The Early Childhood Generalist Certification Exam is a rigorous test offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). It covers the best practices, curriculum, instruction strategies, and assessment methods for teachers of children from ages three to eight. While it’s not mandatory, achieving this certification is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and qualifications as an early childhood teacher.
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Am I Eligible to Register for This Test?
Before you can even book your appointment, you will need to verify that you fulfill a certain set of basic criteria. The eligibility requirements are as follows:
- A BA degree from an accredited institution
- A minimum of three years experiencing teaching at early childhood, elementary, middle school, or high school level. This includes part time and substitute teaching experience.
- A current state teaching license if it is required in your state
How Should I Prepare for Test Day?
The exam is actually just one of four components you’ll need to prepare in order to successfully complete the certification process. So in addition to preparing for the test, you’ll need to put together the following three “portfolios:”
- Differentiation in Instruction
- Teaching Practice and Learning Environment
- Effective and Reflective Practitioner
For each of these portfolios, you will put together supporting evidence such as student work, lesson plans that you have created, and written commentary to demonstrate that you fulfill the standards and expectations for each of these categories.
As soon as you register for the test, make sure to contact an NBPTS representative to find out more about what sort of evidence you need to include in each portfolio and what standards will be used to score your portfolios.
What Subjects Will Be Included in the Exam?
For the exam component of the process, you’ll need to answer 45 multiple choice questions (only 40 of these will count toward your score) and three short answer questions. The questions will cover three content standards:
- Childhood development, equity, fairness, and appreciation of diversity — 13-14 multiple choice questions
- Language and literacy, technology, resources — 15-16 multiple choice questions
- Science, social studies, arts, health, and physical education — 15-16 multiple choice questions
- The short answer questions will each cover a separate aspect of early childhood education:
- Children’s Play
For each of the above, you’ll be given an exercise that requires you to develop a lesson plan, demonstrate your understanding of pedagogical theory, or identify strategies for supporting student development.
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How Are Each of the Components Scored?
The scoring for this certification is a bit complicated. Each of your portfolios will be scored on a scale ranging from 1 to 4. Your exam will be scored on a scale of 0 to 4.25. On your exam, you will need a score of at least 1.75. Then, you will need a 1.75 average across your three portfolios. This means an exceptionally great portfolio can help make up for a weaker portfolio.
However, you still need to make sure your total weighted score across all four components is a minimum of 110. Even if you get the 1.75 minimum on each individual component, your total weighted score might still fall below 110. Alternatively, you might get a weighted score above 110 but fail to get at least 1.75 on each of the components. In both scenarios, you would need to retake the components.
While it is confusing, you can avoid any problems by making sure you give yourself plenty of time to put together portfolios that truly and fully represent the best of what you’re capable of as a teacher. Then, make sure you still have enough time leftover to study for the exam component.
Do I Need to Study for the National Board Certification Generalist Early Childhood Exam?
While you might have encountered a lot of the material on this exam already, it’s still important to take time to study because being familiar with the material and being able to recall it quickly and accurately in the context of an exam are two very different things. As you study, it’s important to focus not just on passively reviewing the material but actively engaging with it.
The best way to do that is with the Mometrix Study Guide and Mometrix Flashcards. These studying tools make it easy and fun to not just read through the material but actively apply it to real practice questions. The flashcards also make it possible to make creative study games or have a friend quiz you so that you can work on your speed and accuracy when answering questions about this material. On top of that, you’ll benefit from the test taking advice and study tips that will keep you feeling relaxed and fully confident when it comes time to take the exam.