Middle School Language Arts Praxis Study Guide
This middle school language arts Praxis study guide is designed to inform a prospective teacher about the computer-delivered exam required to become a certified middle school English language arts teacher. The exam is made up of 110 selected-response (SR) questions and 2 constructed-response (CR) questions. Examinees have 130 minutes to complete the SR questions, which make up 75% of the test score. There are four main categories of questions, including reading; language use and vocabulary; writing, speaking, and listening; and ELA instruction. The constructed-response questions make up 25% of the test score and are allotted 30 minutes. This middle school English language arts Praxis study guide will cover each content category as listed in the table.
|Middle School ELA Praxis Study Guide (5047)|
|Reading||46% (~50 SR questions and 1 CR question)|
|Language Use and Vocabulary||11% (~16 SR questions)|
|Writing, Speaking, and Listening||18% (~26 SR questions)|
|English Language Arts Instruction||25% (~18 SR questions and 1 CR question)|
This first major content category of the Praxis 5047 exam tests basic understanding of important works that are appropriate for a middle school audience as well as the various attributes of different genres and subgenres. This section requires an examinee to understand interpreting literature, literary themes, and other components of literature. Finally a test-taker must know how to decipher texts that are meant to inform and various components of informational texts.
It is important for the examinee to know the authors and titles of well-known literary pieces from the United States, Britain, and other places in the world. They must also understand the context in which each piece was written. Aspiring teachers must be able to assign age-appropriate literature to middle school students covering various genres and styles.
A successful test-taker needs to understand attributes of various genres and subgenres and be able to employ technical vocabulary to describe different genres; for example, the examinee should know the difference between a paragraph and a stanza. It is important to be able to distinguish between genres (e.g. fiction and non-fiction) as well as list characteristics of subgenres (e.g. science fiction and historical fiction).
The examinee must understand the literal intent of a piece while also being able to interpret ambiguous messages and provide supporting evidence for conclusions. They must also be able to identify motifs in a piece of literature individually, in combination, and how motifs can carry through many pieces of literature. It is important to know other literary principles and the impact they have on the interpretation of a piece of literature, including:
- How a piece can be changed based on which character is narrating
- The impact the surroundings of the characters have
- Understanding the influence of organization
- How a small detail can have a large effect on the meaning
Word Choices and Poetry
A test-taker should be aware of how an author's phrasing--whether metaphorical, literal, or relaxed--influences a composition. They should understand differences between these types and be able to recognize them in pieces. An examinee should understand that certain words can convey different things depending on use, seeing as the idea being expressed can be changed by using a word in a certain way. The test-taker should also understand the mechanics of poetry and how to ascertain the significance of a poem based on aspects such as its composition. It is also important to know how to inspire students to connect with literature by relating to it personally, attempting to figure out what will happen, and encapsulating the entire piece. This content area will also provide questions that ask the candidate to grade sample student work.
Informational Texts and Rhetoric
Examinees must be able to understand the meaning of informational text as well as be able to draw conclusions from the piece. They should know how to use evidence from the text to support their inferences. This section will also ask a test-taker to work with multiple pieces that provide different perspectives on the same topic. They must understand how to determine the main point of an informative text and recognize how such pieces are structured to build strong arguments. A test-taker should be able to recognize how authors strategically employ technical, figurative, and connotative word choice to advances their argument and make connections between ideas within a text.
Test-takers should be able to discern literal statements from implied meanings. They should be aware of how authors use rhetoric to deliver perspective and communicate purpose to the intended audience.
This content category covers a separate constructed-response question that will require the practical use of the skills listed above. This question involves literary analysis of a written piece. It will require the examinee to specifically be able to identify various literary techniques being used in the piece. It will also require knowledge that will enable the examinee to determine how the writer's use of literary techniques strengthens the audience's understanding of the written piece.
Language Use and Vocabulary
This content category of the exam requires a basic understanding of English language mechanics. This includes knowledge of different methods to determine what a word means, as well as knowledge of the use of various resources in relation to language. This are also requires and understanding of a variety of pronunciation styles.
An examinee will need to know basic English grammar and be able to describe the uses of a variety of words, such as nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. This also requires the test-taker to be able to recognize common language errors, explain why they are incorrect, and explain what choices they would make instead. The examinee must further be able to craft various sentence structures, including simple sentences, compound sentences, and compound-complex sentences.
Test-takers should know how prefixes and suffixes alter the meaning of words, and they must be able to explain how context and syntax can be used to deduce a word's definition. Examinees should be able to find appropriate print and digital references to enhance language use. Finally, it is important to understand the diversity in pronunciation styles found in different areas, eras, and cultures and the features of each.
Writing, Speaking, and Listening
Under this content category, the examinee should be familiar with a wide variety of writing types and what makes each one unique. It also requires understanding of how to effectively research a topic. Finally it asks the test-taker to know what makes a good speech.
An effective examinee should be familiar with an array of writing methods, which one works best for a specific purpose, and how to differentiate between them. For example, it is important to know what makes a written argument distinct from a written informational piece. A successful test-taker should know in which circumstances and for which people each type of writing would be most proper. This includes being able to interpret the intention and target group of given writing selections. The examinee should know how effective written pieces are put together, which particulars support the point the piece is attempting to convey, and how to best construct the piece. This includes knowing how to best join ideas together and make sure all aspects of the piece make sense.
A successful test-taker needs to understand the best ways to research using a mixture of sources found via different means. It is important to have the ability to glean the most applicable knowledge from a source while keeping in mind how to establish the validity of a source, whether it is in print or digital form. It is important to recognize the most effective ways to research, as well as being able to tell where a citation has come from. The examinee should be able to properly notate sources as needed. It is necessary to know how written pieces will attempt to sway a reader's opinion and the variety of types of written persuasion. This includes analyzing how powerful persuasion is and why. The test-taker should understand how to assess a written persuasive piece and whether it makes sense. It is also important to be able to interpret the use of facts within the piece and whether they accomplish the mission of the piece.
Under this content category it is also important to know about speaking in front of groups. For instance, it is important to know how to correctly use eye contact and tone of voice while speaking publicly. The test-taker will need to understand best practices for public speaking and must know the value (or lack thereof) in utilizing visual aids in conjunction with the speech. It is necessary to know the pros and cons to various means of giving information to a group.
English Language Arts Instruction
The final content category encompasses all aspects of teaching in a classroom. This includes knowledge of a range of methods for teaching students, including students with unique needs. It requires the test-taker to understand how to select classroom content and understanding how to encourage students to improve their skills.
A successful test-taker should be able to apply and evaluate the efficacy of widely supported teaching theories that encourage students' language development. To this end, the examinee should be prepared to remedy potential barriers related to language learning. The candidate should be aware of instructional activities that involve cooperative learning, like group work, as well as which approach is best in pursuit of a specific learning goal. It is also important that examinees know how to bolster student learning with technology and that they are able to measure the effectiveness of technology-related activities. A test-taker should be aware of teaching theories that involve arranging students based on various learning needs and know how to tailor a classroom program to account for a variety of learning levels while also being aware of how successful these teaching approaches are.
An effective examinee will understand how to pick out student materials that are appropriate for students' skill level as well as materials students will find stimulating. It is important to know how to utilize appropriate teaching theories specifically for teaching reading to a middle school class. The examinee should also understand how to determine the success of these teaching theories and how to use them to mitigate specific issues.
Under this content category, the test-taker is expected to know a variety of teaching theories related to helping students understand how to write meaningfully, as well as how to determine the success of these teaching theories and how to use specific strategies to deal with potential teaching issues.
The examinee needs to understand how teach students the mechanics of writing, including using teaching methods tailored to fit the writing assignment and the specific issues of that assignment. A potential teacher should understand how to use workshops and modeling as tools to teach students writing. They must also be familiar with a variety of methods to assess student performance as it builds over time and understand the pros and cons of various assessment methods. Finally it is important to understand how to receive comments from students about their instruction and to encourage students to check their own language work in all its forms.
Finally, this content category contains a separate constructed-response question that will simulate a real world experience and test all the skills listed above. The material given for the constructed-response will be either a hypothetical student assignment of a hypothetical classroom scenario. The test-taker needs to specifically be aware of things that are done well within the scenario and things that are not done well. This section may also require analysis of a teaching exercise and will ask the examinee what is positive about it and what is negative about it.
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