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What Is the Praxis™ Test?

College students who want to become teachers have to take the Praxis test for certification.
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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
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A Praxis™ test is a type of exam used in the certification of new teachers in the U.S. They are generally divided into three categories, and may be supplemented with or replaced by other types of certification exams. For instance, certain states may replace the Praxis II® with their own proprietary tests. The Praxis I® is typically administered before a prospective teacher can begin training at an institute of higher learning, while the Praxis II® — or a similar replacement — usually covers knowledge more specific to what he plans to teach. Praxis III® is a practical examination that normally involves the observation of a teacher during his first year in the classroom.

There are three main types of Praxis™ test. These are the Praxis I&reg:, Praxis II® and Praxis III®. Depending on the state in which a teacher becomes certified and the state where he plans to teach, he may be required to take some, or all, of these exams. While 21 states require a prospective teacher to pass a series of Praxis II® tests, the others have their own exams that replace the Praxis™ test at that that juncture.

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Praxis I® is generally administered before a student begins studying to become a teacher. This test, which may be known as a pre-professional skills test (PPST), usually consists of reading, writing, and math sections. Successfully passing all three sections of the Praxis I® is generally one of the prerequisites to enter a course of study that will lead to a career as a teacher.

In addition to the reading, writing, and math sections of the Praxis I®, many teachers are required to take more specialized tests prior to certification. To this end, the Praxis II® series typically consists of a number of specialized tests for different fields of study. Depending on the subject someone plans to teach, he may be required to take a number of tests in the Praxis II® series. It is also possible he may be required to take an entirely different test, or series of tests, if he plans to teach in a state where the Praxis II® is not used.

The Praxis III® is a practical examination that generally takes place during a teacher's first year working in the classroom. As part of this test, an assessor visits the classroom and observes as the teacher goes through a lesson. This examination also includes a number of interviews with the new teacher, including one before and one after the observed lesson.

The creator of the Praxis™ test is the Educational Testing Service (ETS®), a non-profit organization based near Princeton, New Jersey. Though based in the U.S., ETS® provides testing services throughout the world for primary, secondary, and higher education. The Praxis™ test was first administered in the mid-1990s, when it gradually replaced the National Teacher Examination (NTE) across the U.S. In addition to the Praxis™, the ETS® provides exams, such as the U.S. scholastic aptitude test (SAT®) and the Test de Français International (TFI®) in Canada.

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