Over three dozen states and U.S. territories use the Praxis test series as their official teacher certification exams. A teacher who passes one is officially recognized by the state as highly qualified to lead a classroom in that subject. (In some cases, a college student must pass a Praxis exam in order to enter a student teaching program.) Test dates and windows are determined by Educational Testing Service, which administers the PRAXIS exam.
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Praxis tests were created as a response to landmark federal legislation. In 2002, President Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind act (NCLB), arguably one of the most important education reform laws in American history. NCLB was based on the premise that millions of schoolchildren in America are being shortchanged and are receiving an inferior education because of large numbers of under-qualified and poorly trained teachers in classrooms. NCLB states that all schoolchildren have a right to a highly qualified teacher, and mandated that higher standards for teachers be put in place by school districts across America.
To that end, Educational Testing Service (ETS) developed the Praxis series of exams. Praxis Core exam is used by colleges and universities as a pre-admission test for applicants who want to major in education. Praxis exams, of which there are around 200, are tests of specific subject matter and pedagogical skills in that subject. They are designed to measure the knowledge and abilities a person must possess in order to be an effective teacher in the subject matter. Praxis tests are challenging and thousands of people fail them every year, forcing many of them to defer or abandon their dreams of teaching children. Thorough preparation is critical, and you’ll find an abundance of free videos here at Mometrix Academy to help you prep for these important exams.
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The Educational Testing Service has taken the time to ensure the Praxis test is crafted with care in order to be reasonable and applicable to become a successful teacher. Each Praxis test goes through an extensive standardization process. The Educational Testing Service hires in educators that work the same content area that the test is patterned after. They do this to identify what content is appropriate for the average American classroom, and then they apply that content to the Praxis exam. Once the educator is finished, the experts and content advisors at the Educational Testing Service make sure the Praxis exam questions meet the pre-established standards and requirements. They are then placed in trial testing and removed of any cultural bias. Once all of this is done, the questions are placed on the appropriate Praxis exam.
Test Length and Format
Each Praxis test will vary on the amount of questions and test length. Regarding test time, every Praxis test will range from 1 to 5 hours. Praxis exam questions will typically be either selected response questions or essay questions. Each question is designed to assess the test taker’s knowledge and abilities to perform adequately as a beginning teacher. Subject knowledge as well as general pedagogical knowledge will be extensively tested. There are three main types of tests the test taker will face when taking a Praxis test: a Subject Assessment Praxis test; a Principles of Learning and Teaching, or PLT, Praxis test; as well as a Teaching Foundations Praxis exam.
The Subject Assessment Praxis exam category is the most varied category for subjects, question number, and test time. Each Subject Assessment Praxis exam can contain both general questions and subject-specific questions. Every Subject Assessment Praxis exam will contain selected response and/or constructed response questions. These tests are designed to measure the abilities of the test taker in the specific field the test taker wishes to teach. Though the Core Praxis exam and the Pedagogical focused Praxis exam are both important, this Praxis exam will be the test that relates most closely to the day-to-day activities of the future instructor.
Principles of Learning and Teaching
The Principles of Learning and Teaching, or PLT test, is primarily used to assess the test taker’s abilities and pedagogical knowledge regarding the instruction of a classroom. There are four different versions of this Praxis test. Each Praxis test in this category will consist of 70 selected response questions and 4 constructed response questions, in which the test taker will have two hours to complete. Each version of this Praxis test category will cover topics such as: Students as Learners; Instructional Process; Assessment; Professional Development, Leadership, and Community; as well as an Analysis of Instructional Scenarios. The different versions of the Praxis PLT test are as follows: the Early Childhood Praxis test; the K-6 Praxis test; the 5-9 Praxis test; as well as the 7-12 Praxis test.
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Finally, the Teaching Foundations Praxis exam category is used to measure the test taker’s ability to adequately teach about the following four main areas: Multiple Subjects; Mathematics; English; and Science. Each Praxis exam in this category will consist of selected response questions as well as constructed response questions. These tests are like a mixture of the two previous tests. Each Teaching Foundations Praxis exam focuses on a specific subject; however, unlike the Subject Assessments, this Praxis exam category also assesses the test taker’s ability to teach and control the classroom, much like tests in the PLT Praxis exam category. Each Teaching Foundations Praxis exam uses scenarios related to the subject matter to assess how the test taker would perform in each specific scenario.
Since the Praxis test is being utilized by over three dozen different states and U.S. territories, test sites are located all across the country. These sites can be found in multiple cities and provinces in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Upon registering for the Praxis test, the test taker will be able to choose whichever testing center is closest to them. The state requirements for the Praxis test vary by each state; however, almost every state requires that the test taker holds a baccalaureate degree, and that each test taker has completed an educator preparation program. Each state is different in their requirements, so it is important that the test taker knows their specific state’s requirements when applying to take the Praxis test.
Whenever the test taker feels they are ready to take the Praxis exam, they can register in three different ways: online; by mail; or by phone. If the test taker decides to register by mail then ETS will mail the admission ticket that the test taker needs to enter the testing facility. If the test taker registers using their Praxis account, they must print out the admission ticket themselves. The testing location may change, so the test taker needs to make sure that they check around three days before the testing day to ensure they know where to take their Praxis exam. If the test taker wants their scores reported to their respective colleges, they must include which school to send the school to when registering. Depending on which state the test taker registers to take the Praxis exam in, they may have to submit their Social Security Number upon registration. In the event that the test taker is absent on the day of their Praxis exam, all test fees will be forfeited; however, the test taker may change the date to another date that is in the future as long as it is in the same testing year. If it does not fall into the same testing year, a $40 fee will be applied. If the test taker wishes to cancel their testing appointment, they must do so three or more days before their scheduled test day; otherwise, their test fees will be forfeited. The test taker may take their respective Praxis exam, regardless of whether or not they have paid the appropriate fees; however, scores will not be distributed until the account is fully paid off.
Upon the day of taking their Praxis test, the test taker will be allowed only specific items while in the testing area. They will be allowed to bring and are required to bring their admission ticket as well as one of the following acceptable photo IDs: A Passport with the test taker’s name, photograph, and signature; A valid government-issued driver’s license with their name, photograph, and signature; any kind of national ID that has the test taker’s name, photograph, and signature; or a Military ID that has the test taker’s name, photograph, and signature. The test taker can also bring a calculator if it is appropriate for their respective Praxis test.
When taking the Praxis exam, there are certain items that the test taker should not bring. Personal items such as bags, backpacks, and purses will not be allowed in the testing room; likewise, cell phones are prohibited. In the event that the test taker brings in a cell phone, the phone will be confiscated and inspected for any test information. Watches are not allowed in the testing room while taking the Praxis exam either. Food and drinks are also not allowed to be brought into the testing area. There will be a place to store personal items while the test taker is testing; however, they will not have access to such items during the breaks. The testing centers hold no responsibility if the items stored are damaged or stolen. If the test taker needs access to any personal items, equipment, or sustenance due to a medical need, they must follow the correct filing procedures notifying ETS of the medical condition requiring the specific accommodation.
Once the Praxis test is over the test taker will be expecting to know their scores to determine if they passed, or if they need to take the test again. The ETS does not have a specific passing score for any Praxis test. Each passing score is determined by each state and territory that accepts the Praxis test. This deviation is a direct result of the diversity that America cherishes. Each state has its own culture and social and academic norms. Due to this, each state has different requirements teachers need in order to be successful in their careers. Because each Praxis test is carefully crafted by teachers and teacher educators in the specific subject and state in which the test taker takes the Praxis test, the content and difficulty will vary for each state offering the Praxis test.
So how does the test taker know they passed? The ETS will inform the test taker of their results. The time in which the test taker receives their scored is dependent on how they elect to receive their Praxis exam scores. If the test taker decides to have their scores mailed to them, it will take 10 to 16 business days for the ETS to send the Praxis exam scores. Alternatively, if the test taker decides to have their scores posted online, they will receive their scores immediately after the 10 to 16 day period, instead of waiting for the scores to travel through the mail. If the test taker wishes to have additional Praxis exam score reports sent to them, they will have to do so through their Praxis account, and will be charged an extra $50 to do so. Such Praxis exam scores can be received online, or through other mediums such as, mail, phone, or by fax.
Once the test taker completes the Praxis test, their test scores are sent to the test taker as well as any institutions or agencies that the test taker denotes in the Praxis test registration form. Institutions will not be automatically sent score reports. They must be denoted in the test taker’s registration form. In addition to the selected recipients, the Praxis test scores are also automatically sent to the departments of education in the following states: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; as well as Wyoming. If the state the test taker wishes to have Praxis test scores is not in this list, the test taker must list the specific state they wish to send the scores to as a score recipient upon registering for the Praxis test.
Due to the fact that each Praxis exam is individually crafted, the questions on each test vary in difficulty. For this reason, the ETS decided not to base results on a raw score. A raw score is purely how many questions the test taker answered correctly. These scores have no regard to how difficult each question is. In contrast, the scaled scoring system for the Praxis exam does take the difficulty of each question into consideration when scoring the test. The easier the question, the fewer points a correct answer is worth; alternatively, the harder a question is, the more points a correct answer is worth. The ETS has a scaling process known as equating that they use in order to ensure that each Praxis exam score is fair and accurate.
The Praxis test can be very arduous. If the test taker does not adequately study, they will fail. The reason the test is so difficult is to ensure that the test takers that pass the Praxis test will be qualified to instruct a classroom. The education years are arguably the most vital point in a person’s life. The quality of a person’s education is in direct correlation to their success later on in life. Due to this importance, ETS rigorously prepared the test to weed out unqualified teachers, allowing only the best to help shape students’ future. Though the Praxis test is difficult, it is not impossible. Through adequate preparation and diligent study, almost anyone can pass. We at Mometrix want to see you succeed. We want to see the world become a better place. This is why we have taken the time and effort to create appropriate study guides and practice tests for the Praxis test. We want to help you become prepared for your test day, so that you can become a qualified teacher, and help lead our children’s future down the right path. With our study guides and practice tests, we believe we can give you the help that you need in order to be successful.