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Kaplan -- the world leader in test preparation -- has helped teachers throughout the country help their students and further their own careers. Founded and headquartered in New York, Kaplan has in-depth knowledge and understanding of the New York State teacher certification requirements. With Kaplan's NYSTCE: Complete Preparation for the LAST & ATS-W, we bring this expertise to you in a convenient format designed to maximize your performance on the exams and allow you to fit high-quality, effective preparation into your busy schedule.
Kaplan's Steps to NYSTCE Success
Start by getting the inside track on what the test makers want you to know. Once you are familiar with the test objectives, you can customize your preparation from there.
Get in-depth and targeted review of the concepts you need to know on the exams -- all aligned with the state's test objectives.
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Measure your performance with our comprehensive practice tests -- complete with explanations for every answer.
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Chapter 1: The Tests
The LAST and the ATS-W are part of a series of assessments called the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE) that you must pass in order to be certified to teach in New York State. The NYSTCE and the program that goes with them are the results of requirements adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in 1989, effective September 2, 1993. To apply for a provisional teaching certificate, you will have to submit evidence of having achieved a satisfactory level of performance on the LAST and on the ATS-W portions of the NYSTCE. Your provisional certificate will be valid for five years.
What Is the LAST?
The Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST) portion of the NYSTCE is required for all those seeking provisional or initial (after February 1, 2004) teacher certification in New York State. The test is the same for every certification area (unlike the ATS-W, which has an elementary and secondary component). The LAST comprises a series of 80 multiple-choice questions and one written performance essay. The multiple-choice portion covers a broad spectrum of liberal arts objectives, assessing analytical skills, critical thinking, communication skills, and multicultural awareness. The LAST assesses introductory liberal arts knowledge, and the information you need to respond correctly is generally contained in the question.
There are four subareas of the LAST: scientific and mathematical processes, historical and social scientific awareness, artistic expression and the humanities, and communication skills. These are assessed through the 80 multiple-choice questions. The fifth subarea, written analysis and expression, is assessed through a written performance task in which you will be given two sides to an issue -- unrelated to any of the subareas -- and asked to defend one of the sides.
What Is the ATS-W?
ATS-W stands for the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written. There are two versions of this test: the Elementary and the Secondary. If you are seeking a Pre-K-6 common branch teaching certificate, you should take the Elementary ATS-W. If you are seeking a certificate for a secondary academic subject, you should take the Secondary ATS-W. If your goal is K-12 certification, you may elect to take either version of the ATS-W.
Each version of the test consists of approximately 80 multiple-choice questions and a written assignment. The ATS-W assesses knowledge of the learner, instructional planning and assessment, instructional delivery, and the professional environment. Each of these four subareas is defined by a set of objectives, which we will define and analyze in chapters 9 and 10.
How Do I Register?
The New York State Teacher Certification Examination Program recommends that you take the LAST during your sophomore or junior year -- after you have completed most of the basic liberal arts and sciences coursework. You should delay taking the ATS-W until you have had an opportunity to apply what you have learned in your pedagogical coursework to actual teaching situations, such as in student teaching. You will need to demonstrate this kind of thinking on the ATS-W.
Once you are certain when you want to take the LAST and the ATS-W, sign up as soon as possible. Application deadlines for the tests are very strict, and you will have to pay monetary penalties for registering late. The best thing for you to do is obtain a NYSTCE Registration Bulletin the semester before you want to take the tests, so that you do not miss the deadline for regular registration.
You can find additional information, testing requirements, and the application form in the NYSTCE Registration Bulletin, available through most New York State institutions of higher education that have teacher education programs. Alternatively, you can obtain a copy from National Evaluation Systems (NES) or the Office of Teaching:
National Evaluation Systems, Inc.
P.O.& 12:45-4:30 P.M. Eastern Time, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (For automated information, call any time.)
TTY for the deaf: 800-421-1220 (within NYS); 800-855-2880 (nationwide)
When Are the Tests Given?
You may take the LAST and the ATS-W on the same day or complete them separately on two different adminstration dates. You are allotted four and one half hours for each test (four hours of testing plus 30 minutes for instructions). The LAST is administered from 8:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.; the ATS-W is given from 1:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.
2004 Test Dates
Emergency Registration Date
Score Report Deadline
How Are the Tests Scored?
There are two types of scores: raw scores and scale scores. Raw scores represent the number of correctly answered items or the number of points earned on the written assignment. Scale scores represent the raw score compared with everyone else who has taken the test.
You must attain a scale score of 220 (of a maximum of 300) on each of the examinations to pass. Because the scoring formula is not made public, it is difficult to determine precisely how many items you must answer correctly to get a passing scale score. Remember, a qualifying score on both exams is required for certification. So if you pass one exam but fail the other, you must retake the failed exam until a passing score is achieved.
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