Study Guide

Field 059: Emotional Impairment
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Objective 002
Understand major theories of educational psychology as they relate to emotional impairments.

1. Which of the following students most likely has an emotional impairment characterized by phobias?

  1. A 14-year-old female has dropped out of several after-school activities she once enjoyed, and she seems persistently sad.
  2. An 11-year-old male often stays home from school with stomach-aches because he is afraid he will be called on during class and embarrass himself.
  3. A six-year-old female often steals lunch money and school supplies from classmates, and she is frequently noncompliant with teacher requests.
  4. A nine-year-old male always makes sure that the items on his school desk are arranged in a particular order before he can begin working on assignments.
Correct Response: B.


Objective 005
Understand types and characteristics of various assessment instruments and methods.

2. Which of the following evaluation methods would be most helpful for a teacher of students with emotional impairments to use in planning instruction and monitoring progress?

  1. annual state-mandated test results
  2. functional behavioral assessments (FBAs)
  3. individual standardized intelligence test results
  4. curriculum-based assessments
Correct Response: D.

Objective 006
Understand procedures for conducting assessments to address the individual strengths and needs of students with emotional impairments.

3. Ms. Robinson is a teacher of students with emotional impairments who works with high school students in a resource room. The students' ages range from 14 to 18, and they have varying academic abilities. Ms. Robinson has assigned each student a time, twice a week, to take an individual computerized test in math skills. This activity is likely to be most useful to Ms. Robinson for which of the following purposes?

  1. monitoring each student's progress over time
  2. reinforcing students' abilities to sustain attention
  3. assigning each student's grades for the marking period
  4. assessing the effectiveness of students' technological skills
Correct Response: A.

Objective 007
Understand procedures for interpreting and communicating assessment results to all stakeholders.

4. According to research, which of the following factors contributes most toward the overrepresentation of students from diverse backgrounds in programs for students with emotional impairments?

  1. Behavioral and cognitive styles are often misinterpreted by educational professionals.
  2. Not enough background information is available on students' academic and developmental histories.
  3. There is a lack of early intervention services.
  4. More time is needed to allow for students' assimilation into the school environment.
Correct Response: A.

Objective 008
Understand procedures for developing, implementing, monitoring, and amending Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), and transition plans for students with emotional impairments.

5. A multidisciplinary evaluation team (MET) has recommended that a fifth grader is eligible for special education services because of an emotional impairment. The student's assessment information most likely indicated which of the following?

  1. academic difficulties not attributable to methods of instruction and progress monitoring
  2. discrepancies between cognitive functioning and academic performance
  3. academic difficulties not attributable to intellectual, sensory, or medical factors
  4. discrepancies regarding behavior in school, at home, and in the community
Correct Response: C.

Objective 010
Understand uses of ongoing assessment in the education of students with emotional impairments.

6. Lakisha is a second grader who recently qualified for special education services with an emotional impairment. Follow-ing her evaluation, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and behav-ioral intervention plan were developed. Lakisha is placed in a resource room for academic instruction in collaboration with the teacher of students with emotional impairments, participates in general education nonacademic activities with paraprofessional support, and receives small-group counseling with the school social worker. Which of the following would be the most effective way for the IEP team to determine whether they need to make ongoing modifications to Lakisha's learning environment?

  1. measuring baseline data of targeted behaviors against data collected by teachers after the implementation of services
  2. comparing grades from classroom tests, quizzes, and homework assignments before and after services are implemented
  3. measuring targeted behaviors using an adaptive behavior rating scale filled out by teachers following implementation of services
  4. comparing the initial assessment results with the results of a stan­dardized achievement screening test given after services are implemented
Correct Response: A.


Objective 011
Understand strategies for planning and managing the learning environment for students with emotional impairments.

7. Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

Lydia is a sixth-grade student with an emotional impairment who attends a general education class with resource room support. Lydia presents as a very anxious student who exhibits extreme perfectionism. Although her scores on formal evaluations of reading and math are in the above-average range, she struggles to complete assignments because she reviews her work repeatedly for errors. Even though she is a prolific writer of stories at home, at school she is barely able to write half a page, and the writing assignments she turns in are always incomplete and full of erasures.

Which of the following would likely be the best strategy for helping Lydia work productively on writing assignments at school?

  1. providing her with a timer to moti­vate her to keep moving ahead as she works on writing assignments
  2. permitting her to do writing assign­ments in an environment in which she feels relaxed and comfortable (e.g., school library, beanbag chair)
  3. designing individualized writing assignments that she will be able to complete with a minimum of effort
  4. providing her with a self-selected reward (e.g., free time, reading a chapter in a favorite book) when she has completed a writing assignment
Correct Response: B.


Objective 019
Understand the historical, social, and legal foundations of education for students with emotional impairments.

8. Which of the following is a major policy issue related to the education of students with emotional impairments?

  1. A significant decrease in the prevalence of emotional impair­ments is threatening federal and state funding of programs that address this disability.
  2. Dropout rates for students with emotional impairments are among the highest across disability categories.
  3. Public funding is being used to support popular educational interventions for emotional impairments that lack adequate research.
  4. Increasing public pressure to identify students with emotional impairments has caused an upsurge in special education referrals.
Correct Response: B.


Use the information below to answer the six questions that follow.

Lester is a second-grade student with an emotional impairment that manifests in rigid and repetitive behaviors, obsessions, and aggressiveness toward peers. He has a coexisting neurological disorder (Tourette syndrome), symptoms of which include motor and vocal tics (e.g., facial grimacing, invol­untarily shouting out obscenities). He also exhibits attentional deficits. Lester takes an antidepressant medication to decrease the intensity and frequency of his tics, stabilize his mood, and reduce his obsessive thought patterns and compulsive behaviors.

A multidisciplinary evaluation team (MET) recommended Lester as eligible for special education services at the beginning of second grade. He was placed in a general education classroom with pullout services and in-class support from a part-time paraprofessional. Intelligence testing indicated cognitive function­ing in the average range. Achievement testing showed strengths in phonics and basic reading skills and weakness in math calculation. It is now late spring of his second-grade year, and Lester's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is conducting the annual review of his IEP. Team members include the general education teacher, the teacher of students with emotional impairments, Lester's parents, a school counselor, a school psychologist, and a school administrator.

Excerpts from Lester's School Records:

Adaptive Behavior:

Lester's repetitive and rigid behaviors are time consuming and interfere with both his social and academic functioning. For Lester, certain things must always be done in exactly the same way. For example, when walking up or down the school stairway, Lester steps on the checkerboard squares of the floor in a specific pattern. If the pattern is disrupted, he goes back to the beginning and starts over. He also engages in repetitive behaviors (e.g., flicking the lights off and on 22 times when he enters the classroom). He becomes anxious if made to stop. When Lester gets anxious, his grimacing and shouting-out behaviors increase in frequency and intensity, and he becomes increasingly noncompliant. Lester's strengths include likeability among adults, a good sense of humor and enjoyment of sarcasm, a desire to please, and a love of reading.

Social Behavior:

Lester is aggressive toward his peers; he hits them and grabs things from them. He once picked a student up out of a chair that he (Lester) wanted to sit in. He has trouble with sharing and taking turns. Lester requires especially close supervision during less structured times, such as recess and lunch. Lester is generally avoided by his peers.

Academic Functioning:

Lester has trouble following oral directions and focusing on his work.

In math, calculation makes Lester very anxious because of his frequent errors, often leading to grimacing, shouting out, and off-task behaviors.

Lester takes great pride in his reading. He is especially motivated by setting concrete goals (e.g., reading a given number of stories in a week) that allow him to measure his own success.

Objective 003
Understand factors that affect development and learning in students with emotional impairments.

9. When Lester was first determined eligible for special education services, his parents were surprised and distressed. They had felt that Lester was merely an unusually active child. They eventually agreed to his IEP, but they have never been very communicative with the school, despite repeated outreach efforts by Lester's IEP team. His parents have commented more than once that the IEP was not their idea and that Lester's progress is the school's responsibility. Which of the following best explains why educators should continue to encourage the parents' increased involvement in Lester's schooling?

  1. Lester's parents are the people who know him best and are therefore in a position to offer unique insights that will help his teachers meet his needs.
  2. Lester's parents are the experts regarding instructional strategies for him because they are the people who have seen him develop since birth.
  3. Lester's parents are his legal guardians and are thus the people whose consent must be obtained in regard to his educational programming.
  4. Lester's parents are the people most likely to be able to persuade him to modify his more extreme behaviors because they are the adults closest to him.
Correct Response: A.

Objective 011
Understand strategies for planning and managing the learning environment for students with emotional impairments.

10. During the IEP meeting, the team discusses how best to foster Lester's integration into the third-grade classroom environment. Which of the following would likely be the best strategy the third-grade teacher could use to promote this integration at the beginning of the school year?

  1. conducting a class meeting devoted to explaining behavior rules and the consequences of noncompliance
  2. organizing the students' desks in clusters of four to help ensure that Lester does not become isolated
  3. positioning herself near Lester throughout the day in order to inter­vene immediately if conflicts arise
  4. after obtaining parental permission, educating the class about the symptoms and behaviors associated with Lester's condition
Correct Response: D.

Objective 012
Understand strategies for developing and implementing effective behavioral interventions for students with emotional impairments.

11. To address Lester's difficulty attending to his work, his time on task will be charted during morning work time. For every 10 minutes that Lester remains attentive to his work, he will receive a star. If he earns four out of six stars before snack time, he may exchange the stars for a reward of his choice. Which of the following would typically be the next step?

  1. increasing the number of stars that Lester must earn to obtain a reward
  2. having Lester monitor his own behavior and award himself stars
  3. lengthening the number of minutes needed for Lester to earn a star
  4. intensifying the value of the reward Lester may earn with his stars
Correct Response: C.

Objective 014
Understand principles and methods of individualizing instruction for students with emotional impairments.

12. The team discusses how to reduce Lester's level of anxiety when the teacher assigns students to do calculation problems at their desks. Which of the following strategies would likely be most effective for this purpose?

  1. giving Lester alternative assign­ments in mathematical problem-solving that involve little or no calculation
  2. reducing the length of time that Lester must work on the problems and letting him read for the rest of the period
  3. having Lester work on the calculations with a peer buddy who is proficient in the skill being practiced
  4. reducing the number of problems for Lester and allowing him to check his work with a calculator
Correct Response: D.

Objective 015
Understand strategies for promoting the communication skills and social competence of students with emotional impairments.

13. Lester's IEP team is discussing goals for him related to social skills. Which of the following goals should most likely receive the highest priority at this time?

  1. using conventions of politeness, such as saying please and thank you
  2. refraining from repetitive or ritualistic behaviors in public settings
  3. eliminating the use of sarcasm in his interactions with other people
  4. using verbal rather than physical means to communicate with his peers
Correct Response: D.

Objective 018
Understand strategies for establishing partnerships with other school personnel and community agencies to enhance learning opportunities for students with emotional impairments.

14. The team wants to develop a response for supporting Lester at times when he is feeling extremely anxious and/or his tics are becoming unusually severe. Which of the following would likely be the best plan for addressing this need?

  1. establishing a safe, supervised area where Lester can choose to go at such times
  2. ensuring that a paraprofessional is on call to remove Lester from the classroom at such times
  3. arranging with Lester's parents to come to school and pick him up at such times
  4. exempting Lester from the assignment that is causing the anxiety
Correct Response: A.

Use the information below to answer the six questions that follow.

Keith is a 13-year-old eighth grader who has an emotional impairment. He has been in the custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS) since reports of suspected physical abuse by his parents were substantiated. Keith lives in foster care and receives community mental health services for emotional and behavioral issues. School has been difficult for Keith academically, behaviorally, and socially. Since fourth grade, Keith has had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and behavioral intervention plan to address learning, behavior, and social skills.

Over the past summer, Keith moved into his fifth foster home and was enrolled in the local middle school. He attends Ms. Ali's self-contained classroom for students with emotional impairments. At the beginning of the school year Keith was superficially charming and cooperating, winning the attention of peers and staff alike. After less than a month in eighth grade, Keith is now exhibiting new and disturbing behaviors. For example, he has been caught stealing items from classmates' backpacks and lockers. Ms. Ali found Keith stealing money from her handbag, which had been locked in her desk. Keith denies both incidents. When Ms. Ali spoke with Ms. Noonan, Keith's foster mother, about these incidents, Ms. Noonan reported behavior of even greater concern to her—Keith was found abusing the family cat and attempting to start a fire in the bathroom. At school, Keith's classmates have been teasing him, and he has responded with increased physical aggression (e.g., punching, hitting).

A functional behavioral assessment (FBA) was conducted to determine the cause of Keith's physical aggression. Ms. Ali has called an emergency IEP team meeting to discuss these recent new behaviors and determine the best course of action. The team consists of Keith, Ms. Ali, Ms. Noonan, a general education teacher, the school social worker, the school psychologist, a school administrator, and Keith's caseworker with the DHS. Ms. Ali begins the meeting with an overview of Keith's family and school history.

Family History:

Very little is known about Keith's family of origin. He has two sisters, ages 9 and 11. The children have all been in the custody of DHS for about five years. They were physically abused by their parents, with whom they no longer have any contact. Keith currently lives in his fifth foster home placement with Ms. Noonan.

School History:

In Keith's early elementary school years, he often came to school late and tired, looking as if he had just woken up. He struggled to acquire basic academic skills in reading, writing, and math. In second grade, Keith began receiving Title I services for reading. Third grade was a turning point for Keith. His behavior became more externalized (e.g., pushing and shoving peers, swearing at adults, noncompliance, irritable), which interfered further with his school performance. Keith often refused to read, write, or do math assignments, saying loudly, "I told you, I hate math!" Various behavioral interventions and classroom management strategies were tried without success. As Keith started fourth grade, he was evaluated by a multidisciplinary evaluation team (MET). The IEP team determined Keith eligible for special education services due to an emotional impairment. Test results suggested his cognitive abilities were in the average range, and yet his academic abilities fell nearly three years below grade level. An IEP and behavioral intervention plan were implemented, and Keith was placed in a self-contained classroom for students with emotional impairments.

The school psychologist interviewed Keith two days before the emergency IEP team meeting. An excerpt of this interview follows.

Excerpt from Keith's Interview with the School Psychologist:

School Psychologist (SP): "Hi, Keith! I'm Mr. Kline the school psychologist. How are you today?"

Keith (K): "Good morning Mr. Kline, it is really nice to meet you [shakes hands]. I know who you are . . . I've seen you around school."

SP: "Keith, tell me why you think we're getting together today."

K: "I don't have a clue. I'm just glad to be out of that class."

SP: "Tell me more about that Keith . . . Why is it you're glad to be out of Ms. Ali's class?"

K: "It's boring, . . . a total waste of my time."

SP: "Well then, tell me about the things you like to do in school."

K: "Nothin', . . . school's boring, I just told you."

SP: "Then tell me what interests you have outside of school. What do you and your friends like to do?"

K: "Friends? I don't have any friends. I do like playing with Ms. Noonan's cat though. Yeah, I take really good care of that cat."

Objective 002
Understand major theories of educational psychology as they relate to emotional impairments.

15. According to Abraham Maslow's psychological theory, which of the following best explains why Keith has been stealing?

  1. Keith was unable to achieve balance among his needs (e.g., sense of belonging and competence).
  2. Keith did not have ample oppor­tunity as a child to learn how to make choices.
  3. Keith did not have his basic needs met as a young child (e.g., safety and security).
  4. Keith was unable to maximize his learning potential to achieve academic success.
Correct Response: C.

Objective 003
Understand factors that affect development and learning in students with emotional impairments.

16. Which of the following is the strongest indicator that Keith has been physically abused as a young child?

  1. learning difficulties in reading and writing
  2. disrespecting adult authority figures
  3. using superficial charm to obtain the trust of others
  4. mistreating the foster family's cat without remorse
Correct Response: D.

Objective 004
Understand the effects of emotional impairments on human development, learning, and transition to postsecondary/adult life roles.

17. As a student like Keith enters adolescence, his history of physically aggressive behavior most commonly results in the student's:

  1. attending a vocational program rather than a college preparatory program.
  2. developing a mood disorder.
  3. becoming more easily distracted.
  4. dropping out of high school before graduation.
Correct Response: D.

18. Keith's emotional impairment most likely makes it difficult for Keith to develop interpersonal relationships due to his:

  1. inability to empathize with others.
  2. inflated expectations of others.
  3. sense of learned helplessness.
  4. limited need for belonging.
Correct Response: A.

Objective 013
Understand principles and methods of curriculum development and instructional planning for students with emotional impairments.

19. Keith refuses to attempt reading or writing assignments, and he demonstrates significant academic skill deficits in both of these areas. Which of the following strategies should Ms. Ali try first in attempting to engage Keith in reading and writing activities?

  1. lowering her expectations of Keith regarding reading and writing instruction
  2. providing explicit and direct instruction in reading and writing at Keith's ability level
  3. eliminating reading and writing from Keith's schedule until his behavior is more stable
  4. increasing Keith's special education support with a one-to-one parapro­fessional during reading and writing instruction
Correct Response: B.

Objective 020
Understand the professional, ethical, and legal roles and responsibilities involved in the education of students with emotional impairments.

20. Which of the following procedures would be the best strategy for Ms. Ali to recommend to the team for the purpose of addressing Keith's physically aggressive behavior toward classmates?

  1. Amend Keith's behavioral intervention plan to address the results of the FBA.
  2. Conduct a manifestation deter­mination to suspend Keith from school.
  3. Reconsider Keith's foster home placement.
  4. Report Keith to the police depart­ment for fighting in school.
Correct Response: A.