Skip to Content
Postsecondary Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

About the FTCE/FELE Program

The Florida Teacher Certification Examinations/Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FTCE/FELE) program allows Florida’s prospective educators to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the areas of general knowledge, professional education competence, educational leadership, and/or subject area knowledge. The FTCE/FELE tests measure prospective teachers’ and school administrators’ achievement of the benchmarks established by the Florida State Board of Education, as stated in Rules 6A-4.0021 and 6A-4.00821 of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) and published in the Competencies and Skills Required for Teacher Certification in Florida (PDF).

All FTCE and FELE tests are developed using processes that are consistent with national standards and best practices for developing large-scale examinations as articulated in Standards For Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association [AERA], American Psychological Association [APA], National Council on Measurement in Education [NCME], 2014).

See also: FTCE/FELE At a Glance

Title I-A funds (available only to Title I schools for the purposes of recruiting highly qualified teachers) and Title II-A funds (available districtwide) may assist teachers with test fees, preparation programs, stipends, substitute teachers, and other needs. However, use of these funds is based on a district needs assessment and the direction of the school board.

The Florida legislature expanded opportunities for military personnel, veterans and their spouses or surviving spouses to request a waiver of initial certification and certification examination fees. For more information on this waiver and eligibility requirements, visit the Military Certification Fee Waivers website.

Evaluation Systems group of Pearson is the FTCE/FELE contractor.

Yes. For more information on participating in test development meetings, go to http://www.floridacertexam.nesinc.com.

No. Pilot test results will not affect the scores of any FTCE or FELE examination you have taken or may be taking in the future. Pilot test scores will not be reported to your institution, school district, or the Florida Department of Education.

Test Registration and Preparation

The Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC) determines your testing requirements after you submit an application for certification.

For more information about certification, contact the BEC toll free at 800-445-6739 or visit www.fldoe.org/teaching/certification.

The Florida Legislature and the Department of Education set the requirements for certification. Although some people may not use formal technical writing skills, algebra, or geometry in their daily lives, these skills are considered by the Department to be an important part of an educator’s professional teaching credentials. This test of basic skills will provide an underlying baseline for a teacher’s future career, which might include teaching at another level or working in administrative positions.

The Florida Legislature has determined that the quality of a teacher’s basic language arts and mathematics education is an important part of the overall level of teaching excellence in Florida. The requirement for basic skills appears in Section 1012.56, (3) (a-e), Florida Statutes, which addresses educator certification requirements; Section 1012.56, (8) (f) addresses the General Knowledge Test. The subtests provide a basic foundation for all language arts and mathematics instruction for teachers at all levels of teaching, including elementary school. The competencies and skills tested on the General Knowledge Test are aligned by law to the Florida State approved standards; the content of each subtest represents a minimum level of what is expected of a Sophomore in college in Florida.

The current testing requirements were mandated by the Florida Legislature, and there is no provision in law for waiving or exempting the requirements. However, in Florida, there are multiple pathways to educator certification and various means of demonstrating mastery of general knowledge (e.g., specified scores on the GRE®), some of which do not necessitate a passing score on the FTCE General Knowledge Test. For complete information on alternatives to the General Knowledge test, visit the Bureau of Educator Certification's General Knowledge page.

Please note that the Florida Department of Education does not have the authority to waive or alter program requirements determined by Florida colleges or universities. The program requirements of Florida colleges and universities are independent of the certification requirements set by the Department.

If an examinee is having difficulty passing the General Knowledge Test, he or she has the option to enroll in a state college to take classes that cover the general knowledge concepts that will be tested.

The Department publishes a Test Information Guide for the General Knowledge Test that identifies that competencies and skills that it tests. Examinees may access the Test Information Guide at http://www.fl.nesinc.com/FL_TIGS.asp. The guide gives a brief overview of the test; provides the competencies and skills that are tested; and presents some sample items, sample essay prompts, and sample essay responses. It is not intended to replace coursework. The Department is not authorized or funded to provide teaching materials for the test; it is assumed that a person with a bachelor’s degree will have the required level of knowledge to pass the General Knowledge Test.

The score for the General Knowledge Essay is a separate subtest score that requires a minimum score of 8 out of 12 points to pass. The scoring of the General Knowledge Essay is conducted in a standardized session held for a particular examination and scored by at least two independent, qualified, and trained raters. The two independent scores are combined for a final General Knowledge Essay score.

If an examinee does not pass one or more General Knowledge subtests, the examinee is required to retake only the subtest(s) not passed. For example, if an examinee passes the General Knowledge Reading, English Language Skills, and Mathematics subtests, but does not pass the General Knowledge Essay, then he or she must retake the Essay but not the Reading, English Language Skills, or Mathematics subtests.

As it relates to the FTCE and FELE, the role of the Florida Department of Education is to ensure the validity and reliability of the exams consistent with the standards and best practices in the field of assessment, not to prepare examinees to pass the exams. However, the Department of Education produces test information guides (TIGs) that provide a general overview of each examination: http://www.fl.nesinc.com/FL_TIGS.asp. (The Florida Department of Education does not endorse any third-party FTCE/FELE test preparation materials and cannot attest to the quality or accuracy of such materials.) The TIGs, and other resources available via www.fl.nesinc.com are the only materials the Department endorses and are updated to reflect current test content and standards. They are intended to provide information to examinees taking an examination by presenting an overview of the content and format of the examination. Included in the test information guide are the test blueprint, competencies and skills, and sample test items. The TIGs are not intended as all-inclusive sources of content or pedagogical knowledge, nor are they substitutes for college course work or experiential knowledge.

Each TIG also contains an annotated bibliography that lists text books and other resources that would address specific competencies covered by the test. As indicated at the beginning of the bibliography, however, “the Florida Department of Education does not endorse these references as the only appropriate sources for review; many comparable texts currently used in teacher preparation programs also cover the competencies and skills that are tested on the exam.”

Preparation resources may be found through local school districts or colleges/universities. Contact information related to district-level Professional Development Certification Programs (PDCPs) is available via https://www.altcertflorida.org/coordinators. For information about programs of study available through various colleges of education, you may access the website www.fldoe.org/teaching/preparation. A list of Educator Preparation Institutes (EPIs) operated by various colleges in Florida is also available. The Department is not able to endorse or direct examinees to any particular program.

Please refer to the documents FTCE Test Structure Information (PDF) and FELE Test Configuration Model (PDF) for the approximate number of questions, testing time, and other information.

In order to be eligible for certification, educator candidates demonstrate competency in general knowledge, subject area knowledge, and professional education by passing educator examinations. The Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) and Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE) program collects examinees’ Social Security numbers (SSNs) via the registration application for these exams. The FTCE/FELE program uses the SSNs to match examinee scores with educator certification records that contain SSNs as required by Section 1012.56, Florida Statutes. Examinees’ SSNs are used for internal purposes only and are on score reports released to institutions and school districts as designated by the examinee. SSNs are not released to other third parties.

Test Scores and Next Steps

Many licensure and certification authorities across the country provide only pass/fail results. One reason for this is that licensure and certification examinations are designed to focus precise measurement at the “cut-score,” or minimum passing score. Another reason for reporting only pass/fail results is to prevent numeric scores from being used inappropriately. For example, numeric scores for licensure and certification examinations should not be used to decide who is hired or promoted or who is eligible for advanced training, because the exams are not designed for these purposes.

The raw or combined scores on the FTCE and FELE are converted to a common measure called a scale score. Reporting on a common scale allows multiple forms of a test to be equated and reported using a standard scale that will provide the same meaning across all these forms of this test. The current FTCE and FELE scales are set to have a minimum of 75 and a passing score of 200 for all test areas offered by Postsecondary Assessment.

The minimum passing scale score for non-performance FTCE and FELE tests is 200. For performance-test minimum passing scores, please see the FTCE/FELE Maximum Percentages of Correct Answers Needed to Achieve a Minimum Passing Score table (PDF).

The number of correct answers needed to pass an examination may vary based on the difficulty level of questions used on a given form of the examination. To adjust for potential difference in difficulty across forms within the same examination, forms are equated to a base form consistent with national standards and best practices as articulated in “Standards For Educational and Psychological Testing” (American Educational Research Association [AERA], American Psychological Association [APA], National Council on Measurement and Evaluation [NCME], 2014). Equating is a common practice used by most large-scale testing programs to adjust for difficulty variation between forms. Therefore, examinees may need to answer more questions correctly on an easier form of a test than on a more difficult test form in order to achieve the same passing scale score of 200.

For this reason, the Florida Department of Education can only provide general guidelines about how many questions must be answered correctly in order to pass each test. The FTCE/FELE Maximum Percentages of Correct Answers Needed to Achieve a Minimum Passing Score table shows the maximum percentage of questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass any of the multiple-choice tests/subtests and the passing score information for all performance tests/subtests that are currently being administered. This table is updated regularly as changes may occur due to new test forms. Please see the latest version of the FTCE/FELE Maximum Percentages of Correct Answers Needed to Achieve a Minimum Passing Score table (PDF).

The numbers shown in the left-hand column of the FTCE/FELE Maximum Percentages of Correct Answers Needed to Achieve a Minimum Passing Score table represent the maximum percentage of correct answers needed to pass a test. For example, if 70% is the maximum percentage of correct answers needed to pass any form of a particular 120-item test currently being administered, then an examinee must answer at least 84 items (70% of 120 items) correctly in order to pass this test. A slightly more difficult form of this same test might require only 68% (82 items) of correct answers in order to achieve a passing score. For this reason, the table shows the maximum percentage needed to earn a passing score on any form of a test currently being used.

For examinations that include written or oral performance components, percentages are not provided because scoring these examinations involves a more complex process to arrive at “combination scores” or “subtest scores.” Please refer to the "Tests/Subtests with Performance Components” section of the FTCE/FELE Maximum Percentages of Correct Answers Needed to Achieve a Minimum Passing Score table for additional scoring information and the passing scores on the performance-only tests/subtests.

Official FTCE and FELE score reports are posted to examinee accounts within 4 weeks of the test date, and examinees are notified by email. Passing test results for the FTCE and FELE are submitted electronically to the Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC) automatically at the same time score reports are released to examinees; however, examinees must have an application or other information (e.g., a transcript) on file with BEC in order for their results to be matched to a teacher candidate file.

If you receive a non-passing score within 10 scale score points of the passing scale score of 200 or receive a "NOT PASS" result on a performance component subtest/section, you may request an appointment for a score verification session. Score verification sessions allow examinees the opportunity to review items answered incorrectly and to submit scoring challenges. The request must be made within 30 days of the release of the score report for the test or subtest in question.

Score verification sessions are NOT provided for study purposes. Examinees are not given the correct answers to multiple-choice items and are not provided with information on how to improve responses to performance assessments. Score verification sessions are NOT an opportunity to retake the test. Examinees are not able to change their responses or modify their answers in any way.

For a test or subtest you did not pass, your score report will include your numeric score as well as a detailed performance analysis report that indicates the number and percentage of multiple-choice questions you answered correctly by applicable competency. You may use this information to determine the sections of the test in which your performance was weakest and then plan to do some additional studying in those areas. However, while concentrating your studies on your areas of weakness, you should also be sure to do some additional preparation addressing the content covered in the other sections of the test. Finally, you may also want to do some additional studying in the sections of the test that contain the greatest percentage of test questions, as they will contribute the most to your total score.

Detailed performance analyses also provide average percentage correct/average scores that show how well other examinees performed in the subject area. The average percentage correct/average score should not be used as a criterion on how well you need to perform to pass the subject. It only provides information on how your performance compares to other examinees.

The scoring rubrics and scoring guidelines used by performance assessment raters are provided in the test information guides.