ParaPro Test Breakdown

Education in today’s times is focused on quality and improvement of the final result. That is why state administrations stress on setting high standards by regular standardized tests and assessments of basic skills. ParaPro is also a test that has been designed to test and bring up the level of teachers’ aides. ParaPro test is designed to meet the regulation of the states to abide by the No Child Left Behind Act. Hence, prospective and practicing paraprofessionals are required to take this test in order to prove their competence according to a state’s required level.

For paraprofessionals the test might seem to be a hurdle in their path of career. However, ParaPro only proves to be a step that takes you closer to your goals and provides immense satisfaction in your profession. That is why, it is essential to take this step with sincerity and compliance. This can be done only with proper understanding of the test and its purpose as well as preparing for it in the right manner.
Purpose of Conducting ParaPro
As discussed earlier, ParaPro is conducted to test a teacher’s assistants. This is done so that the children taught in a classroom are provided with the most trained and competent guides. Young minds are molded easily, and hence it is essential that they are imparted education by the most trained and competent professionals. ParaPro tests this competence amongst paraprofessionals who intend to take up a career in teaching. The test is developed to determine the skills of paraprofessionals related to their profession. It tests their knowledge along with the ability to apply their knowledge in assisting students to learn basic skills.
Understanding the ParaPro Test
Understanding the ParaPro makes it easier for prospective candidates to determine the requirements of the test. It helps them to explore the test before they actually appear for it. Hence, this experience can be translated into practical preparation, which is the key to success in the test.
ParaPro tests are administered in two formats, the internet based format and the paper and pencil format.
Highlights of the ParaPro Test

  • ParaPro test is a test of the three basic skills, which are reading skills, writing skills and mathematical skills.
  • The test is a 2 ½ hour long test that contains a total of 90 questions.
  • All the questions of the ParaPro test are multiple choice questions.
  • The test is divided into six content categories.
  • Each of the three skills, i.e. reading, writing and math are tested for the knowledge in that particular skill as well as the ability to apply the knowledge of that skill for classroom instruction.
  • Approximately 18 questions or 2/3rd of questions of each content area are based on knowledge of the skills. About 12 questions or 1/3rd of questions in each of the three content areas are based on application of the skills and knowledge.

Description of the Six Categories of ParaPro Test
The ParaPro test for reading skills is a comprehensive analysis of the abilities to understand the given text and the ability to help students in reading related tasks. In this test, the candidate is presented with some passages followed by multiple choice questions. The two categories that are based on this content area are as follows.

  • Reading Skills and Knowledge – In this category, the skills of comprehending, interpreting and analyzing the given information are tested. The test questions contain reading passages and also might contain graphs, charts or tables. The candidate is asked questions on interpreting the details of the graphs, charts etc. and about the passage. Some questions might pertain to the main idea or supporting ideas presented in the passage, while some questions might be based on the meanings of words and phrases used in the passage. The candidate can also face direct questions from the details of the passage.
  • Application of Reading Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction – This category of ParaPro tests the ability to apply the knowledge of reading to classroom situations. The questions are based on either foundation of reading or on tools of reading.

Foundation of reading – These questions concern the application of knowledge in classroom learning of basic reading skills, like recognizing sounds of words, recognizing syllables, prefixes, root words, synonyms, antonyms, decoding words or phrases in the context of the passage etc.
Tools of reading – These questions judge how the candidate would apply reading skills in enhancing the reading abilities of the students in a classroom set up. The questions judge the capabilities of the candidate to assist students in tasks like reading a dictionary, understanding given directions, developing prereading strategies like skimming, understanding the passage with the help of brainstorming for questions and ability to observe the student’s capacity to understand the given passages.
The writing abilities of candidates are effectively evaluated with the two categories of this content area.

  • Writing Skills and Knowledge – This category basically tests how well a candidate can identify errors in the given passage as per the standards of written English. Questions pertain to the correct usage of words and punctuation, parts of sentences, parts of speech and errors in spellings.
  • Application of Writing Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction - This part of ParaPro test tests the guiding abilities of the candidate.  It tests how well the candidate can teach the skills used in writing well composed samples, involving planning, composing and reviewing techniques. Questions pertain to the following tasks:

Writing process The writing process includes activities like generating ideas and organizing them as guidelines, composing the ideas into a well written draft, reviewing the draft and editing it for eliminating errors. ParaPro tests the skills related with helping students with this form of instruction.
Writing application – Writing application involves writing for different purposes and writing in different forms and modes according to the requirement. ParaPro questions in this part test the ability of candidates in assisting students to successfully write for different purposes and audience and in different forms as well.
This test is a test of computation skills and application of these skills to different problems. The candidates are not allowed the use of calculators in this test and should hence solve the answers mentally. The questions are such that the candidates are not required to learn advanced level mathematical vocabulary. On the other hand, this test deals with basic mathematical concepts. The two categories in which the questions of this content area are divided are as follows.

  • Mathematics Skills and Knowledge - The questions of this category are based on knowledge and skills in mathematics. Candidates are asked questions from number sense and basic algebra, geometry and measurement and data analysis.
  • Application of Mathematics Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction – The questions are such that they test the ability of the candidate to assist classroom teaching. It tests the application of the knowledge of math in the above mentioned areas to students in classroom set up.

Scoring ParaPro Test
The qualifying score in ParaPro is determined by the state where the test is administered. Hence, the passing score may vary from state to state. Generally the passing score for each state is somewhere between 450 and 460.
The raw score in each content category, or the marks obtained from correct responses are mentioned in the score report. The score report mentions your score in each content category, which makes it possible to identify the areas where you need to improve.
It should be remembered that all questions in the ParaPro are of equal marks. Hence, you must not spend undue time over a single question as it will not fetch you extra marks. Make judicious use of the testing time to complete the test in order to attempt the maximum questions possible.
There is no penalty for incorrect responses in the test. Candidates can take the advantage of this feature of ParaPro scoring and attempt all questions, whether they answer them with their knowledge of the subject or by guesswork, since it increases their chances of scoring more in the test.
Setting Priorities
After you have understood the test well, it is time to put your learning to practice. When you are determined to do well in the ParaPro, all other things take a backseat and only those things that lead you closer to a desired goal gain priority. The best use of understanding the test pattern is seen during preparation. It is up to you to extract the most from preparation by prioritizing your work according to the needs of the test. Keep the ParaPro structure as a guideline for preparation and proceed with preparation in full swing. 

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