Guiding Candidate Test Preparation

The information available here can help faculty members who are assisting candidates in preparing to take the AEPA.

An academic advisor might suggest to a candidate that he or she take the following steps in preparing to take the AEPA:

  1. Begin by completing the Test Preparation Worksheet, where candidates record their academic background, reason for testing, certification requirements, and testing history, and complete a checklist of preparation steps for testing.
  2. Complete the mapping the test objectives to courses taken activity for the test the candidate will be taking. This activity involves having candidates review the test objectives and their coursework to date, and record on a worksheet whether their studies have covered the knowledge and skills described by each test objective.
  3. Meet with his or her academic advisor to review the completed worksheets and test preparation steps taken to date, and to obtain assistance in evaluating his or her readiness to test.

When meeting with a candidate to review the completed materials listed above, an academic advisor may wish to take the following steps:

  1. Review the completed Test Preparation Worksheet to learn the candidate's academic background, reason for testing, certification requirements, and testing history.
  2. Review the completed worksheet for mapping the test objectives to the courses the candidate has taken to determine if he or she has completed sufficient coursework to take the test. If there are objectives for which the candidate has not studied the knowledge and skills being assessed, the advisor may wish to recommend that the candidate take additional courses before testing.
  3. Review the completed Test Preparation Worksheet to guide the candidate in gathering and using AEPA test preparation materials and, if needed, learning or reviewing test content and test-taking strategies.

Preparation Materials for Candidates

In addition to the processes described above, advisors may wish to review with candidates the official preparation materials that are provided on this website. These materials include general test-taking strategies and sample test questions for every AEPA test.

For NES test fields, full-length practice tests are also available. Candidates may purchase practice tests for themselves directly on this website.

Developing a Plan for Candidates Retaking a Test

Developing a Plan for Candidates Who Are Retaking a Test. If a candidate has already taken an AEPA test without success and is preparing to retake the test, the testing history recorded on the Test Preparation Worksheet, together with the scoring information on the candidate's Individual Score Report, should inform the discussion about the candidate's areas of strength and weakness. Candidates retaking a test should be strongly encouraged to study for it appropriately, even if they must delay retesting until a later date.

Using the Candidate's Score Report. The candidate's Individual Score Report contains useful information about the candidate's performance on the test. In particular, the graphic display of examinee performance on the score report provides information about the examinee's strengths and weaknesses relative to the knowledge or skills described by the test objectives in each subarea on the test. For the selected-response items, examinee performance information is provided for each subarea; for the performance assignments, it is provided for each type of performance assignment (e.g., written expression performance assignments, oral expression performance assignments).

The example below shows the section of a hypothetical score report for the English test in which a numerical total test score and a graphic display are provided. The Professional Knowledge: Early Childhood test contains selected-response items, which are grouped into four subareas as shown below, and three written performance assignments. The range of possible scaled scores is 100 to 300, with a total test scaled score of 240 or above representing passing status.

Hypothetical Individual Score Report Section

There is an image of a score report in which a candidate receives a non-passing score of 237 on the Professional Knowledge Early Childhood test. The graphic display for the subarea performance shows that the candidate answered most or all items in the Child Guidance and Inclusive Learning Communities subarea correctly and adequately responded to the three performance assignments. The graphic display also shows that the candidate answered some or few items correctly in three other subareas: Foundations of Early Childhood Education, Promoting Child Development and Learning, and Family and Community Relationships.

The score report shows that the examinee did not pass the test, earning a scaled total test score of 237. An analysis of the report reveals that the candidate came close to achieving a passing score on the entire test, largely because of a strong performance in the Child Guidance and Inclusive Learning Communities subarea, which partially compensated for weaker performances in other subareas. Performance in the Foundations of Early Childhood Education and Promoting Child Development and Learning subareas was relatively weakest. The score report further reveals that the two subareas with which the examinee experienced the greatest difficulty contain the largest number of test items.

Using this information, the faculty member might advise the candidate to concentrate most heavily on (a) Foundations of Early Childhood Education and (b) Promoting Child Development and Learning, in which the greatest improvement is needed and, because of the comparatively large number of items in each of these subareas, the greatest opportunity for a score gain may be found. The candidate might also be advised that, while emphasizing these two subareas, he or she should not neglect the other subareas because improvement in any of those subareas will also move the candidate closer to, or above, the passing score. For example, simply paying greater attention or spending additional "thinking time" while responding to the test items in other subareas—or increasing checking time after completing the test—could produce a score improvement. The candidate might be reminded that examinees taking AEPA tests typically find that they have ample time to complete their tests and to check their work.

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