About Praxis II Test
The procedure adopted by most of the US states for ensuring that the teachers appointed meet a requisite standard involves the grant of a teaching credential. Earning a teaching license and being a certified teacher makes you licensed to teach in public schools in the state which has granted you the teaching license. Most US states utilize a combination of taking a series of tests and earning certain qualifying degrees, credentials, teaching experience etc. for ascertaining the eligibility of adults to pursue a career in teaching. Taking Praxis II tests is one such necessary part of the teacher licensure and certification process in the US states and territories.
Earning a Teaching Credential
Praxis II is a series of tests that is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service). Your scores in the Praxis II are used by US states for grant of teaching licensure. At the same time, there are certain organizations that will require your test scores as one of the criteria for meeting professional licensing requirements. ETS does not specify any passing standards for the Praxis II and nor does it specify the requirements that need to be met for grant of teaching licensure. The eligibility criteria for taking a particular set of tests will depend on the state or the licensing authority that is going to utilize your test scores for grant of the teaching certification. Certain states may utilize their own state-conducted licensing exams for the grant of teaching licensure and they may not need your test scores at all.
The official website of ETS is www.ets.org and it contains detailed information on the state wise requirements related to taking the tests. Make sure that you completely understand the requirements of your state for grant of teaching licensure and certification before investing time and money for taking this test.
Content Assessed by the Praxis II Tests
The test content of each of the tests evaluates subject specific knowledge in the subject for which you are taking the test. This will be the subject that you will be licensed to teach once you pass the Praxis test for that subject. The tests are an assessment of your pedagogical skills and the knowledge that is necessary for beginning teaching practice. The subject area that you will need to test for will depend upon your area of specialization or choice and on the requirements of the state where you are taking the tests for grant of teaching licensure.
Praxis II tests can be categorized into 3 main groups:
- Subject Assessments: These tests evaluate your teaching skills specific to a particular subject and your knowledge of the subject.
- Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Tests: The tests that fall in this group are the ones which assess your pedagogical knowledge. This knowledge is evaluated at 4 grade levels: Early Childhood, K–6, 5–9 and 7–12.
- Teaching Foundation Tests: These tests will asses your pedagogical skills in 5 areas: English, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and multi-subject (elementary).
The types of questions asked in the Praxis II tests will be both multiple-choice questions and constructed-response questions. You must visit www.ets.org to go through the test format of the Praxis II test that you have to take. This website contains a link to detailed information on the test format for each Praxis II test.
Conduct of the Praxis II Tests
Although, the testing requirements for Praxis II are state-dependent, there are some aspects related to the conduct of the test that are common for all states. Some such aspects have been enumerated below:
- Praxis II are paper-based tests.
- These tests are conducted on pre-scheduled dates throughout the year.
- Test centers for Praxis II are located across the world. You can check for the location of the test centers in your state by visiting the link for the list of test centers on the official website.
- The time required for taking a particular test could be 1, 2 or 4 hours depending upon the test that you are taking. You are allowed to take more than one test on a single day, provided it fits in the schedule for the test sessions.
- The tests have to be taken in English only. If you are a non-native English speaker, then you can apply for PLNE (Primary language Not English) accommodations for extended testing time.
- You can register for the Praxis II online, using a credit/debit card, from www.ets.org.
- The test fees for taking the tests range from $65 to $115 depending upon the test that you are taking. There is a nonrefundable registration fee amounting to $50 that is charged once per testing year.
Scoring of the Praxis II Tests
- Scoring Procedure:
Scoring of the Praxis II follows a stringent procedure that has been laid down by ETS to ensure fair and accurate scoring. Each multiple-choice question carries 1 raw point that can be earned if you answer the question correctly. Each constructed-response question is rated by more than 2 scorers and final raw score for the constructed-response questions is calculated based on the ratings received from the different scorers. The raw scores are converted to scaled scores to do away with the differences that may have cropped up due to the different editions of the tests that the test-takers may have taken.
- Passing Standards:
The passing standards have been specified by the individual states and the licensing authorities. ETS has not specified any scores as the minimum scores for passing any of the Praxis II tests. Therefore, you need to check the state requirements to find the minimum scores that you need to achieve for passing the tests.
- Score Report:
Your score report is available online on the score report release date. This date is about 4 weeks from the test date. Your score report is sent directly to up to 3 institutions that you designate. The fee for this is included in your test fee for taking the test. You can pay additional fees and designate additional recipients by requesting for an Additional Score Report (ASR) for each one of the recipients. Your score report will contain your basic information along with your passing status. The passing scores will be determined as per the requirements of the recipients indicated in your score report.
ETS rewards you with the ROE (Recognition of Excellence) award if your test scores lie in the range of scores that were earned by the top 15 percent of test-takers in the past. The ROE award is not applicable for all Praxis II tests. The indication of whether you have earned the ROE will be displayed in your score report.
There is no negative marking in the Praxis II. In other words, you do not lose any marks for an incorrect answer. Therefore, you can make an educated guess if you are not sure about the answer in the multiple-choice questions.
- More Information about Praxis II Scoring:
The document,‘Understanding Your Praxis Scores’, available at the official website of ETS, contains a description of the probable score ranges for each test along with detailed information about Praxis II scoring.
Preparing for the Praxis II TestsPraxis II tests have to be taken as the last obstacle in your career as a certified teacher. The questions asked in the tests evaluate various abilities of the test-taker related to teaching skills and subject knowledge. This calls for an intensive test preparation schedule, without which you will be unable to pass the tests. Therefore, there is a need to make the best use of the available materials for preparing for the tests. A host of such prep materials can be found on the official website. Utilize the prep materials to their optimum level and you are bound to clear the tests with flying colors!