Review of the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 Exam
The Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) are a suite of exams used by the state of Florida. These exams are designed to test the content knowledge of aspiring teachers who seek Florida professional teacher certification. Therefore, candidates must pass one or more FTCEs to earn certification in their chosen specific content area. Specifically, the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 exam is intended for those wishing to work in special education with visually impaired students in grades K through 12.
This FTCE subject area exam tests candidates' knowledge of visual impairments and their skills in working with and teaching students with visual impairments. Candidates who pass the exam can earn their Professional Certificate in the field, which is valid for 5 years. After wish, the certificate can be renewed by earning renewal credit through a range of professional development and continuing education opportunities. Here, we will discuss the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 exam in greater detail.
Registering for the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 Exam
Test takers can register for the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 exam through their FTCE online account. FTCE registration is open 24/7 and requires candidates to choose their exam, answer background questions, and agree to testing policies. Test takers will then pay the FTCE test cost amounting to $150.
Candidates can also schedule their exam online during registration, but they have up to one year before they are required to schedule the test. The exam is available at test centers around the state and nationwide. FTCE test dates are available by appointment year round, but specific availability may vary by test site. Although some testing accommodations are available without pre-approval, disabled test takers or those who are nursing mothers can request alternative arrangements by filling out the Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form.
Candidates who do not pass the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 exam are allowed unlimited retakes. However, the FTCE retake policy states that the retake test dates must be at least 31 days apart. Candidates do not get any extra test time on retakes and must retake the entire FTCE test.
Format of the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 Exam
The FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 exam is a computer-based exam with about 100 questions that must be completed in 2.5 hours. These questions are multiple-choice questions with four different answer options. Some questions are commands or direct questions where testers must choose the best answer. Others are scenario questions where test takers will read a case study, situation, or other problem and then choose the best response.
Questions on the exam are divided into seven different FTCE competencies designed to test specific skills and knowledge in the field. Each one makes up a different percentage of the total exam. Below, we will explore the following competencies in depth that test candidates' understanding of:
- The philosophical, historical, and legal foundations regarding students with visual impairments
- The visual system and the impact of visual impairments on development
- Compensatory skills for students with visual impairments
- The assessment, screening, and evaluation procedures for determining eligibility, program planning, and progress monitoring of students with a medical diagnosis of visual impairment
- The ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum)
- Specialized learning related to literacy media, assistive technology, and access for students with visual impairments
- Instructional strategies and methods for teaching students with visual impairments
Philosophical, Historical, and Legal Foundations Regarding Students with Visual Impairments
The first competency examines candidates' understanding of the various foundations regarding students with visual impairments and deafblindness. Test takers will need to answer questions about laws and policies at the state and federal levels that affect special education, and specifically, the visually impaired. These regulations and policies may be related to resources, services, or organizations for this population.
Questions will also examine topics in the role of teachers for the visually impaired, strategies for service delivery to these students, criteria for determining eligibility, and the professional practices related to teaching students with disabilities. This section makes up approximately 10% of the total exam.
Visual System and the Impact of Visual Impairments on Development
The Visual System and the Impact of Visual Impairments on Development competency checks candidates' understanding of the causes of impairments and how these affect growth over time of their students.
Candidates will need to know the structure of the visual system and brain anatomy used for sight, as well as understand the development of visual skills, the characteristics of different visual disorders and diseases, and how visual impairment affects overall development. Other questions may ask about ways to detect visual impairment and how these impairments affect different developmental stages from birth to age 22. This section makes up approximately 12% of the total exam.
Compensatory Skills for Students with Visual Impairments
The Compensatory Skills for Students with Visual Impairments competency tests candidates' knowledge of skills and instructional strategies used for students with visual impairments. For instance, candidates will need to know about different tools that utilize the sense of touch that is used for the visually impaired.
Candidates will need to demonstrate their skills and understanding with braille code, rules for both the UEB and Nemeth code, and of using an abacus. Questions may examine testers' knowledge of different instructional methods needed for teaching various kinds of concept development to students. This competency is the largest section at about 18% of the total test.
Assessment, Screening, and Evaluation Procedures for Determining Eligibility, Program
Planning, and Progress Monitoring of Students with a Medical Diagnosis of Visual Impairment
This competency tests examinees' practical skills for checking eligibility for visually impaired students, planning programs, and evaluating student progress. Questions may ask about the interpretation of eye-related medical reports (including terminology and common diagnosis information), and how to use and evaluate learning media assessments, O and M screenings, and other vision-specific assessments.
Test takers will need to demonstrate their skills in communicating assessment results with various parties, such as the student and parents. This section of the exam makes up approximately 14% of the total test.
ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum)
This competency is dedicated solely to testing candidates' understanding of the ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum). This curriculum is focused on the various life skills that students need in the real world, such as how visual impairment impacts factors such as social skills, skills needed for independent living, self-determination skills, career skills, and skills for recreational activities.
Test takers will also be evaluated on their knowledge of various instructional strategies for teaching these various skills to those with visual impairments. This competency is one of the larger sections of the exam at about 16%.
Specialized Learning Related to Literacy Media, Assistive Technology, and Access for Students with Visual Impairments
This competency covers different media- and technology-related tools and resources used for students with visual impairments. Test takers should be sure to know ways to use low vision aids, environmental adaptations, and assistive technology to teach efficiency skills to students. They will also need to explain how to utilize various instructional strategies to increase the use of other senses and O and M skills. This section may cover different barriers that students with visual impairment face, as well as how to address these problems. This competency makes up about 16% of the exam.
Instructional Strategies and Methods for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Although other sections have touched on instructional strategies for those with visual impairments, this section explores these strategies and methods in greater detail to evaluate candidates' teaching skills.
Questions pertain to topics such as incidental learning, systematic instruction, tactile learning, and explicit instruction, and how visual impairment affects or plays a role in these concepts. Test takers should be prepared to explain techniques for using accommodations for students and providing access to instruction, utilizing various communication methods (i.e., braille, listening, tactile graphics, etc.), and incorporating assistive technology. Assistive technology may be low- or high-tech. This final competency makes up about 14% of the total exam.
Preparing for the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 Exam
While there are no specific prerequisites or requirements for taking the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 exam, test takers generally have completed at least a bachelor's degree in education and their given content area. Despite having some training in their content area, candidates should properly prepare for test day to pass the exam as quickly as possible in order to earn their Florida teacher certification.
Test takers should begin by learning about the format and content covered on the exam. This can be done using a FTCE Visually Impaired study guide that also may provide Florida Teacher Certification Exam sample questions. Testers can also evaluate their strengths and weaknesses within the content using these guides, then organize and plan their FTCE prep, dedicating more time to larger sections of the exam and sections that are more difficult.
An FTCE Visually Impaired practice test is another great tool that testers can use to monitor their progress and get familiar with the format and types of questions on the exam. Taking an FTCE practice test will best prepare them to answer test questions under a time constraint.
On test day candidates should arrive at least 30 minutes before their appointment time. Test takers will need to bring two valid forms of ID to their selected FTCE testing locations and are not allowed to bring visitors, children, or weapons inside the testing center. All personal items must be stored. Candidates will be provided with a pen and notepad for taking notes during the actual FTCE test.
What Score is Needed to Pass the FTCE 044 Exam?
In order to pass the FTCE Visually Impaired K-12 (044), candidates need to earn a score of 200 or higher. The scores on the FTCE tests are scaled to account for multiple forms of the exam. Test takers can expect to get their FTCE official score report within four weeks.