CTEL Practice Exam Review

The state of California has been challenged in recent years by a sharp increase in the number of students whose primary language is not English. To ensure that these students are served effectively, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing has established the California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) examination. This examination assesses one's grasp of the knowledge and skills required to provide basic instruction in the English language. Teachers who pass the CTEL have the authority to provide specific instruction to students. The examination is divided into three subtests: Language and Language Development; Assessment and Instruction; and Culture and Inclusion. The Language and Language Development subtest (also known as CTEL 1) measures the candidate's knowledge of English language structure and the importance of English language skills in general academics.

Free CTEL Practice Test Questions


CTEL 1 is composed of fifty multiple-choice questions and a constructed-response question. The multiple-choice questions on the CTEL examination will have four possible answers. Constructed-response questions will contain a brief prompt, to which the candidate must respond in coherent, logical prose. The Assessment and Instruction subtest (CTEL 2) measures the candidate's knowledge of English language assessment and instruction procedures. To succeed on this subtest, the candidate will have to be familiar with all the common methods of second-language instruction. CTEL 2 is composed of forty multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response questions. The Culture and Inclusion subtest (CTEL 3) measures the candidate's knowledge of various cultures and the relationship between culture and education. CTEL 3 is composed of forty multiple-choice questions and a constructed-response question. The CTEL examination is administered by the Pearson testing agency at locations throughout the state. The entire examination takes about three hours.

Free CTEL Practice Test Questions

1. An English Learner has trouble recognizing differences between /l/ and /r/, especially in conversation. This is because

a. These letters are not represented in his first language.
b. These sounds are not distinct phonemes in his first language.
c. He may have a speech impediment, a hearing disability, or both.
d. His first language alphabet isn't Roman based.

2. Leaving a home country because it is torn by war is an example of a _________ factor. Leaving a home country because another country offers superior educational opportunities is an example of a ________________ factor.

a. Push; pull.
b. Expulsion; attraction
c. Divisional; unifying
d. All the above; these terms are interchangeable.

3. One hypothesis of language acquisition theory is that:

a. The driving force in language acquisition is the need to communicate emotion
b. All humans are born with a supralinguistic understanding that encompasses all possible languages; language acquisition results when linguistic elements not part of a particular language are suppressed.
c. Language learning is formal, and language acquisition is unconscious.
d. Language is acquired slowly and gains complexity as a speaker's needs evolve.

4. Cognates can be useful to English Learners because of:

a. Positive transfer from the primary language to English.
b. Neutral transfer from the primary language to English.
c. Negative transfer from the primary language to English.
d. The opportunity to learn independent but interrelated concepts.

5. Cultural_____________ is evidenced when a minority culture maintains its own differences while participating fully in the dominant culture. The position of cultural _________ is that a value, ethical or moral belief is not inherently right or wrong. The position of cultural_________________ is that a value, ethical or moral belief is inherently right or wrong.

a. Independence; pluralism; ultimatism
b. Pluralism; relativism; ethnocentrism
c. Dialecticalism; universalism; absolutism
d. Determinism; universalism; absolutism.

6. An English Learner whose parents have developed vocabularies and relatively high fluency are concerned because their child understands English, but doesn't enunciate well. The teacher has assessed her phonemic understanding and use, and found no issues. The problem is most likely:

a. She needs more speaking practice with other students.
b. The teacher has assessed phonemic use as individual units and not in the context of words. Sounds could become distorted when the student joins them into words.
c. Intonation. She may be organizing words in rhythmic patterns that aren't familiar to English speakers.
d. A physical reason that should be diagnosed by a speech therapist.

7. Jasmine's older brother is curious. In the previous statement, the underlined words are:

a. A predicate adjective
b. A predicate nominative
c. A predictive phrase
d. The object of a preposition

8. Why might English Learners be confused by compound words, when they understand the meanings of the individual words?

a. For English Learners, nouns have a strong imagistic component. Juxtaposing two words, such as sheepdog, causes confusion because they visualize two different objects superimposed.
b. The confusion comes in which word comes first. Why sailboat and not boatsail? Bookstore and not storebook?
c. The confusion comes in why only certain combinations are permissible. If sheepdog is acceptable, why isn't mousecat or singbird?
d. Compound words composed of familiar words don't always have a predictable meaning.

9. Most English Learners have a plethora of difficulties when they first begin to read in English. One reason is because:

a. Some letter blends, such as sch, are illogical.
b. If the primary language also uses the Roman alphabet but is phonetically regular, early reading confusion is to be expected.
c. All vowels have numerous possible ways of being pronounced.
d. All the above.

10. What strategy can a teacher use to simultaneously increase vocabulary and heighten syntactical understanding in her English Learners?

a. Teach students several synonyms for words they already know.
b. Teach students several homonyms for words they already know.
c. Teach students several antonyms for words they already know
d. Teach students prefixes and suffixes.

Answer Key

1.ANSWER: The answer is (b) In his home language, these two sounds, which are distinct in English, meld into a single sound. He may recognize them as distinct letters in English, but he doesn't hear a difference and therefore will also have difficulty pronouncing them as distinctly different sounds.

2.ANSWER: The answer is a. Push factors are those negative conditions that compel people to migrate away from their home countries. For example, poverty, war, scarcity of land, work or food, or persecution for one's beliefs, politics or race. Pull factors are those positive conditions that draw people to a new location, such as the promise of employment, land, wealth, freedom to express beliefs, and absence of racial prejudice.

3.ANSWER: The right choice is c: Learning a language is a conscious, formally configured act, while acquiring a language is both natural and unconscious. Language acquisition theory holds that since language acquisition is the result of practical language use and is therefore both natural and unconscious, language acquisition instruction should not put emphasis on error correction or grammar. Doing so might inhibit ELs' natural acquisition of English.

4.ANSWER: The correct answer is a. Positive transfer permits a Language Learner to intuitively understand the meaning of an English word because a very similar word, or cognate, also appears in her home language. Unlike false cognates, cognates invite intelligent guesses regarding a word's meaning. For example, the Spanish 'demonstrar' is very close to English 'demonstrate'.

5.ANSWER: The answer is b. Cultural pluralism is manifested when members of a secondary culture are able to interact fully with the controlling culture without losing any of their home culture characteristics. Cultural relativism takes the position that no belief or value is inherently good or bad; culture determines this. Ethnocentrists take the opposite view: there are ethical and moral absolutes which are reflected in 'our' culture; any culture that doesn't share these values is wrong.

6.ANSWER: The correct response is c: The problem is most likely one of intonation. She may be organizing words in rhythmic patterns that aren't familiar to English speakers. Pausing at the wrong moment, or failing to pause where an English speaker would expect it, can cause confusion.

7.ANSWER: The correct answer is a: A predicate adjective. Predicate adjectives follow the linking verb, in this case the verb 'is', and gives additional information that modifies the subject. Jasmine's older brother is the subject, and 'curious' is the adjective.

8.ANSWER: d: When a compound word is divided into its component words, oftentimes there is no apparent logical reason why joining their meanings results in the new meaning. Pocketbook has nothing to do with either pockets or books, and while nightmares happen at night, they don't have anything to do with female horses.

9.ANSWER: The answer is d. Letter blends such as sch or ough are not pronounced the way the letters suggest. Students who have learned to read and write using a Roman alphabet in a language that is highly regular will become confused when they first attempt to read in English. Finally, English vowels have many different possible pronunciations; some are somewhat predictable, but many are not.

10.ANSWER: The correct response is d. Teaching the meanings of prefixes such as un, dis, en, re, and pre and suffixes such as ment, ly, and or helps students understand words like encouragement, disobey, , similarly, and dancer. Some prefixes and suffixes change the word function. For example, ly changes adjectives to adverbs. Students can learn to unpack meaning by attending to prefixes and suffixes.

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Last Updated: 03/01/2017


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