FTCE 061: Florida ESE Certification Test Prep

FTCE ESE Overview

Beginning in 1980, educators in Florida state have been required to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE) to prove that they have received the necessary training to be effective educators. With over 40 different subject area exams, it can be difficult to know which exam potential candidates are required to pass for their desired certification area.

The FTCE Exceptional Student Education K-12 (ESE) is a computer-based assessment for Florida state teacher candidates looking to teach exceptional learners in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade. The ESE is considered an FTCE Subject Area, which is added to the initial certification.

Candidates should have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program to have prerequisite skills to achieve the FTCE passing score and apply their knowledge in the education field. Passing the ESE exam is a necessary step in the certification process for teachers who desire to work with exceptional students. The ESE is one part of a variety of certification tests interested candidates could add to their existing teacher certifications.


The FTCE ESE is a computer-based test with about 100 multiple-choice questions to be answered in two hours and thirty minutes. Applications to apply for more time and other accommodations are available on the website of FTCE.

Each of the multiple-choice questions is based on the test taker's knowledge of six different competency areas around exceptional education. All questions offer four response choices but come in three different types:

  1. direct
  2. scenario-based
  3. sentence completion questions

For each type, the test taker is responsible for choosing the option that best answers the question. Additionally, scenario questions will require candidates to read a case study or incident report before choosing a recommendation for the best course of action in the scenario.

Cheating of any sort before, during, or after the FTCE test is unauthorized and will result in invalid test scores. Examinees are not permitted to bring aids or calculators to the FTCE testing locations, and if necessary for the exam, test sites will provide the necessary materials. Personal items should be left at home or placed in the secure storage provided on-site.

Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.

FTCE ESE Registration

To register for the ESE exam, test takers need to create an FTCE account or log in to their existing one on the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations website. FTCE registration is available online at all times. After choosing the Exceptional Student Education K-12 (ESE), candidates will select a date, time, and location from the open registration selections. The FTCE test cost is $150.

Candidates are required to bring two valid and unexpired pieces of identification. The first should be a government-issued photo ID (ie. driver's license, state-issued identification card, passport, etc). The second can be another form of identification as listed or something else that has either a photo or a signature.

For special accommodations, an Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form can be submitted. Candidates who are members of the military or spouses of the military can have their FTCE test fee waived.

Those wanting to schedule a retake of an FTCE test must wait 31 calendar days after the first exam and must pay the FTCE retake fee of $150.

FTCE ESE Competencies

The FTCE ESE exam assesses 6 different competencies and skills in the areas of educating exceptional learners. They measure knowledge of:

  • foundations of exceptional student education
  • assessment and evaluation
  • instructional practices in exceptional student education
  • the positive behavioral support process
  • multiple literacies and communication skills
  • the transition process

These FTCE competencies have been deemed most critical for beginning ES teachers to understand and implement in their unique teaching contexts.

Foundations of Exceptional Student Education

Competency 1 encompasses the basics of educating exceptional students. This competency is the most highlighted on the exam, taking up approximately 24% of the total test questions. These questions on the exam will ask candidates to:

  • identify exceptional education legislation
  • classify characteristics of exceptional students
  • compare and contrast the developmental stages within school-aged children
  • interpret ethical common practices
  • apply knowledge of implementing individual and group educational plans as well as transition IEPs.
  • evaluate student support systems that provide access to general curricula
  • apply interpersonal skills within educational teams
  • prove competency in encouraging support staff
  • name the purpose of agencies and organizations relevant to exceptional education
  • select factors contributing to disproportionality in ESE.

Assessment and Evaluation

Competency 2, Knowledge of Assessment and Evaluation, makes up approximately 13% of the total questions on the FTCE ESE test. These questions ask the examinee to prove a deep understanding of the purpose of assessments at class, district, and state levels. Examinees should be able to:

  • identify and evaluate the purpose of assessment types
  • apply legal and ethical principles within the context of exceptional education
  • identify characteristics of assessment measures (norm and criterion-referenced assessments)
  • determine specific student needs discovered through formal, informal, and performance assessments
  • understand state and alternative assessment accommodations and exemptions
  • analyze student data to determine strengths and needs

Instructional Practices in Exceptional Student Education

Competency 3 comprises approximately 21% of the Florida ESE exam questions and covers the topic of pedagogical awareness relating to exceptional student education. While similar to general education, exceptional education differs by focusing on individual student needs rather than the class as a whole. This section looks closely at:

  • specialized instructional approaches
  • print versus non-print modes of input
  • using student needs and interests to increase engagement with required content
  • grouping strategies based on academic, behavioral, social, etc. needs
  • differences between differentiation, accommodations, and modifications
  • differences in core curricula, supplemental, and intervention
  • multi-tiered instruction
  • selecting effective instructional strategies to support student growth
  • evidence and assessment based instructional strategies
  • evidence-based interventions and current best teaching practices

Positive Behavioral Support Process

Competency 4, Knowledge of the Positive Behavioral Support Process, is the focus of approximately 12% of the total ESE test questions. It explores test-taker skills in positive behavior support models and best practices such as:

  • functional behavior assessments and data-based interventions
  • behavioral data collection strategies and procedures
  • both individual and whole group behavior interventions (e.g. school-wide positive behavior support vs. classroom management vs. individual or small group supports)
  • legal and ethical issues regarding positive behavior support strategies
  • disciplinary procedures for students with exceptionalities
  • appropriate prevention and intervention strategies for managing challenging behaviors

Multiple Literacies and Communication Skills

Competency 5 comprises 22% of the FTCE ESE exam's focus, making it the second most asked-about area. This competency covers a wide range of important skills and concepts regarding teaching students with exceptionalities including:

  • instructional methods to increase mathematical problem-solving skills
  • teaching foundational writing skills, the writing process, and why we write (persuasion, entertainment, information)
  • executive functioning, metacognition, and critical thinking with cognitive exceptionalities
  • increasing literacy and language in all content areas (e.g. spoken language, listening skills, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and word attack strategies).
  • increasing reading proficiency through phonics, word recognition, fluency, and comprehension
  • decreasing possible deficiencies in phonological processing and phonemic awareness
  • the progression of literacy proficiency for students with exceptionalities
  • assistive technology and alternative communication devices and systems for exceptional learners
  • how to individualize education for students identified with communication disorders to increase academic and functional skills
  • best practices for teaching the structure of language

The Transition Process

Competency 6, Knowledge of the Transition Process, occurs the least on the Florida ESE certification test at approximately 8% of questions with this focus. This competency refers to students leaving the typical education setting (whether that be to career, technical education at the secondary level, or postsecondary education). Candidates should review:

  • appropriate programs for career or technical education for students with exceptionalities
  • planning routines to assist students, parents, caregivers, or stakeholders in creating ability-appropriate goals after secondary education
  • promoting independent self-determination and self-advocacy for students
  • options for students with disabilities to function with independence when possible in careers, postsecondary education, and home and community living

Florida ESE Certification Test Prep

A scaled score of at least 200 points within the 100 multiple choice questions earns a passing credential. FTCE scores will be available for review on the website of FTCE/FELE by the date reported after completion. Scores can be sent to universities, colleges, or school districts if requested at the time of registration. On the day of the Florida ESE Certification exam, candidates should arrive at the testing site 30 minutes early and dress in layers for personal comfort.

To be successful on the exam, examinees should engage in good study habits such as reviewing test structure, understanding the FTCE competencies, and reflecting on readiness to pass the exam as a qualified educator. Both FTCE practice test and FTCE study guide are enormously helpful to the successful completion of the FTCE Exceptional Student Education.

FTCE ESE Practice Test

FTCE ESE practice tests offer a baseline idea of the competencies candidates are familiar with already as well as areas they need to review. The Exceptional Student Education K-12 exam differs from general certification exams by focusing on exceptional students; the examinee may understand assessment strategies in general but may need to review assessment strategies concerning exceptional learners. Completing a practice test at the beginning and again during the course of study can help students measure their improvement as well as see some Florida Teacher Certification Exam sample questions to be answered under the simulation of time pressure.

Florida Certification Exam Study Guide

An FTCE Exceptional Student Education K-12 study guide ensures test takers review all the skills and competencies included in the FTCE test. It can be easy to overlook key details with the breadth and depth of topics this exam covers. An FTCE study guide that can be found online or made by the student themselves will ensure teacher candidates have covered not just the content for the exam, but also how to best teach students with exceptionalities in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many questions are on the FTCE ese exam?

    The FTCE ESE exam is comprised of 100 multiple choice questions around the skills and competencies necessary for teaching students with exceptionalities. All questions (direct, scenario based, and sentence completion) have four response choices and the test taker must choose the option that best answers the question.

  • What is ESE certification?

    In order to educate students aged kindergarten through 12th grade with exceptionlities, the state of Florida requires teachers to be certified in Exceptional Student Education. An ESE certification qualifies a teacher to work with students with learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, physical impairments, and other such exceptionalities. Candidates might recognize more familiar language like 'inclusive childhood education' or 'special education'.

  • What is a passing score on the FTCE ese exam?

    A passing score on the FTCE ESE exam is a scaled score of at least 200 points. Scores are reported on candidate's FTCE profile by the posted date on said profile.


Take a Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

You have answered 0 out of 15 correctly.

The correct answers are highlighted with green below.

Sign Up
  1. Students begin to learn and understand that letters have sounds that correlate with them in what grades?

    • Correct Answer
  2. Which stage of physical development occurs from three years old to five years old?

    • Correct Answer
  3. Which of the following is NOT a cognitive skill?

    • Correct Answer
  4. Mr. Lu is a second grade teacher. He has been teaching for fifteen years, and this year he wanted to try something new. Instead of having him run the classroom, he wanted to put the students in charge and have the students be the focus of all learning and activities. He was now just going to be the facilitator.

    What model is Mr. Lu practicing?

    • Correct Answer
  5. Which of the following concepts refers to the differences in language in terms of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary?

    • Correct Answer
  6. A teacher is beginning a record keeping process for their students and begins to track how students act in class. She notes for each individual student their progress, participation in the class, and any recent disciplinary action they may have taken against the student. After a short period of time, the teacher has a more complete view and record of their students actions. This would be an example of:

    • Correct Answer
  7. The process of helping parents of special needs students navigate meetings, evaluations, paperwork, IEPs, and progress notices is known as

    • Correct Answer
  8. Which of the following is true of an independent education evaluation?

    • Correct Answer
  9. Disabled parents are protected within any public facility, including schools, as the result of

    • Correct Answer
  10. What is the name of the chart used to test student vision?

    • Correct Answer
  11. Which of the following is an example of a health impairment as identified by IDEA?

    • Correct Answer
  12. A student views math as an important subject and thinks they are able to perform well in it with enough hard work.

    This student has a good view of their:

    • Correct Answer
  13. An instructor is trying a new active response strategy with students to increase their engagement and make learning more enjoyable. To accomplish this, the instructor has students sit in small groups at various points in the room. Following a short lecture, the teacher allows the students to work collaboratively within their group and discuss the topic.

    This technique is known as:

    • Correct Answer
  14. Each day in Ms. Garrison's class, students answer questions based on what they learned the last time they came to class. The questions are done as a warm-up and then the students begin their lessons for the day. Ms. Garrison uses the responses to questions to tailor her next lesson to close any gaps that may occur in their comprehension.

    With summative assessments being completed at the end of a unit, what type of assessing is Ms. Garrison doing by checking how the students are doing throughout a unit?

    • Correct Answer
  15. High-stakes testing refers to

    • Correct Answer