PRAXIS II Middle School: English Language Arts Exam (5047)

The PRAXIS II Middle School: English Language Arts Exam (5047) is designed for individuals who would like to teach English language arts at the middle school level. You will be given two hours and ten minutes to complete the 110 multiple-choice questions and 30 minutes to complete the two short essay questions. The multiple-choice questions comprise 75% of the final grade, and, the short answer questions comprise 25% of the final grade for this exam. The two short essay questions will cover literary and rhetorical analysis. The multiple choice questions will be divided as follows:

Reading – 50 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay question
Language Use and Vocabulary – 16 multiple-choice questions
Writing, Speaking, and Listening – 26 multiple-choice questions
English Language Arts Instruction – 18 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay question

Short Essay Questions
For the short essay questions you will be provided with a selection of prose and asked to interpret it. The second short essay question asks you to discuss approaches to teaching reading or writing, given a particular student writing sample or classroom context.

In this section of the exam your knowledge will be tested on subjects like the major works, authors, and contexts of United States, British, and World literature appropriate for adolescents. Understanding the defining characteristics of literary genres and subgenres will also be required for this section. Furthermore, you will also need to be able to understand how literal and inferential interpretations of a literary text can be supported with textual evidence.

Language Use and Vocabulary
In this section of the exam your knowledge of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, syntax, and mechanics will be assessed. You will also have to understand how the use of affixes, context, and syntax determines word meaning. Additionally, you will have to be familiar with variation in dialect and diction across regions, cultural groups, and time periods.

Writing, Speaking, and Listening
In the section of the exam you will have to understand the distinct characteristics of various types of writing, that effective writing is appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience; and the effective delivery of a speech or presentation.

English Language Arts Instruction
This section of the test will require you to know the commonly used research-based approaches to supporting language acquisition and vocabulary development for diverse learners, the techniques for instructing students to participate productively in collaborative discussions, the techniques for instructing students to communicate effectively and appropriately using technological tools, the commonly used research-based approaches to grouping and differentiated instruction to meet specific instructional objectives in English Language Arts, and the effective approaches to incorporating student input into the design and use of English Language Arts curriculum and assessments.

PRAXIS II Middle School: Language Arts Practice Questions

1. How does self-assessment help a student?

A. He is involved in the process.
B. He takes more responsibility.
C. It gives him more control
D. All of the above

2. What is a portfolio?

A. A collection of work
B. Homework assignments
C. Tests and quizzes
D. Performance assessments

3. What areas can be evaluated using a portfolio?

A. Creativity and originality
B. Critical thinking
C. Research skills
D. All of the above

4. Which of the following is not a data recording method used to assess student performance?

A. Anecdotal records
B. Checklists
C. Venn diagram
D. Rating scales

5. Ongoing student activities include:

A. written assignments
B. presentations
C. homework
D. All of the above

Answer Key For Middle School English Language Arts

1. Answer: D

Self-assessment allows the student to become involved in the evaluation process. He takes more responsibility for the learning process because he is expected to reflect upon his attitude about and attention to assigned activities and the product produced. To be truly effective, the student should be involved in developing the evaluation criteria It gives him more control. Instead of the teacher having all the power, some shifts to the student because he helps determine the rating scale used, participates in evaluating the finished product, and has direct input into the grade he receives.

During peer assessments, students learn by listening to other students critique their work and make suggestions on ways to improve it. The student doing the evaluation must think analytically about their peer’s work product. In doing so, it should help him become more critical about his own work. Teachers need to moderate these discussions and stress consistency, being descriptive rather than judgmental, and being realistic, positive, and reflective.

2. Answer: A

A portfolio is a collection of the student’s work assembled over a period of time (six week grading period, one semester, the entire year, etc). Various items can be included: contracts; copies of completed activities, such as papers, presentations, and pictures of props; performance assessments made by the student, his peers, and the teacher; copies of class work and homework; classroom tests; and state-mandated exams. A portfolio is a powerful aide in assessing the student’s progress and an excellent format to present to parents so they can review their child’s progress. The decision on what to include should be a collaboration between the student and the teacher. What will be included: examples of best work, worst work, typical work, some of each? Will the student keep a copy as a reference point? Decisions need to be made and rules established as early as possible in the process so progress is accurately and fairly recorded.

3. Answer: D

Once decisions have been made about what will be included, it is important to begin with baseline data for comparison as the portfolio grows. Selected material can be placed in a folder or large envelope with the student’s name on the front. Each addition needs to be dated with an explanation attached stating why the item was included and what features should be noted. Teachers who use portfolios will often create assignments with the intention of including it in the package. As the contents grow, it may become necessary, because of space limitations, to review the items and remove some daily work and a few quizzes and tests. Once the portfolio is complete, the teacher needs to have a method to evaluate the contents and review the student’s progress in areas such as creativity, critical thinking, originality, research skills, perseverance, responsibility, and communication effectiveness. A checklist can be useful.

4. Answer: C

There are three ways to record data about individual student performance. Each provides important information and lends itself to evaluating different aspects of student growth.

ANECDOTAL RECORDS are observations of day-to-day activities. For example: how the student interacts in a group, his ability to complete a hands-on assignment, his demeanor while taking tests, and development of particular cognitive skills all offer situations for teacher comments.

The criteria on OBSERVATION CHECKLISTS vary depending on what the teacher wants to evaluate. They can be used to measure the growth of knowledge, change in attitude, or understanding new skills. Checklists can also be used to evaluate written assignments, oral presentations, class participation, completion of individual and/or group work, or any activity that requires assessment.

RATING SCALES are similar to observation checklists. The difference is that checklists are used to determine the presence or absence of a skill, while rating scales measure the quality of the performance.

5. Answer: D

Students are expected to engage in and complete various activities as a normal part of daily classroom participation. Teachers not only rate work products but can and should use these activities to gauge progress in other goals such as social development, communication skills, and cognitive growth.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS: The ability to plan, organize, and produce a coherent, well-written document is just as important as the content of the finished product. This includes: essays, reports, term papers, short answers on tests, journal and log entries, letters, articles, poetry, solutions to math puzzles, and research.
PRESENTATIONS: Whether planned or spontaneous, oral presentations need to be organized, logical, and engage the attention of the audience.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT: Evaluating a student’s participation in and performance of a specific task is important for helping him develop social and communication skills.
HOMEWORK: Homework requires independent study, planning skills, and the ability to prioritize. The student is expected to remember to do the work and turn it in by the required deadline.