Practical advice for PRAXIS test takers
Pennsylvania has adopted the PRAXIS series of professional educator assessments as one of the means to attract and maintain a quality teaching force in the state. Materials published by PRAXIS, specifically the "Registration Bulletin", the Pennsylvania Supplement to the PRAXIS Registration Bulletin, and the "Test at a Glance" series are excellent and may be obtained at your school, through calling or writing to Educational Testing Service (ETS) or the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.
While the materials provided by ETS are excellent, the Bureau has developed some advice and tips for those taking the tests.
1. Prepare for the tests:
a. ETS has found that most of the test takers who failed the tests did not prepare for them in any way. Therefore, you should start preparing several months before you plan to take the tests.
b. The primary source for information on the tests should be the Test-at-a-Glance publications. The booklets are free and may be obtained at your college or university or by contacting the Praxis program at 609-771-7395 or via the Internet at http://www.ets.org/praxis/. If there is a test guide for the test you are taking, consider buying it. Also, consider purchasing the Praxis II: Subject Assessments Study Guide. This booklet contains general information about testing and test taking tips. Check the publications order form in the inside back cover of the Praxis Registration Bulletin or http://www.ets.org/praxis/.
2. Registering to take the tests
a. Select the test date when you wish to test and register by the regular registration deadline. This will avoid payment of the late registration or standby fees. Registering early will also give you the best chance to get the test center you want. As the registration process progresses, some centers fill up, resulting in people being assigned to a center that was not their first choice and may involve travel on the day of (or the day before) the examination date. Early registration is the best way to avoid this inconvenience and expense.
b. Be sure you register for the tests that Pennsylvania uses for the licensure area you want. The tests that Pennsylvania uses are in the Praxis Registration Bulletin in List A under Pennsylvania. This information is also in the Pennsylvania Supplement to the PRAXIS Registration Bulletin and is on the Praxis and Pennsylvania Department of Education web sites.
You can register by filling out the registration form that is in the Bulletin or you can register by phone or via the Internet. These options are explained in the PRAXIS Registration Bulletin.
d. The PRAXIS Registration Bulletin and the Pennsylvania Supplement to the PRAXIS Registration Bulletin are available at all of the teacher preparation institutions in Pennsylvania, as well as through the testing service.
e. Be sure that all of the information you put on your registration form is accurate and clear, particularly your social security number, which is used by the computer to locate your scores.
f. Because the tests are, at the Commonwealth's request, scheduled six times a year, some students choose to register for the next scheduled tests before the results are available from their first session. If time is critical, this is a recommended procedure. If a passing score on the first test is obtained before the second test is taken, ETS will refund the test fee as long as they receive your request to cancel by the late registration deadline. There is no refund of registration or service fees.
g. ETS does have a once a year fee waiver for students based on financial need.
3. On the Day of the Test:
a. Arrive at the test center by the time indicated on your Admission Ticket or in the Bulletin.
b. Bring pencils with erasers for multiple-choice tests and a pen or pencils for constructed response tests.
c. Make sure you take the test you registered for. It is your responsibility to register for and take the correct tests. If you take the wrong test, those results cannot be used by Pennsylvania and you have the added expense and inconvenience of going back to take the right test.
d. If something happened at the test center that disrupted your testing and may have caused you to not do your best, be sure and contact ETS immediately following the test date. Do not wait until you get your scores.
4. Getting Your Scores:
a. Scores from the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests are available about 4 -5 weeks after the test date.
b. Scores from the Praxis II tests take about 6 - 8 weeks.
c. You and the Pennsylvania Department of Education will receive your scores at about the same time.
d. You can obtain scores by using the scores by phone service that is explained in the Praxis Bulletin, but that will not expedite the processing of your license application.
e. Calling the Department, your school, or Educational Testing Service before the above timelines will probably do nothing but increase aggravation all around, since scores are not available.
f. Scores for tests taken at a Pennsylvania test center are automatically reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
g. If you take a PRAXIS test at a center outside of Pennsylvania, you must request that the results be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on your registration form. This can be done by entering code 8033 in block 11 on the Registration Form.
h. If you did not pass, look at the detailed information on the back of your score report which gives a breakdown of how you performed on the content categories of the test. In preparing to take the test again, concentrate on the parts of the test where you did not do well.
5. Score verification
a. If you believe your scores are incorrect, you may request the handscoring service for multiple-choice tests or the score verification service for constructed response tests. These services are explained in the PRAXIS Registration Bulletin. However, mistakes in the scoring are extremely rare.
Additional Comments: The Commonwealth receives many comments on the cost of the PRAXIS series of tests. Tests for other professions are often equally, or more, expensive and the Commonwealth closely monitors the ETS test cost structure. Each test costs about $250,000 to develop and the administrative costs of administering the tests (room rentals, proctor pay, scoring, mailing, etc.) are significant.
Students should identify all the tests needed for their area of certification and compute the total fees required. This will provide a planning budget. If time is not a prime issue, tests can be scheduled so that results are obtained from the first taking before it becomes necessary to register for a subsequent test.