What You Should Know About Praxis Tests

The Praxis test is a rigorous series of tests required to obtain teacher licensure in the United States. Majority of the states (currently 44) in continental U.S. and its jurisdictions require beginning teachers to pass these tests. The Praxis test is also a way for many education agencies to make licensing decisions and it's also used by colleges and universities as part of their qualification requirements for educational programs for teachers.

The Praxis test has three categories, each of which corresponds to the development of the pedagogic knowledge and skills of teachers. These are Praxis I, Praxis II and Praxis III.

Praxis I is the series of tests that are used for the assessment of a teacher's academic skills. It is required for entry to a training program for teachers. It measures the teacher's knowledge and teaching ability in the three basic skills: reading, writing and mathematics. To take the Praxis I test, a teacher may choose either a paper-based or a computer-based format. Generally, this Praxis series test is taken during the initial stages of a teacher's college career.

Praxis II test is used for licensure for entry to the teaching profession and measures a teacher's content knowledge and pedagogic skills through subject assessments. This series of tests are used to assess knowledge in general and specific subjects for K-12 teachers.

The Praxis II test has three test sub categories: Subject Assessment, PLT or Principles of Learning and Teaching and Teaching Foundations. The Praxis II is taken as part of the certification and licensing process that is required by many states and professional organizations.

Praxis III test is an assessment of a teacher's classroom performance, that is, his or her knowledge and skills as measured within a classroom setting. The test evaluates a teacher's teaching abilities through practice. This involves direct observation, interviews and review of a teacher's documentation including lesson plans. This series of tests are conducted and completed in a classroom setting and consists of numerous assessment criteria involving four interconnected domains.

While the Praxis III test is used for licensing decisions by many states and professional agencies, it may not be a requirement for employment decisions, especially on teachers who are already licensed.

Where to take the Praxis test
Find out first what Praxis test you should take and then get in touch with your state's Department of Education for the test schedules. Some Praxis tests may be taken using a computer while others require you to find a local testing center authorized to administer these tests. Some tests, such as the Praxis III series, require a classroom setting. Check out the Educational Testing Service website (http://www.ets.org) to find out more.

To take the Praxis Series test, you can register online at the ETS website or fill out a hard copy of a registration form and send it through mail. The registration forms cannot be downloaded, although you'll find a copy in a Praxis test bulletin, which you can get from Testing Services. Be sure to register before the deadline. You'll need to send out your form so ETS has enough time to send you an admission ticket. You'll need this ticket to know where you'll need to report for testing, what requirements you need to bring, etc.

In case you miss the deadline, you can also try to report to your testing location on the day of the Praxis test and try to get seating as a stand by. You can call ETS to find out which test center will be offering the particular Praxis test you have to take.

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