Are you smart enough to be a Florida High School Science or Math teacher? Here's some exam questions

This article below made me curious just how tough these exams were

Tougher standards may worsen science-teacher shortage

Here are all the exam guides with sample questions

FTCE Subject Area Examinations

Here is the earth science test

Here is the grades 6-12 math test

As a side note while the math and earth science exams I looked at are fairly straightforward I pulled up the grade 6-12 social science exam and it’s kind of odd. I was expecting to see some stuff on group behavior, basic statistics, bell curves, theories about social groups, basic theories in economics, but there’s almost none of that.

The areas of knowledge expected are OK, but the actual questions themselves are this weird grab bag of generally pretty easy questions. This is the intellectual bar to hurdle for Social Science teachers in Florida after years of study? A reasonably well educated person off the street would have decent shot at a passing this thing cold.

Social Science Exam 6-12

I scanned through the earth science test and the only questions I was easily able to answer were the ones pertaining to the scientific method. I vaguely remember learning about plate tectonics and different types of rocks in elementary school.

I didn’t see anything in the article about the math test, but a high school teacher should definitely be able to get more than 20 of those questions right.

I got 80% on the Earth + Space quiz. I think it had a good mix of subjects and difficulties, ranging from the obscure and trivial to the fairly analytical. I do however worry about the quality of science teachers that only manage to get %65 of them correct, though!

I would have gotten 100% on the Social Sciences quiz except that I misread #14 as pertaining to the exclusive power of the federal government instead of state governments.

Those tests don’t seem very hard to me…especially since the people taking these tests should have taken college coursework in the subject.
Unfortunately, this does cause me to reflect on all the social factors that go into why the most high achieving and intelligent people often don’t become teachers (though there are certainly some teachers who are very bright and talented, there are also a lot of teachers who are the lowest achievers).

I looked pretty closely at the math test. I assume you would have trig tables for one of them (the bridge). But although I could do all of them (well I guessed at the standard deviation question since I couldn’t do the computation in my head) I think they are actually much more difficult overall than I would have expected. Certainly, it was way beyond anything I studied in HS, but that was a long time ago. I never heard of a matrix for example.

Taking a quick look at the biology exam, I bet I could pass it today. Not necessarily get a great score, but probably pass. I have degrees in English and Law and I took Biology 101 my freshman year of college, about 20 years ago.

To be fair, I chose the bio exam because I have a head for bio. I have no doubt I would fail the math test miserably!

I missed one question on the ES quiz. I don’t think we had that sort of information when I was in High School ( 1980’s ).

At my college, there were math and science classes that only education majors could take, that were specifically easier than the normal gen ed classes. Which always felt completely backwards to me.

Well, I did the first two quizes and got 19/30 on the science and 20/30 on the math.
I felt that the level of math questions asked was, on average, probably around 2-3 grade levels higher than the level of science questions asked.

I’ll try the third quiz now.

23/30 on earth science. The weather questions threw me.

Not even trying the math.

27/30 on social science. I actually thought they were relatively difficult questions, I don’t think I would have passed in high school just off the top of my head.

But the questions are from the teachers’ test, not the students’. So, it makes sense that they should be (well) beyond the level of the students.

I ran through the test and got a 96.

I don’t get what question 4 of the math one is asking, is it just expecting me to realize that (b+e+t)=f(-2)+f(0)+f(2) (then plug ‘n’ chug)?

That’s one way, but there’s a more elegant solution.

f(x) = g(x) + c, where g(x) is an odd function. So f(-x) + f(x) = 2c, and f(0) = c, which implies that b + e + t = 3c, or -51.

It’s complete overkill, but I can imagine a slightly altered version of the question asking for f(a) + f(0) + f(-a) where you’d have to realize that.

I just did it and I missed one out of 30. While its nice to think you’re special I know I’m not, and this test is an absurd metric to judge the skill set you should have to teach modern social studies properly.

This is the test you take after (assumedly) a year of two of study focused on social studies to be teacher. It’s like it’s specifically designed to let people of mediocre intelligence pass.

Okay, I know math standards in the US are low by some countries’ standards, but…

Not only did I get 27/30 on the math test, I’m pretty sure I would have done fairly well when I graduated from high school in 1983. And I was definitely not a math whiz at that time. I took Additional Maths at O-levels but did not take Maths at A-levels, for people who would know what the means.

I would have been flabbergasted that anyone could fail this and be a 6-12 math teacher. Not any more, because I have had a coworker who left the teaching profession to join our department (Finance/Accounting). His math is definitely worse than mine when I was 15.

I don’t why I keep getting surprised by this. Twenty years ago when we first immigrated to the US, I realized that my kid brother’s high school Physics teacher knew FA about Physics, and certainly did not possess the necessary math background to pass AP Physics.