Any tip in taking CSET in English?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by azreader, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. azreader

    azreader Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2007

    Hi everyone,

    I am a career switcher and I relocated to California from Indiana after I received a teaching job offer in an inner city high school.

    I enrolled in a university for their MA in Education based on the advice of their academic advisor in order to get my teaching credential. Also, I was told then that I can get a waiver for CSET due to my master's in English. This is why the year passed without my taking this.

    Now I learned that I should take the CSET in order to keep on teaching in another school district. At where I taught they are letting go all those who are not meeting the NCLB although I was issued a Preliminary credential from Florida.

    I registered to take CSET in English this coming July 21 and now I am frantic in getting the right study guide for this. Our book stores all carry the CSET for multiple subjects and I could not find one for Single Subject in English.

    I checked the Internet and this is how I stumbled on this web site.

    I hope teachers based in California can give me advice/tips on taking CSET in English.

    Thank you.
     
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  3. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2007

    Have no fear!!!! I have taken all 4 parts of the English CSET. First, I would recommend buying the Xam book for it. There are reviews online that badmouth it, but I found it useful.

    Also, the Orange County Department of Educ., somewhere on their website you can order study books from them. They are thick and expensive, but me and 3 other colleagues split the cost on all 4 and passed. The price was worth it to me. I'll try to find the link for you.

    But yeah Cliff Notes and Barrons and all those other big companies only make the Multiple Subject CSET books.

    Also check out the Test Prep Section of this discussion board.
     
  4. FutureDR

    FutureDR New Member

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    Jul 6, 2007

    I found that passing the CSET was fairly simple if you keep one idea in mind. The test is mostly multiple choice, so that means three answers will have some value in common that the fourth will not. When I took the exams I kept saying to myself, " One of these things not like the other." It goes to say that Sesame Street still holds value to this day.
     
  5. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2007

  6. azreader

    azreader Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2007

    Thank you so much. Yes, the books from Orange county are quite expensive compared to the Xam book you mentioned earlier. But it is good to know what books I should get that helped others passed CSET.

    I love your "Have no fear" at a time like this when I want to take all four at one test day. A co-teacher said she took hers one at a time because she is a language learner and she thinks I should not have any problem in passing as long as I review and be time conscious when taking it. She, however, could not remember where she got her study guide except that she got it online.

    You are more specific in your response plus the link also worked.

    Kudos and again, thank you.
     
  7. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2007

    yeah like i said...i realize it's expensive but to me it was worth it. peace of mind. I could sleep better at night =)

    and as FutureDR said, just be wary of your time. I'm a little slower at writing essays so plan for that.

    Also, make sure you look at the standards and requirements on the NESINC website. they have practice tests as well. it's a nice guide to use while you wait for those books.
     
  8. azreader

    azreader Rookie

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    Yes, about peace of mind and NESINC. I just downloaded their stuff and I am getting a better idea of what to expect. Wow, some of the questions for Test II, linguistic, certainly requires a good study guide to get me through.

    I could hardly wait to get my books. Thanks ayotte04, it is good to know what I need to do.
     
  9. teach101

    teach101 Companion

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    Jul 6, 2007

    Don't be frantic. I am not an English major (Business Admin) and passed no problem. I didn't even study for it..busy studying for Math (ughh another story). As long as you have a firm knowledge of language acquisition you will be fine. Most of which I learned through my credential course work. There are a lot of helpful links in the Single Subject examination forum you can find. Good luck!
     
  10. azreader

    azreader Rookie

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    This is wonderful to know. I can lessen my sources of stress then by easing up on this frenzy over CSET.

    I'll also check the links on Single Subject examination forum as per your advice. Thanks a lot for your feedback. I truly appreciate this.
     
  11. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    I have found that if you dumb down your intellect on the writing portions, you score higher. I learned to keep it simple because you don't want to go over your reader's head. (we really don't know who is reading our essay answers).
    I have a masters degree in English, and yet I failed the easiest segment on Test1V--the creative writing re-write!
    I have no idea as to why as I feel confident that I did a really good job with this portion as I also have taught creative writing classes at a community college. I think this is a mistake on their part, not mine.
    The problem with the writing portions is the subjectivity of the people who read them.
    I think they need to over-haul the entire CSET English exam as it is poorly contructed and written, and it is not an effective measurement of one's English background.
     
  12. azreader

    azreader Rookie

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    Hi Ignatius,

    This is a very insightful tip.

    I also have a masters in English/Creative Writing and taught creative writing before and yes, I am bound to write above the reader's head considering my orientation. I better keep in mind to dumb down my writing portions and not go overboard in making a great job over it.

    You are right, who knows the qualifications of those scoring CSET?
    Uhhmmm this is a great food for thought.

    Thanks, I am sure this will help me from having unrealistic expectations.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2007

    One of the traps for those who really know their stuff is reading more into the question than is there; another trap is failing to follow the directions. Those may very well account for what you're experiencing as a need to dumb down your answers.
     
  14. azreader

    azreader Rookie

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    You are right, I am bound to read more than what is there in the question. I'll keep in mind this tip as well as the need to carefully follow directions.

    Thanks TeacherGroupie, I truly appreciate these tips!
     
  15. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2007

    Thank you all. Yes, I tend to over-think things.

    When I re-take Test 1V, I intend to simplify, simplify, simplify!
    And of course, I intend to study a little this time. HA!

    Incidentally, I have a friend with a PH.D in English who flunked sub-test IV too!

    I just wish I knew where I went wrong with the creative writing aspect of the test.

    That is the frustrating thing about the CSET-they don't quite let you know where you went wrong, therefore, making it impossible to learn from your mistakes.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 9, 2007

    Ignatius, what are you seeing on side 2 of your official score report?
     
  17. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    It says I lacked subject matter knowledge about creative writing.
    The funny thing is that when I embarked upon subtest 1V, I felt like I had entered an oasis. It felt like a vacation after the rigors of the prior three subtests. The creative writing portion was the easiest in which they asked me to offer constructive criticism.
    I basically pointed out sections where the writer should have shown and not told and edited out the prolific use of adverbs.
    In other words, I approached it as I have done in the past with my creative writing students.
    I thought I did really well on this portion, so I was astounded to discover I flunked it.
    Perhaps I misunderstood the question?
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 9, 2007

    Could be...

    For Subtest IV questions, the performance indicators show that a response fell short in Purpose (p), Knowledge (k), or Support (s). Getting a k generally means that the test taker wasn't using enough buzzwords to suggest a good grounding in the domain, or wasn't using them accurately. You might try imagining that you're explaining to a peer what it is that the kid did wrong - and usually the creative writing question asks you to focus in on one or two classes of error.
     
  19. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    Thank you very much for trying to help--really!
    But I am afraid I am as confused as ever. I thought I knew the buzz words! I am so afraid I am going to flunk this portion again, and I am to embark upon student teaching this fall as the final phase of my credential program.
    If I flunk again, they shall boot me out of the program.
    I don't mind failing as long as I learned something from it, however, I don't know what I learned from this failure.
    Again, thank you for putting forth so much effort in order to help me.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 10, 2007

    Ignatius, what happened with the other three questions in Subtest IV? And have you looked over the content specifications/subject matter requirements document(s) for CSET English?
     
  21. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    Oh I passed those just fine, and here I was only worried about Subtest Two.
    The part I failed was the creative writing portion of Subtest Four.
    I did indeed look over the subject matter qualifications.

    Maybe I was over-confident on the creative writing portion? Maybe I over-wrote? Maybe my personality came off as unpleasant, anal-retentive, over-bearing and too critical? Maybe they just did not like me! I am sort of kidding here, but it does seem like some degree of subjectivity can creep in. Or maybe I am just paranoid--yet another negative personality trait of mine. I took it last May and I am to take it again this July.
    Perhaps this is a psychological test in disguise which explains my failing.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 10, 2007

    A check mark on a constructed response doesn't necessarily mean the test taker aced it, just that the answer wasn't obviously deficient in purpose, knowledge, and support. That is, it's possible to get a check mark without getting more than two out of the possible three points for the question.
     
  23. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Jul 10, 2007

    CSET english resources


    Here are some great resources:
    XAM book CSET English
    Any book on Literary Criticism esp. the history of Different movements
    Acting & Theater by usborne
    Look at any writing rubrics for creative writing section.
    Any Schaum's guide or AP guide for English
    New Mexico Media Literacy project website.
    Also if you download some of the CSET English TEST materials from the CSET website, they will list some resources. You should be able to find some of these materials at a univeristy library. Good luck!
     
  24. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    This is really valuable advice and bears repeating.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Yup. The skills in thinking and problem solving that we all use every day can be very useful on teacher tests.
     
  26. Ignatius

    Ignatius Rookie

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    I know this. I did not say I aced anything. I just told you I passed those portions with no problems when you asked how I did.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Wait, wait: the point wasn't to diss you, it was to note that some of the points you need in order to pass might be available from the other three questions.
     

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