peers exhibit.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because the specific criterion for a learning disability, other than low achievement, is a discrepancy between achievement and intellectual disability. Option A is incorrect because it does not specifically relate to a learning disability. Option C is incorrect because it is not part of the specific criteria for determining a learning disability. Option D is incorrect because this may relate to ADHD, but it does not relate to a specific learning disability.

Domain II—Promoting Student Learning and Development

Competency 003—The special education teacher understands and applies knowledge of procedures for planning instruction for individuals with disabilities.

6. Which of the following statements best describes how the objectives in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) should relate to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)?

  1. The IEP objectives should be identical to those of the TEKS, with modifications in grade level only.
  2. The IEP objectives should be developed independently and then correlated with the TEKS.
  3. The IEP objectives should reflect the TEKS as closely as possible.
  4. The IEP objectives should be developed to meet student needs, with no reference to the TEKS.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a student with a disability is expected to be involved and progressing in the general education curriculum presented in the TEKS. Option A is incorrect because the IEP objectives must reflect the appropriate grade level of the student and can be tweaked to reflect the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Option B is incorrect because IEP objectives must be developed in correlation with the TEKS. Option D is incorrect because the IEP objectives must relate to the TEKS to ensure that the student has access to the general education curriculum to the maximum extent possible.

7. Which of the following strategies will be most effective for providing job training to a student with intellectual disabilities for work as a server in a fast-food restaurant?

  1. Pairing the student with an employee who can work beside the student and model the required tasks
  2. Making a list of job tasks for the student to refer to as necessary throughout his or her work shift
  3. Carefully explaining the steps of the job to the student and checking on the student at regular intervals
  4. Simulating the work environment and practicing the job sequence in the classroom
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because the student will learn the job of a fast-food server best through hands-on training and by having the tasks broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Option B is incorrect because a student with an intellectual disability may not be able to follow a long list of tasks. Option C is incorrect because a student with an intellectual disability will most likely not be able to accurately follow such verbal directions. Option D is incorrect because participating in a classroom simulation is not as effective as learning in the workplace.

8. Which THREE of the following scenarios best describe instructional activities that are appropriate for the student and aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)?

  1. Sixth-grade reading students are expected to independently read two nonfiction articles and compare and contrast the authors’ points of view. Tazio, a student with a learning disability, is provided with a digital graphic organizer that includes pictorial representations to help him complete the assignment.
  2. Ninth-grade biology students are expected to create a food chain representative of a local ecosystem. The teacher encourages students to use drawings and photographs to show the transfer of energy from one living thing to another. Maria, a student with a severe visual impairment, is allowed to write a song about the predator-prey relationship in a local food chain and teaches her class the lyrics.
  3. Third-grade math students are expected to solve one- and two-step problems using data from bar graphs and pictographs. After modeling how to create a bar graph about favorite foods, the teacher asks Neda, a student with dyscalculia, to shade in the number of students whose favorite food is pizza.
  4. Tenth-grade United States history students learn about major historical figures in the Civil War era. Cooperative groups are expected to study an influential person and write and perform a eulogy for that person. Alex, a student with a mild orthopedic impairment, reads aloud the eulogy that he and other group members prepared.
  5. Twelfth-grade English students are assigned a classical work of fiction. They are expected to analyze how the work is shaped by the narrator’s point of view and then support their ideas with evidence from the text. Robert, who has severe dyslexia, listens to the text via audiobook and draws and labels a scene from the book with the help of a paraprofessional.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because special education students are guaranteed curriculum access by using digital graphic organizer. Option B is correct because allowing visually impaired students to present projects in a nonvisual format ensures that they have access to the TEKS-based curriculum. Option D is correct because participating in the research and writing process and the group presentation allows students equitable access the curriculum. Option C is incorrect because the expectation of shading the graph does not meet the standard of TEKS and denies the student access to the curriculum. Option E is incorrect because, while the use of audio is an appropriate modification, the required assignment.

Competency 004—The special education teacher understands and applies knowledge of procedures for managing the teaching and learning environment, including procedures related to the use of assistive technology.

9. Early in the school year, the students in a fifth-grade class have been demonstrating exclusionary behavior. There are two dominant cliques, and there are several children, including two with disabilities, who are generally treated as outcasts. When considering how to respond, the classroom teacher should be aware that

  1. in such situations, it is generally best to let the students work out the issues among themselves rather than to intervene in their social relationships.
  2. the most effective response would be to ask the parents of the students in the cliques to apply disciplinary measures if their children continue the exclusionary behavior.
  3. his or her response should be aimed primarily at bolstering the resilience and self-assertiveness of the children with the lowest social status.
  4. it is imperative to institute a program specifically designed to build a learning community in which all students feel safe and accepted.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because it is the teacher’s responsibility to create a safe classroom environment that is conducive to learning. Option A is incorrect because children need to learn how to accept everyone. Option B is incorrect because if the cliques happen in the classroom, the teacher needs to address the issue and the parents should be involved only if needed. Option C is incorrect because the classroom teacher is responsible for all the students in the classroom and should address the whole class and not just students who display low self-esteem.

10. An adult is preparing to carry a small preschooler with multiple disabilities. Which of the following practices will best ensure the adult’s safety during the lift?

  1. Prompting the child to hold on to the adult during the lift to the greatest extent possible
  2. Maintaining a straight back and lifting with the legs
  3. Performing the lift as quickly as possible in a way that is consistent with the child’s safety and comfort
  4. Initiating the lift by bending from the waist
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because keeping the back straight and lifting with the legs will help prevent back injuries in the adult and will ensure the safety of the child. Option A is incorrect because the child may not be able to hold on to the adult. Option C is incorrect because lifting the child too quickly may be potentially dangerous for the adult and may result in an injury. Option D is incorrect because bending from the waist may result in back injuries to the adult.

11. When choosing an assistive technology for a student with a disability, a teacher should most importantly consider which of the following?

  1. Will the technology reinforce the student’s strengths and eliminate the need for remediation?
  2. Will the technology help the student function as he or she would without having a disability?
  3. Will the technology only be considered for the student if he or she has an intellectual disability?
  4. Will the technology be suitable for the student’s individual needs and be appropriate for the situation?
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because the student’s specific needs and the setting in which the technology will be used should be considered when choosing any assistive technology device. Option A is incorrect because the role of assistive technology is not to eliminate the need for remediation but to provide support. Option B is incorrect because it is unrealistic to expect any assistive technology device to cure or eliminate the student’s disability. Option C is incorrect because the scenario does not mention that the student has an intellectual disability. Assistive technology can benefit students with a variety of disabilities, not just those with intellectual disabilities.

Competency 005—The special education teacher knows how to promote students’ educational performance in all content areas by facilitating their achievement in a variety of settings and situations.

12. A middle school special educator has been teaching students with learning disabilities how to use chapter headings, subheadings, indexes, and glossaries in their textbooks when doing content-area reading. The greatest benefit of the approach the educator is using is that it

  1. promotes the students’ use of critical-thinking skills.
  2. enables the students to synthesize new information quickly.
  3. encourages the students to relate new information to prior knowledge.
  4. gives the students tools for taking control of their own learning.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because teaching students how to use the chapter headings, subheadings, indexes, and glossaries in their textbooks empowers them to self-monitor and control their own learning. Option A is incorrect because learning how to use the different elements of a textbook does not promote critical thinking. Option B is incorrect because using the different elements of a textbook will not help students synthesize information quickly. Option C is incorrect because using the textbook tools will not encourage students to connect new information to prior knowledge.

Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

A special educator is teaching Monica, a 12 year old with multiple disabilities, how to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Every day, the teacher gives Monica 20 coins to identify. With the help of a chart showing each coin and its name, Monica is asked to use her speech-generating communication device to identify each coin. The results after one week of instruction are shown below.

Day Number of Coins Identified Correctly
Monday 5
Tuesday 6
Wednesday 4
Thursday 3
Friday 4

13. Based on the assessment’s results, the special educator’s next step should be to

  1. try a different instructional approach.
  2. repeat the same activity with Monica the following week.
  3. state the value of the 20 coins.
  4. give Monica a reward every time she identifies a coin correctly.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because the current instructional strategy does not seem to be helping the student, and a different approach may prove more helpful to the student. Option B is incorrect because repeating the same activity and the same teaching style is most likely not going to be effective. Option C is incorrect because stating the value of the coin will give away the answer. Option D is incorrect because if Monica struggles with the concept of identifying coins, increasing positive reinforcement will most likely not help.

14. Which of the following instructional strategies will most likely support the needs of a gifted elementary student who is eligible to receive special education services?

  1. Focusing on talent development while providing supports for deficits
  2. Providing shortened assignments with specifically defined tasks
  3. Limiting external stimulation while presenting an advanced curriculum
  4. Assigning classroom assignments that can be completed independently
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because interventions should focus on developing the talent while attending to the disability. Option B is incorrect because simplifying tasks may increase frustration for some gifted ADHD students who would better handle more open-ended and intriguing tasks. Option C is incorrect because decreasing stimulation may be counterproductive with some gifted ADHD children, who as a group tend to be intense and work better with a high level of stimulation. Option D is incorrect because providing assignments that can be completed independently will not foster either gifted or ADHD students.

Competency 006—The special education teacher understands and applies knowledge of issues and procedures for teaching appropriate student behavior and social skills.

15. Ten months ago, 16-year-old Andrew suffered a head injury in an automobile accident and was left legally blind. Since the accident, Andrew seldom leaves his house. A few friends occasionally come over to listen to music, but Andrew fears that they will get bored and stop visiting. Of the following, Andrew’s special educators’ best response to the situation would be to

  1. suggest a variety of new and interesting activities that can be done at home and that his friends are likely to enjoy.
  2. help Andrew develop proficiency with electronic media that will both entertain him and allow interactions with others from home.
  3. ask Andrew what social activities he would like to participate in outside the home and help him develop the skills for doing so.
  4. arrange for Andrew to begin socializing with peers who are blind or visually impaired.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because by helping Andrew explore his own interests and develop certain skills based on his interests, he will be able to participate in social activities with his peers and also gain self-esteem. Options A, B and C are incorrect because they are restrictive and will not allow Andrew to develop social skills that are based on his own interests.

16. Julio, a sixth grader with a learning disability, immigrated with his family to the United States a year ago. Although Julio speaks English well, he never speaks to his classroom teacher unless spoken to. Concerned about this behavior, the classroom teacher suggests to the special education teacher that Julio may need social skills instruction. Which of the following factors is most important for the special educator to take into account when considering the classroom teacher’s suggestion?

  1. Teachers can misperceive and misunderstand students’ behaviors by interpreting them from a single perspective.
  2. Self-confidence with regard to schoolwork depends primarily on a student’s belief in his or her ability to succeed through effort.
  3. Low self-esteem can be a sign of abuse or neglect, and it is a teacher’s responsibility to report all instances of suspected child abuse.
  4. General education teachers are often unclear about the special educator’s role and make unfounded demands for assistance.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because cultural differences can easily be misinterpreted as problematic behavior. Different cultures have different attitudes toward teachers. Speaking to the teacher only when spoken to may be a cultural preference and may not be related to a lack of social skills. Options B and C are incorrect because there is no evidence in the scenario that the student lacks self-confidence or is being abused at home. Option D is incorrect because the special education teacher should first evaluate the teacher’s request before making a judgment about whether the student’s attitude reflects a lack of social skills.

17. A second-grade student with an emotional behavioral disorder (EBD) is in an inclusion class. The student has violent outbursts that are frequent and seem to increase with time. Which of the following actions is most appropriate for the special education teacher to take to address the student’s behavior?

  1. Amending the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to include new behavior goals
  2. Imposing stringent consequences to deter the onset of undesirable classroom behaviors
  3. Referring the student to the school counselor for redirection during the behavioral occurrence
  4. Conducting a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) to evaluate the reason for the behaviors
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because by conducting a functional behavioral assessment, the teacher will discover the triggers for the student’s increasingly violent behavior. Option A is incorrect because the IEP will not be amended unless the teacher discovers the trigger for the behavior and establishes a behavior plan that works. Option B is incorrect because imposing a strict consequence without flexibility may escalate the negative behavior. Option C is incorrect because referring the student to the school counselor for redirection each time the behavior happens is a temporary solution and will not help to identify the triggers.

18. For a third grader with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who exhibits disruptive behavior and a low attention span, which of the following behavioral intervention strategies is most likely to help the student achieve classroom success?

  1. Arranging for the student to complete an assignment independently at the back of the classroom
  2. Redirecting the student to focus on classroom rules each time the negative behavior occurs
  3. Decreasing the duration of any activity by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable sections
  4. Ignoring the negative behavior each time it occurs in the hope that it will pass
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because breaking down the activity into more manageable sections will allow the student to remain on task and complete assignments successfully without disruption. Option A is incorrect because asking the student to complete assignments independently at the back of the classroom will not help the student remain on task or allow the student to seek assistance from the teacher easily. Option B is incorrect because reminding the student of the classroom rules several times during a lesson may disrupt the class and is therefore not an appropriate strategy. Option D is incorrect because ignoring a negative behavior will escalate the behavior and disrupt the whole class.

Competency 007—The special education teacher understands and applies knowledge of transition issues and procedures across the life span.

19. Of the following, the most effective means of providing program continuity for children transitioning from preschool to kindergarten is to offer

  1. a preschool program that stresses the development of independent work habits and the ability to follow directions.
  2. a developmentally appropriate program in both preschool and kindergarten that is responsive to individual differences.
  3. a preschool environment that strongly emphasizes the development of literacy skills.
  4. an environment in both preschool and kindergarten that engages children in collaborative planning and problem solving.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because preschool students need a developmentally appropriate program in kindergarten that will improve their self-esteem and develop their cultural identities. Option A is incorrect because preschool students are not mature enough to work independently. Option C is incorrect because preschool students should learn a variety of skills, not just literacy skills. Option D is incorrect because preschool- and kindergarten-age students are not mature enough to collaborate and solve problems on their own.

20. At an Admission Review Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting for a 4-year-old student with a mild intellectual disability, it was decided that the student will transition from a self-contained preschool classroom to an inclusion kindergarten classroom. Which of the following actions is most appropriate for the current special education teacher to take to make sure that the student has a smooth transition?

  1. Finding opportunities for the student to interact with nondisabled peers to foster the acquisition of social skills
  2. Preteaching the kindergarten curriculum to help the student keep up with nondisabled peers academically
  3. Concentrating instruction in the area of reading so that the student will have mastered the alphabetic principle prior to entering kindergarten
  4. Providing the student with the schedule of the new classroom so that the student becomes accustomed to the new routine
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because for a four-year-old student with an intellectual disability, learning social skills is crucial in order to be successfully included with typically developing, same-aged peers. Option B is incorrect because a focus on academic skills will not prepare the student to function socially with peers in the kindergarten environment. Option C is incorrect because such mastery is not required of students without disabilities until the end of kindergarten. Option D is incorrect because even though a visual schedule will help the student adjust to the new classroom routine, the preschool teacher is not required to provide one. This is the responsibility of the kindergarten teacher.

Domain III—Promoting Student Achievement in English Language Arts and Reading and in Mathematics

Competency 008—The special education teacher promotes students’ performance in English language arts and reading.

21. Ms. Lewis, a kindergarten teacher, shows an unfamiliar storybook to a student. She asks the student to point to the title of the book and open the book to the first page of the story. After the teacher reads a few pages, she asks the student to point to the words. The teacher is most likely assessing the student’s awareness that

  1. different conventions are associated with different genres of literature.
  2. printed text corresponds to oral language.
  3. letters correspond to individual speech sounds.
  4. reading is an interactive process between the reader and the text.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because by pointing to the words on a page, the student associates printed words with oral language. Grasping this connection is important for language development. Option A is incorrect because pointing to the words in a text will not help the student become familiar with genre collection. Option C is incorrect because the student is not working on letter-sound correspondence. Option D is incorrect because an interactive activity during reading would involve the teacher asking questions and the student answering them.

22. A special education teacher prepares a group of students to listen to a story about a whale by asking them what they know about whales and writing the students’ responses on the board. This activity is likely to facilitate comprehension of the story primarily because it will

  1. prompt students to learn more about the topic.
  2. encourage the students to use metacognitive strategies.
  3. integrate oral and written vocabulary skills.
  4. connect new information to the students’ background knowledge.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because the students’ background information about whales will help them acquire new information about the topic. Option A is incorrect because prompting the students to learn more about the topic does not require the teacher to check for prior knowledge. Option B is incorrect because metacognitive strategies require higher-order thinking, which will come later in the lesson. Option C is incorrect because integrating oral and written vocabulary skills is not an example of using prior knowledge to learn more about a new topic.

Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

Ms. Ortiz is a special educator who teaches in a middle school resource room. At the beginning of each school year, she has each student complete an interest inventory such as the one shown below.

  1. What is your favorite animal?
  2. What is your favorite game?
  3. What is your favorite sport?
  4. What do you like to do after school?
  5. What is your favorite school subject?
  6. What famous person would you most like to meet?
  7. What place would you like to visit?

23. In planning reading instruction for students with disabilities, Ms. Ortiz could best use the information from this informal assessment to

  1. determine students’ instructional reading levels.
  2. suggest themes for units to the students’ English language arts teachers.
  3. help students select books for independent reading.
  4. determine gaps in students’ vocabulary and concept development.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because an inventory of the students’ interests will help the students select books for independent reading. Option A is incorrect because an inventory of the students’ interests will not help the teacher determine the instructional levels of the students. Option B is incorrect because the teacher does not need an inventory of the students’ interests in order to plan unit lessons for English language arts. Option D is incorrect because an inventory of the students’ interests will not pinpoint the deficiencies in their vocabulary and concept development.

24. Which of the following activities, performed by young children while a story is being read to them, would most likely encourage them to listen for meaning?

  1. Tapping their feet to the rhythm of the words
  2. Miming the action of the story
  3. Raising their hands when they hear the main character’s name
  4. Making a clay sculpture of their favorite character
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because students miming the action of the story while the teacher reads encourages them to reflect on a significant moment in the story and understand its meaning. Option A is incorrect because tapping feet while the story is being read will distract other students. Options C and D are incorrect because raising hands when the name of a character is spoken and making a clay sculpture of a character are not effective strategies to test for understanding of the meaning of the story.

25. A first-grade teacher who is working with a group of beginning readers gives each student a set of word cards. On each card is printed a word that the students have already learned to read (e.g., “he,” “she,” “sees,” “loves,” “has,” “the,” “a,” “dog,” “cat,” and “pail”). The teacher shows the students how to arrange the cards to create a statement (e.g., “she sees the cat”). Students then create their own statements and read them aloud. One goal of this activity is to promote students’ reading development by reinforcing word recognition skills. In addition, this activity can be expected to promote students’ writing development by

  1. helping them learn to view writing as a useful tool for communication.
  2. promoting their recognition of similarities and differences between written and oral language.
  3. building their understanding of basic syntactic structures.
  4. helping develop their understanding of the value of writing conventions.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because an interactive writing activity will help the students understand how to create complete sentences using familiar words. Options A and B are incorrect because the teacher is presenting the basics of writing, not demonstrating different ways of communication. Option D is incorrect because the activity is focusing on basic syntactic structures, not writing conventions.

Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

A sixth-grade teacher has made the following notes about a student’s reading performance.

Rebecca’s oral reading speed and accuracy are about average for the class. Her errors, which tend to occur when she encounters unfamiliar polysyllabic words, usually consist of substituting real words or nonsense words that are structurally similar to the printed words rather than words that are semantically or syntactically correct.

Rebecca’s performance on oral and written comprehension questions that are based on silent and oral reading selections is also average for the class; however, her miscues are numerous and sometimes seem to interfere with her comprehension.

26. Based on the teacher’s notes about Rebecca’s reading performance, Rebecca would benefit most from instruction to help her

  1. recognize high-frequency words with regular and irregular spellings.
  2. use context clues and monitor her comprehension as she reads.
  3. apply knowledge of phonics to decode unfamiliar words.
  4. improve reading fluency and vocabulary skills.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because using context clues will help Rebecca improve her comprehension skills. Options A, C, and D are incorrect because decoding and learning new words out of context are not effective strategies for helping Rebecca improve her comprehension skills.

27. A teacher regularly analyzes the attempted spellings of emergent readers. In addition to providing information about students’ spelling development, the teacher’s approach would best help the teacher assess students’

  1. level of reading fluency.
  2. use of word-identification strategies.
  3. ability to apply phonics skills.
  4. knowledge of comprehension strategies.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because analyzing the invented spelling of emergent readers will allow the teacher to assess the students’ understanding of phonemic awareness and to determine whether they are able to apply phonemic awareness skills to decode words. Options A, B, and D are incorrect because analyzing attempted spellings of emergent readers, will not enable the teacher to assess the students’ reading fluency and word identification skills or to check their reading comprehension levels.

28. To promote students’ reading fluency, a fifth-grade teacher plans activities in which students and their assigned partners engage in repeated oral readings. When the teacher assembles the reading materials for the activities, the teacher should assign each pair of students passages from a text that

  1. both students are capable of reading aloud with no more than 5 word-recognition errors per 100 words of text.
  2. the students have previewed and selected themselves.
  3. both students are capable of reading aloud with no more than 25 word-recognition errors per 100 words of text.
  4. the students have been reading in connection with content-area study.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because 5 out of 100 word-recognition errors implies that the students are fluent readers and they can read independently. Choosing a book that both the students can read independently allows them to take turns reading and provide each other with feedback as a way to monitor comprehension. Option B is incorrect because for the students to succeed in reading, the teacher has to choose a book at the appropriate reading level of the students. Option C is incorrect because 25 out of 100 word-recognition errors implies that the text selected is too difficult and is not at the independent reading level of the students. Option D is incorrect because if the book is selected in connection to a content area, the reading level may not be at the independent reading level of the students.

Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

A middle school teacher plans the following activities in connection with a field trip to view a photojournalism exhibit at a local museum.

  • Before the trip, students study how elements of design and photographic techniques express ideas and communicate meaning.
  • The teacher gives students a list of questions to read and consider as they view the exhibit.
  • After the trip, students work in small groups to write answers to the questions.
  • In a whole-class discussion, students share their reactions to the exhibit and their groups’ answers to the questions.

29. Which of the following additional activities would best help the teacher informally assess students’ understanding of the way visual images and elements of design create meaning?

  1. Students work in small groups to prepare their own exhibits by using photographs from newspapers and magazines to tell a story.
  2. Each student researches one photojournalist featured at the exhibit and presents a brief report on the photojournalist’s work in the field.
  3. Students write an essay about the photojournalism exhibit at the museum, analyzing a particular photograph they liked.
  4. Each student writes a simulated magazine article and creates a drawing or illustration to accompany the article.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because letting the students work cooperatively in small groups to create a photo exhibit will provide them the opportunity to share ideas and allow the teacher to assess their understanding of the concept of photojournalism by telling a story through images. Options B, C, and D are incorrect because these tasks focus on independent research and writing, which is not the objective of the lesson.

30. A reading teacher asks students to read a short passage from a text and then close their eyes for a minute to visualize what they just read. The activity will help the students to

  1. understand the meaning of new vocabulary words.
  2. increase phonemic awareness.
  3. improve reading comprehension.
  4. increase reading fluency.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because creating visual images increases students’ reading comprehension and provides an anchor to the text. Option A is incorrect because there is no evidence that reading short passages increases understanding of vocabulary within the passage. Option B is incorrect because visualization of a text does not increase phonemic awareness. Option D is incorrect because visualization of a text does not help in reading fluency.

Competency 009—The special education teacher promotes students’ performance in mathematics.

31. A survey has found that about 12 of every 500 airline flights are canceled due to bad weather. This ratio is equivalent to which of the following?

  1. 1/24 of the flights
  2. 1/240 of the flights
  3. 0.24% of the flights
  4. 2.4% of the flights
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because 12 of 500 is equivalent to 2.4%. Options A and B are incorrect because they do not use the correct formula for finding the percentage. Option C is incorrect because the wrong fraction is used to compute the wrong percent

32. Use the diagrams below to answer the question that follows.

stacked bricks

Three separate stacks of bricks in the following pattern, from left to right. First stack has two rows, with one brick on the top row and two bricks on the second from top row. Second stack has three rows, with one brick on the top row, two bricks on the second from top row, and three bricks on the third from top row. Third stack has four rows, with one brick on the top row, two bricks on the second from top row, three bricks on the third from top row, and four bricks on the fourth from top row.

Bricks are stacked in the pattern shown above. If the pattern continues, how many bricks will there be in a stack that has seven layers?

  1. 27
  2. 28
  3. 35
  4. 36
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because according to the figure, there are 7 bricks in the bottom layer and 1 less brick in each of the next layers. If the pattern continues using these numbers, the result would be 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 28. Based on logic, if there were 7 rows, there would be 7 bricks in the bottom row. A visual solution can be created by drawing a stack that has 7 layers and adding up the number of bricks in each layer. Option A is incorrect because it was calculated with one missing layer. Option C is incorrect because 7 extra bricks were added to 28. Option D is incorrect because 8 rather than 7 layers of bricks were added.

33. Students in a third-grade class are playing a board game. On each player’s turn, the player spins a spinner that is divided into four quadrants, as shown below.

spinner figure

The figure shows a circle with two perpendicular lines in the center of it, creating four equal quadrants. The quardrants are positioned in the top left, bottom left, top right, and bottom right of the circle. The top left quadrant is labeled one, the bottom left quadrant is labeled four, the top right quadrant is labeled 2, and the bottom right quadrant is labeled three. At the center of the circle, where the corner of each quadrant meets, an arrow points away from the center and ends in the top right quadrant.

The teacher overhears a student remark, “Since I haven’t spun a four yet, I’ll probably get a four on this turn.” The student has demonstrated a misconception regarding which of the following mathematical concepts?

  1. Rational numbers
  2. Mean and median
  3. Independent events
  4. Even and odd numbers
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because independent events are not affected by previous events. So if the student did not get a 4 in the previous rounds of spinning the wheel, there is no guarantee that the student will get a 4 in the next round of spinning. Option A is incorrect because the concept of rational numbers (simple numbers that can be written as fractions or ratios) is not relevant in this scenario. Option B is incorrect because mean and median both relate to averages, and the concept of averages, which is not applicable in this scenario. Option D is incorrect because even numbers can be divided into equal groups, but odd numbers cannot be divided into equal groups. The mathematical concept of odd and even numbers does not apply in this scenario.

34. A special education teacher provides math instruction in the resource room for individuals and small groups of students who have learning disabilities. When teaching the students, the teacher should follow which of the following instructional guidelines?

  1. Emphasize the use of mathematics in science and technology.
  2. Focus primarily on mathematical concepts that are likely to be useful in everyday life.
  3. Emphasize the role of deductive reasoning in mathematics.
  4. Connect mathematical concepts to concrete examples with which the students are already familiar.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because concrete examples using manipulatives help students with disabilities understand the abstract symbolic language of mathematics. Option A is incorrect because the concept of mathematics in science and technology is highly abstract for students with disabilities. Option B is incorrect because functional mathematics, such as telling time and counting money, are mostly used with students with mild intellectual disabilities or students who are preparing for vocational training. Option C is incorrect because the role of deductive reasoning in mathematics is an abstract concept that will be confusing for students with disabilities.

35. A third grader with special needs has been having trouble memorizing basic arithmetic facts. The student’s classroom teacher asks the special education teacher’s advice on how to help the student. In general, which of the following suggestions is most important for the special education teacher to give the teacher?

  1. Suspend for the present all mathematical activities other than those aimed directly at memorizing arithmetic facts.
  2. Modify math instruction to focus primarily on the use of manipulatives to build conceptual understanding.
  3. Address the problem now so that lack of automaticity will not impede more advanced math learning later on.
  4. Discontinue memorization of facts in favor of teaching the student to use a calculator efficiently and accurately.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because the teacher should introduce a variety of strategies such as flash cards and math games to suit the student’s learning style and provide math fact sheets as an accommodation to help the student solve more advanced math problems. Option A is incorrect because the student needs to learn all the math concepts in the curriculum and not just focus on memorization of facts. Option B is incorrect because using manipulatives to build conceptual understanding does not address the issue of the student’s inability to learn facts. Option D is incorrect because the use of calculators will simply make the student dependent on the tool and not encourage the student to use logical reasoning.

36. In general, math instruction for students with learning disabilities in mathematics should be characterized by

  1. the development of cognitive strategies rather than a mastery of facts.
  2. the development of math process skills.
  3. instructional activities limited to hands-on operations with concrete objects.
  4. a balanced program of concepts, skills and problem solving.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because the general education curriculum consists of a balanced program of concepts, skills, and problem solving, so students with learning disabilities should have access to the same curriculum as their nondisabled peers. Option A is incorrect because mathematics instruction should focus on both the concepts of cognitive strategies and mastery of facts. Option B is incorrect because mathematics instruction should focus on concepts, process skills, and problem solving. Option C is incorrect because even though hands-on operations with concrete objects are important, math instruction cannot be limited to just these activities.

37. Joyce and Tyrone, two third graders, are counting how many gallon and quart milk containers have been collected for a class science project. As they count, Tyrone tells Joyce that the gallon container is twice as big as the quart container. Based on his comment, Tyrone needs instruction in understanding the concept of capacity. The teacher can best teach him by

  1. asking him if he can think of some method of measurement that will test his statement.
  2. pointing out to him that the word “quart” sounds like the word “quarter” and asking him what that suggests about the relative sizes of the two containers.
  3. explaining to him that doubling the linear dimensions of a rectangular solid quadruples the volume.
  4. having him use a computer to generate two- and three-dimensional models of the containers in question and then identify similarities and differences among the models generated.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because letting the student measure liquid using various methods will allow the student to learn the concept of measurement through hands-on experiments. Option B is incorrect because the best way to teach the concept of volume and capacity in mathematics is through hands-on experimentation and not by guessing. Option C is incorrect because the fundamental rule of connecting a rectangular volume with its linear dimension is a challenging concept for third graders. Option D is incorrect because using a computer to generate two- or three-dimensional models is an advanced skill that is not introduced in third grade.

38. Which of the following is the most appropriate reason to use curriculum-based assessments?

  1. To confirm the students’ grade level
  2. To identify skills that need reteaching
  3. To compare with last year’s test scores
  4. To determine the students’ intellectual ability
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because a curriculum-based assessment is a direct assessment that links instruction with assessment. It is used to help teachers develop goals for instruction and to evaluate the students’ progress in the curriculum. Option A is incorrect because placement tests are conducted to assess the students’ grade level. Option C is incorrect because standardized assessments help with the comparison of students’ scores in different years. Option D is incorrect because a diagnostic assessment is used to determine the intellectual ability of the student.

39. Which of the following is the best activity for reviewing the concept of fractions with fourth-grade students?

  1. Using pictures to model unit fractions of a whole
  2. Drawing pictures of fractions from memory
  3. Writing fractions using numbers
  4. Comparing fractions using a variety of materials
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because using a variety of concrete materials to reinforce the concept of fractions helps students develop a better understanding of the concept. Option A is incorrect because simply using pictures to model unit fractions does not help students learn the concept thoroughly. Option B is incorrect because drawing pictures from memory is a skill requiring knowledge of an abstract concept and does not help students review fractions. Option C is incorrect because writing fractions using numbers is an important skill but does not help to reinforce the concept of fractions.

40. Which of the following is a developmentally appropriate activity for a kindergartner to establish basic number sense?

  1. Completing one-to-one correspondence exercise
  2. Generalizing skills and applying them to new situations
  3. Arranging ten objects from smallest to largest
  4. Using a calculator to solve simple mathematics problems
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because by the age of five, children are able to link the number of objects to the numeral. Option B is incorrect because generalizing skills and applying them to a new situation is a highly advanced mathematical concept and is not age appropriate for kindergarteners. Option C is incorrect because arranging objects from smallest to largest is a skill for younger children who are in preschool. Option D is incorrect because using a calculator to solve math problems is not age appropriate for a kindergarten class.

41. While reading a story, students notice that the wheels on a space vehicle look like the figures shown. A special education teacher can use this teachable moment to have students use tiles to make similar figures.

Which of the following can the students use to make the figures?

Two hexagon shapes

Both hexagon shapes have small upside down trapezoids around each of the six sides of a smaller hexagon to make up a hexagon shape of a larger size.

  1. A set of squares
  2. A set of trapezoids
  3. A set of rectangles
  4. A set of hexagons
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because each of the figures can be made using only trapezoids. The center hexagon can be made from two trapezoids. Option A is incorrect because no set of squares alone can be used to make the figure. Option C is incorrect because no set of rectangles alone can be used to make the figure. Option D is incorrect because no set of hexagons alone can be used to make the figure. When arranged appropriately, trapezoids will result in hexagons.

Domain IV—Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities

Competency 010—The special education teacher understands the philosophical, historical and legal foundations of special education.

42. Which of the following is most commonly found on students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)?

  1. Speech or language impairment
  2. Emotional disturbance
  3. Specific learning disability
  4. Intellectual disability
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because according to educational research statistics, children with specific learning disabilities are the highest in number compared with the other disability categories. Options A, B and D are incorrect because each of these disability categories has a much smaller percentage of students compared with students with learning disabilities.

43. In which of the following ways has the movement toward accountability in education most significantly affected students who receive special education services?

  1. Special education students must now achieve Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals before graduation.
  2. Special education students’ grades must reflect the standards applied to general education students.
  3. Fewer special education students pass end-of-course assessments.
  4. More special education students are participating in statewide testing.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that students with disabilities to participate in statewide assessments with their nondisabled peers, and districts are required to develop alternate assessments for students who cannot participate in regular state or district-wide assessments. Districts must also provide accommodations in both instruction and assessment as needed by students with disabilities. Option A is incorrect because special education students do not need to achieve their IEP goals before graduation. Rather, they must participate in statewide testing. Option B is incorrect because students with disabilities receive accommodations and modifications based on their IEPs, so their grades do not reflect the standards applied to general education students. Option C is incorrect because students with disabilities must participate in statewide testing regardless whether they pass end-ofcourse assessments.

44. Ms. Fredericks, who is teaching first grade for the first time, asks Mr. Cardenas, the school’s special education teacher, why a new student in her class needs a full and individual evaluation (FIE) even though a doctor has provided a note indicating that the student has been diagnosed with diabetes. Which of the following is the most appropriate response from Mr. Cardenas?

  1. New students may not be identified for special education without going through the Response to Intervention (RTI) process.
  2. Students with diabetes do not fall under a disability category covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  3. Public schools do not have to consider evaluation data from personnel not associated with educational institutions.
  4. Formal evaluations by law must determine whether the student has a need for special education and related services.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because determining educational need is part of the process of identifying students who are eligible for services. Option A is incorrect because RTI is not a required process for identification of a student with a disability under IDEA. Option B is incorrect because diabetes could be a condition requiring services under the Other Health Impairment (OHI) category. Option C is incorrect because schools must consider all relevant evaluation data provided to them.

Competency 011—The special education teacher applies knowledge of professional roles and responsibilities and adheres to legal and ethical requirements of the profession.

45. Which of the following is most effective for a teacher to use when working with linguistically diverse students with disabilities in second grade?

  1. Listening to class discussions and asking questions
  2. Presenting vocabulary that is needed in the learning context
  3. Having the students dictate their responses to test questions
  4. Introducing mnemonic devices to improve memorization
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because presenting the key vocabulary of the lesson to the students makes it easier for those who speak other languages to focus on the main idea of the lesson. This strategy will also ease any anxiety the students feel. Options A, C, and D are incorrect because listening to class discussions, having students dictate responses to test questions, and introducing mnemonic devices will not make the lesson more accessible to students.

46. A beginning special educator teaches middle school students from diverse backgrounds in a resource room. At the beginning of the school year, the teacher reviews a list of rules for the resource room with each group of students and hangs the list on the classroom wall. One rule gives directions about the appropriate noise level: “Work quietly without disturbing others.”

Several times during the first weeks of school, students start helping each other with their work instead of focusing on their own. Consequently, the teacher has given out warnings to these students for breaking the rule. When reflecting upon the students’ behavior, the teacher needs to be aware that

  1. students from some cultures embrace a belief of interdependence rather than independence.
  2. rules should be consistently enforced to create a secure environment for students.
  3. students are more likely to follow rules that are accompanied by some form of reinforcement.
  4. resource rooms typically do not require the same degree of structure that general classrooms do.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because some students may come from families of other cultures that value interdependence or have a group identity rather than the individualistic identity that is more prominent in the United States. Options B, C and D are incorrect because these considerations do not address the difference in value systems between cultures.

47. After an Admission Review Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting for a student with an intellectual disability, Ms. Salina, the special education teacher, is contacted by Mr. Davis, a case worker from a local state agency that provides services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. He reports to Ms. Salinas that the student’s parents want him to review the Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed at the ARD meeting, and he wants to come to the school to look at the document. Which of the following is the most appropriate response to Mr. Davis’s request?

  1. Teachers can only provide copies of the IEP document to members of the ARD committee.
  2. Outside agencies involved in providing services can review educational documents only at the school campus.
  3. Community agency case workers can review the IEP document only with written permission from the parent.
  4. School district personnel can only provide written summaries of ARD committee meetings.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option C is correct because educational records can be released with the written permission of the parent or adult student. Option A is incorrect because the IEP document can be shared outside of the meeting with written parent permission. Option B is incorrect because the document can be shared off campus with parent permission. Option D is incorrect because summaries of the ARD would still be considered educational records requiring parental permission for release.

Competency 012—The special education teacher knows how to communicate and collaborate effectively in a variety of professional settings.

48. During mathematics lessons, a special educator has students work in groups of two or three. Which of the following strategies would be most effective for the educator to use to help the small groups of students learn the social skill of sharing?

  1. Giving the groups a time limit to solve a set of problems
  2. Reviewing the answers to all of the problems at the end of class
  3. Having the students work with the same group for several days
  4. Providing each group with only one set of materials
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option D is correct because providing limited materials necessitates sharing during a cooperative learning activity. Option A is incorrect because setting a time limit will not teach the students social skills. Option B is incorrect because reviewing the answers to all the problems at the end of class does not allow the students to practice their sharing skills. Option C is incorrect because having the students work in the same group will not necessarily teach sharing as a social skill.

49. Mr. McClure, a special education paraprofessional assigned to an elementary resource room, has a tendency to come in late to class. His supervisor, Mr. Washington, would like to discuss the issue with him in a way that would elicit the paraprofessional’s genuine cooperation. Which of the following types of statements would be most effective for Mr. Washington to use to meet his goal?

  1. A reminder about Mr. McClure’s responsibilities as they are stated in his contract
  2. A description of what the supervisor observes Mr. McClure doing and the effect his actions have on the class
  3. A summary highlighting the supervisor’s impressions of Mr. McClure’s need for change in behavior
  4. A promise that if Mr. McClure is punctual all week, the supervisor will let him leave early on Fridays
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option B is correct because Mr. McClure arriving late every day to the classroom disrupts the routine, and many students with disabilities need a stable learning environment in order to succeed. Option A is incorrect because the paraprofessional is already aware of the responsibilities stated in the contract. Options C and D are incorrect because sharing impressions and promising to let Mr. McClure leave early every Friday are both unprofessional and unrealistic.

50. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which of the following people must be present at a third-grade student’s annual Admission Review Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting?

  1. A special education teacher, a general education teacher, a parent, and a school administrator
  2. A special education teacher, a general education teacher, a parent, and an occupational therapist
  3. A general education teacher, a physical therapist, a school administrator, and a guidance counselor
  4. A special education teacher, a general education teacher, a parent, the student, and an interpreter
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Option A is correct because a special education teacher, a general education teacher, a parent, and a school administrator are mandated to participate in the student’s ARD committee meeting. Option B is incorrect because the student may or may not receive occupational therapy, and the school administrator is excluded. Option C is incorrect because the student may or may not receive physical therapy or have a guidance counselor, and the school administrator is excluded. Option D is incorrect because a school administrator is excluded. In addition, IDEA does not require third-grade students to attend the ARD committee meeting, and the scenario given does not require an interpreter.

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