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What Are Praxis I® Tests?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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The Praxis I® tests are the first of a series of required American teacher certification exams. The three parts of Praxis I® measure the existing academic skills of college students who wish to complete degrees in education, and they are usually taken within the first two years of study. A passing score on the Praxis I® is mandatory for teacher licensure in all states, though different states have slightly different testing procedures and score requirements. These exams are also known as the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests, or PPST®.

Prior to completing teacher training courses, prospective teacher candidates need to demonstrate competencies in mathematics, reading, and writing skills, as measured by the Praxis I® tests. The exam material is geared toward test-takers with a high-school level education. The Praxis I® tests are offered in English only. Second-language English-speakers can apply for additional test time by submitting an accommodation form to the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Preparation materials for the Praxis I® tests are available at no charge from the ETS website, and these are organized by each of the three subject areas. The reading section measures three types of reading comprehension: literal, inferential, and critical. The mathematics section measures basic skills in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation. The writing skills section measures grammar and syntax knowledge as well as the ability to formulate an essay.

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The ETS website is the portal for test-takers to register and schedule their Praxis I® test dates. For candidates who may have additional questions that are not answered on the site, ETS offers live Web seminars. The seminars also take participants through the process of creating effective study plans and even offer ideas for reducing exam anxiety. Test-takers have the additional option of purchasing full-length Praxis study guides and practice tests from ETS if they prefer.

Once teacher candidates are ready to take the Praxis I® tests, they can choose to take them in either paper-based or computer-based format. Either way, the exam sections can be administered separately over a few days or all at once. The computer-based Praxis I® has a few more questions per section than the paper-based one, and test-takers are allowed slightly more time to complete them.

Exam scores for the Praxis I® tests are based on the number of correct answers to multiple-choice questions. There is no point subtraction penalty for guessing or incorrect answers. A raw score is calculated by adding up the total number of correct answers, and this score is then converted to a scaled score based on the average difficulty level of each section.

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