PECT Study Guide

Special Education 7–12
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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Module 1

Objective 0001
Understand the historical, philosophical, and legal foundations of special education and the professional and ethical roles of the special education teacher.

1. A seventh-grade student with a disability discloses to his special education teacher that a family member has been physically abusing him. He asks the teacher to keep this information confidential. Which of the following steps must the teacher take first in this situation?

  1. contacting the family member to discuss the student's accusations
  2. making an appointment for the student to speak with the school social worker
  3. reporting the information as soon as possible to the proper authorities
  4. asking the student if he has any physical evidence (e.g., bruises) of the abuse
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the candidate to apply knowledge of procedures and legal requirements for safeguarding student health and welfare. In the situation described, a seventh-grade student has disclosed to his special education teacher that he is being physically abused by a family member. Because this disclosure gives the teacher reasonable cause to suspect that the student is a victim of child abuse, the teacher is mandated under federal and state law to report the information to the designated school authority.

Objective 0002
Understand how to communicate and collaborate with all team members, including students with disabilities and their families/caregivers, to help secondary students achieve desired learning outcomes.

2. A high school special education teacher wants to promote students' ongoing involvement in their own transition planning. Which of the following strategies would best support achievement of this goal?

  1. forming a peer support group in which students can discuss their goals, share information, and provide mutual encouragement
  2. making sure that students are assigned specific tasks to complete before each meeting of their transition team
  3. encouraging parents/guardians to broaden students' experiences by arranging for them to participate in a variety of community activities
  4. meeting regularly with individual students to talk about their academic progress, extracurricular activities, and current interests
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the candidate to apply knowledge of strategies for promoting collaborative partnerships that support effective planning and implementation of transition plans, including strategies for collaborating with students with disabilities to identify and plan postschool outcomes. Peer support groups promote student involvement in transition planning in many ways. For example, students meet peers who are facing similar major changes in their lives and can share information, express their concerns, and give and receive support. Such interactions build students' confidence and help them recognize that they are not alone. In addition, the students' enjoyment of the meetings will motivate their attendance and involvement.

Objective 0003
Understand typical and atypical human growth and development and the characteristics and needs of students with disabilities.

3. According to research, students who exhibit oppositional and defiant behaviors throughout childhood tend to:

  1. form unusual attachments to authority figures during early adulthood.
  2. develop the capacity to deal with life challenges resolutely on their own.
  3. experience lifelong learning difficulties related to sensory deficits.
  4. engage in reckless and delinquent actions during adolescence.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the candidate to demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of each of the disability categories. Many studies have been done on this population of students. Such studies have repeatedly found that conduct-disordered behaviors (e.g., defiance, aggression) that first appear in childhood and continue throughout the childhood years are likely to persist into adolescence as more serious antisocial behavior (e.g., more deliberate aggression, property damage, serious rule violations).

Objective 0004
Understand factors affecting the learning, development, and daily living of secondary students with disabilities.

4. According to research, students in which of the following disability categories tend to exhibit the highest high school dropout rates?

  1. specific learning disability
  2. emotional disturbance
  3. intellectual disability
  4. autism spectrum disorder
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the candidate to apply knowledge of the educational implications of various types of disabilities. In comparisons of the high school dropout rates of students in the various disability categories specified in IDEA, students with emotional disturbance have consistently shown the highest dropout rate. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2004–2005 45% of students with an emotional disorder dropped out of high school.

Objective 0005
Understand types and characteristics of assessments used with secondary students with disabilities; strategies and procedures for selecting, designing, and administering assessments to secondary students with disabilities; and strategies and procedures for interpreting and communicating assessment results.

5. An FBA would be most appropriate and relevant to conduct for which of the following purposes?

  1. determining the source of a student's challenging behavior
  2. evaluating the extent to which a student behaves appropriately in social situations
  3. measuring the effects of various reinforcers on a student's behavior
  4. identifying goals and benchmarks for a student's school and classroom behavior
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the candidate to recognize the uses and limitations of formal and informal assessments. An FBA, or Functional Behavioral Assessment, is an assessment used to determine why a student is engaging in a specific challenging behavior. During an FBA, teachers gather and analyze information regarding the contextual factors that contribute to the student's behavior. This information helps the teachers develop a hypothesis about what function the behavior serves for the student (e.g., to gain attention, to avoid difficult tasks). Teachers can then formulate a behavioral intervention designed to eliminate the source of the behavior and thereby increase the student's chances of succeeding as a learner.

Objective 0006
Understand strategies and procedures for developing, implementing, and monitoring individualized learning and behavior plans for secondary students with disabilities and research-based strategies for planning specially designed curricula and instruction.

6. For a student to qualify as having a specific learning disability, the multidisciplinary evaluation team must be able to show that the student's performance deficits:

  1. are unrelated to cognitive processing issues.
  2. have been in evidence consistently for a minimum of two years.
  3. are not caused by vision, hearing, or motor problems.
  4. have had a significant effect on achievement across the curriculum.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the candidate to demonstrate knowledge of classification processes and placement procedures. IDEA 2004 specifies that the term learning disability "does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage."

Module 2

Objective 0007
Understand strategies and procedures for planning, managing, and modifying learning environments for secondary students with disabilities, including strategies for providing positive behavioral interventions and supports.

1. A seventh-grade student receives special education services due to a specific learning disability in mathematical computation. The student's science class is about to begin a physical science unit on weather and water. As part of the unit, students will collect and analyze measurement data on the heating and cooling of different earth materials. Which of the following would be the best way to apply the principles of universal design to differentiate instruction for the student in the context of this unit?

  1. pairing the student with a partner who can do the calculations related to the data
  2. having the student watch a computerized simulation of the heating and cooling process
  3. assigning the student to collect the data for others to calculate and analyze
  4. allowing the student to use a calculator to perform the calculations related to the
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the candidate to apply knowledge of how to create an optimal learning environment for students with disabilities by applying the principles of universal design to adapt instruction. Universal design is based on the principle that classrooms and curricula can and should be designed to ensure that instruction, resources, and assessments are accessible to all students. For the student in the scenario, being permitted to use a calculator will give him or her control of the means of accessing needed information, allowing full participation in the science curriculum despite having a disability in mathematical computation

Objective 0008
Understand strategies for fostering receptive and expressive communication skills and social skills in secondary students with disabilities.

2. A seventh-grade student with a learning disability that affects pragmatic language would likely have the most difficulty in which of the following situations?

  1. understanding when a peer is being sarcastic
  2. following a two-step process written on the board
  3. filling out a checklist when completing a project
  4. retelling the sequence of events in a familiar story
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
This question requires the candidate to apply knowledge of the impact of language development on the academic and nonacademic learning of students with disabilities. Students with pragmatic language difficulties have trouble understanding language in social contexts. For example, they have difficulty understanding contextual clues such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expression, and they tend to interpret language literally. Understanding sarcasm can be especially difficult for these students, because not only does sarcasm require interpreting facial expression and tone of voice, but it also requires the listener to recognize that the speaker's intended meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning of his or her words.

Objective 0009
Understand strategies for teaching independent and functional living skills and promoting successful transitions for secondary students with disabilities.

3. A 20-year-old student with ASD is learning independent living skills. The student's special education teacher is teaching her to use a handheld computer that gives verbal and visual prompts for completing a series of tasks. This technology is likely to be most useful for helping the student achieve which of the following goals?

  1. ordering food at a fast-food restaurant
  2. locating items on a grocery store shelf
  3. creating a grocery shopping list
  4. following a recipe to make a sandwich
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
This question requires the candidate to demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based methods for providing instruction in functional living skills to students with disabilities. The handheld computer described in the scenario provides the student with prompts for completing a series of tasks. Such a device would be especially useful for performing an activity that requires a sequence of specific steps to be followed in a given order. Following a recipe to make a sandwich is a good example of such an activity.

Objective 0010
Understand the foundations of reading instruction for secondary students with disabilities.

4. A tenth-grade student with a learning disability struggles with spelling, often omitting or mixing up letters in phonetically regular single-syllable and multisyllable words. The special education teacher could best promote the student's spelling development by providing an intensive intervention in which of the following foundational reading skills?

  1. structural analysis
  2. letter recognition
  3. phonemic segmentation
  4. syllabication
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
This question requires the candidate to demonstrate knowledge of principles and components of research-validated literacy instruction and the challenges students with disabilities face in specific areas related to literacy development. To spell a word correctly, a student must be able to hear each of the discrete sounds in the word and to correctly sequence the letters or letter combinations that represent those sounds. Intensive intervention focused on phonemic segmentation would help the student develop the key skill of isolating the individual sounds (or phonemes) in words and would thus be the best strategy for promoting the student's spelling development based on his or her specific needs.

Objective 0011
Understand literacy instruction for secondary students with disabilities.

5. A ninth-grade student with ADHD has been assigned to read a challenging novel for English class. His special education teacher guides him in previewing the book's chapter titles, making predictions about what might happen in the story, and reading the first chapter aloud, pausing periodically to consider the accuracy of his predictions and to make new predictions. This approach best demonstrates the teacher's understanding of how to:

  1. build the student's knowledge of key vocabulary in the novel.
  2. scaffold the student's use of various comprehension strategies.
  3. adapt reading material for the student's instructional reading level.
  4. help the student connect reading to his everyday life.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the candidate to demonstrate knowledge of effective explicit and systematic instruction and intervention in comprehension, including comprehension strategies, to address the demonstrated or assessed needs of students with disabilities who struggle with reading. By previewing key textual information with the student, guiding him to make predictions about the text, and showing him how to pause periodically to check his predictions, the teacher is modeling strategies that promote reading comprehension. By explaining and demonstrating these strategies, the teacher is creating a scaffold—that is, a conceptual and organizational framework—that the student can use independently to support his own comprehension of the text when he is reading.

Objective 0012
Understand strategies for planning, delivering, and monitoring specially designed instruction (SDI) to promote content-area learning in secondary students with disabilities.

6. A ninth-grade student with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis has difficulty using a pencil or standard computer keyboard, and her history class is beginning a long-term project in which students will use the Internet and other materials to research a topic and write an eight-page report. Which of the following technologies would best facilitate the student's participation in this project?

  1. keyboard overlay
  2. speech recognition software
  3. wireless mouse
  4. touch-screen computer monitor
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
This question requires the candidate to apply knowledge of appropriate adaptations, assistive technology, and resources for providing students with disabilities access to the general curriculum. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a group of autoimmune diseases that cause painful inflammation of the joints. For the student in the scenario who has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects the small joints in the hand, the best technology to facilitate writing would be one that does not require her to use her hand as she writes. Therefore, speech recognition software would be the technology best suited to address this student's needs.