The Exam

The certification exam measures an educator’s knowledge of Structured Literacy instruction.

We use the term structured literacy to encompass instruction that emphasizes the structure of language, including the speech sound system (phonology), the writing system (orthography), the structure of sentences (syntax), the meaningful parts of words (morphology), meaning relationships among words and their referents (semantics), and the organization of spoken and written discourse.

The exam was developed under the guidance of Applied Measurement Professionals and with the input of 1,200 educators. The exam is computer-based and consists of 100 multiple- choice questions.  There are three types of multiple-choice exam items: recall (34%), application (48%), and analysis (18%).

1. A recall item requires the examinee to remember specific information. For example: Parts of speech and sentence structure belong in which language domain?

A. morphology
B. syntax
C. phonology
D. orthography

2. An application item requires the examinee to make use of knowledge. For example: These errors−hav for have and hors for horse−indicate a student would benefit from instruction in

A. combining forms.
B. chameleon prefixes.
C. word origins.
D. orthographic patterns.

3. An analysis item requires the examinee to use data to make an instructional decision. For example:

At mid-year, a second-grade student’s fluency rate is 55 words correct per minute. The student’s weekly spelling test average is 65%.  The student’s scores on a standardized reading assessment with a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 21.06 are listed below.

Subtest Score
Listening Comprehension 61
Reading Comprehension 35
Vocabulary 39
Word Attack 34
Word Identification 34
Spelling 31


While reading aloud, this student misreads the word steep as step. To meet the student’s instructional needs, the teacher should have the student:

A. look at the picture on the page to help cue the correct pronunciation of the word.
B. reread the sentence that contains the word repeatedly to improve fluency.
C. listen to the teacher dictate the word, say the word, and segment the word into sounds.
D. identify the syllable type, determine the vowel sound, and read the word.