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What is the Praxis Test?

If you’re an aspiring teacher, knowing what the Praxis test series entails is important. There are many paths of accreditation and certification. However, most states require one or more tests in this series as a part of the teacher certification process. Below, individuals can explore the features of the Praxis series, discover which tests they may be expected to take, and obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of the series.

What is the Praxis?

Each test in the Praxis series measures a suite of core abilities and knowledge bases in areas such as mathematics, reading or writing. While it’s true that some states use a different and specially designed test to assess teacher skills and understanding within the state, more than 40 states in the U.S. prefer the Praxis core comprehension tests administered by ETS.

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Another variant of the Praxis test offered are the individual subject assessment tests. These measure understanding of topic-specific comprehension, teaching skills related to each subject, and more general pedagogical understanding. One or more of these focused tests may be advisable for individuals seeking to teach at the high school level.

How the Tests are Structured

Individuals preparing to take the core subjects Praxis examination should understand that it consists of three main sections. A core reading exam requires individuals to analyze and synthesize information from several documents and answer questions based on the materials. The writing exam measures acumen in both rhetorical and explicatory writing styles with a tailored writing assignment for each. In addition, a section of multiple-choice questions must be answered. Lastly, the mathematical section tests basic math comprehension with numerical entry and multiple-choice questions.

The overall structure of the test includes: single-response multiple-choice, multiple-response multiple-choice, numerical entry, and two essay questions. Individuals have the option to take all the section tests at one time or register to take them separately, since each is a relatively long test in its own right. Reading and mathematics sections, with 65 questions respectively, each require 85 minutes of testing time. The writing exam is broken into two sections. When combined, these require 100 minutes to complete and include two essays.

Subject Assessment Tests

While teachers in many states will be required to take the core proficiency Praxis, some organizations also require instructors to take additional, more finely focused subject tests in order to earn specific licenses. There are over 90 subject tests available, which include primary and secondary education subjects as well as more specialized material. For example, individuals who want to work with deaf or blind children may take the Assessment of Signed Communication exam or the Braille Proficiency test, which will help to certify them as a special needs instructor.

Because the range of tests available is quite extensive, ETS recommends that any individual considering applying should consult their state standards or the requirements of their licensing organization. Specific tests may be required, but reviewing the desired qualifications listed may help to narrow the choices to a manageable number.

By the time an individual is prepared to begin their teaching career, they will have undergone several tests similar to this exam in the course of their own educational journey. ETS provides flexible test scheduling for both the core comprehension tests and the subject assessments. The Praxis test serves as a measurable standard to which the diverse state and local school boards can adhere, and ensures that individuals applying for teaching positions are proficient in the desired subjects.