Frequently Asked Questions About the ParaPro Assessment

Development

What standards were used to develop the ParaPro Assessment?

To date, there is no single set of national standards for paraprofessionals. The content of the ParaPro Assessment reflects the reading, writing and math knowledge that paraprofessionals need to assist in classroom instruction — as defined by a national group of paraprofessionals and teachers who work with them. The content also reflects the reading, writing and math content described in published standards for paraprofessionals.

Why aren't there different levels of the ParaPro Assessment for different levels of paraprofessionals – elementary, middle, secondary?

The No Child Left Behind Act doesn't make distinctions between school grade levels. It holds all instructional paraprofessionals in Title I-funded schools to the same high standard of content readiness. The ParaPro Assessment reflects the core reading, writing and math knowledge that all instructional paraprofessionals are expected to demonstrate.

The two alternatives to the test are an Associate of Arts degree or two years of college. Does this mean that the test is the equivalent of two years of college study?

Certainly students learn and experience much more in college than is reflected on any one exam. No single test is the equivalent of two years of college study. But the ParaPro Assessment is consistent with the levels of reading, writing and math knowledge that most students receive in their second year of postsecondary education.

What is the reading level of the test?

The wording of test questions is simple and direct to promote clarity for a wide range of test takers. The language reflects the reading level that most paraprofessionals face when working with K–12 students.

What information can you provide about validity?

Validity for the ParaPro Assessment is based on connecting test content in reading, writing and math to job-knowledge requirements. That connection was made by a nationally representative committee of 34 paraprofessionals and teachers, who defined what content knowledge is most important for instructional paraprofessionals to know. As an added validity measure, ETS is conducting a web survey of paraprofessionals and teachers from across the country to supplement the committee's findings.

Known as content-based validity, this validation method is recommended in the AERA/APA/NCME Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

Can a state or college/university that requires Praxis I® for prospective teachers substitute a passing score on ParaPro?

No. The two tests measure different aspects of reading, writing and math content knowledge. The ParaPro Assessment specifically addresses the readiness of paraprofessionals to assist in content instruction. Praxis I® specifically addresses the content-readiness of prospective teachers of record. As such, the content on Praxis I is far more extensive.

General Information and Administration

What is the ParaPro Assessment?

The ParaPro Assessment is for prospective and practicing paraprofessionals. It measures skills and knowledge in reading, math and writing — and the ability to apply those skills and knowledge to assist in classroom instruction.

What is the format and length of the test?

This 2½ hour test consists of 90 multiple-choice questions in reading, writing and math. Approximately two-thirds of the questions focus on basic skills and knowledge, and the remaining one-third focus on applying those skills and knowledge in a classroom setting.

In what language is the test?

The test is in English.

How is the test given?

The test is offered on computer in participating school districts.

How much does the test cost?

The test fee is $50. The fee is nonrefundable.

Which states have selected the ParaPro Assessment to meet the No Child Left Behind requirement?

For states and school districts that use the ParaPro Assessment and for the qualifying scores for each state, see the State and School District Requirements listing.

When is the test given?

The test is given continually throughout the year in participating school districts.

Where is the test given?

This test is given only in participating school districts. Test takers should contact their district's administrative office for availability.

How do I register candidates for the test?

There is no pre-registration for the test. It is scheduled at the convenience of the participating school district and the test taker.

How can a school district become a test site?

If your school district is located in a state that has established a qualifying score, complete the application. All other school districts, see below.

How can single districts in non-participating states apply to use the ParaPro Assessment?

Use of the ParaPro Assessment is contingent upon:

  • the district administration notifying ETS (in writing) of its intention to use the test to meet No Child Left Behind legislative requirements
  • the district administration conducting a standard-setting study to establish a passing score
What are the test center guidelines for the test?
  • Testing must be done in a room, not in a hallway or other open space.
  • Testing rooms must be appropriately heated or cooled, adequately ventilated and free of distractions.
  • Rooms must have adequate lighting so there are no shadows or glares on computer screens or writing surfaces.
  • No maps, periodic tables, posters, charts or any other materials related to assessment subject matter are allowed in the room.
  • Rest rooms should be located near the testing room and should be easy to access.
  • Signs outside the testing room should indicate testing is in progress.
  • Testing rooms should be quiet and free of disruptions throughout test administration.
  • Facilities must meet federal and state accessibility laws for the disabled and provide reserved handicapped parking, wheel chair access and appropriately equipped rest rooms.
  • Computer monitor, keyboard and mouse positioning should promote ease of use. Comfortable chairs with backs are required. (No stools or benches.)
  • Writing surfaces should be large enough to accommodate paper materials.

Setting Standards and Score Reporting

What help will ETS provide so that the state can set a state passing score on the ParaPro Assessment?

ETS conducts standard-setting studies for all states that request them. Contact your state's Praxis® Client Relations Director to make a request.

Was there a norm sample for the Assessment?

In this type of assessment, there's no official norming group. How well test takers perform is based on the qualifying (passing) score established by the relevant state or district.

What information can you provide about reliability?

Reliability is a measure of how consistent scores are from one edition of an assessment to another. The closer the reliability is to 1.0, the more consistent are candidates' scores across editions. The reliability of the ParaPro Assessment, based on results of the September 2002 pilot test, is 0.92.

Can districts use the ParaPro Assessment without the state's consent?

Many state departments have been actively involved in adopting the ParaPro Assessment for statewide use. Those states are setting mandatory statewide scores. If your district is in a state that hasn't yet become involved, contact the state department (before taking steps on your own) to learn whether the state plans to conduct a standard-setting study to adopt the ParaPro Assessment statewide.

How can single districts conduct a standard-setting study for use of the ParaPro Assessment?

Single school districts can authorize ETS to facilitate a one-day panel meeting of paraprofessionals. The district arranges meeting facilities, selects the panel members and covers panelist-related expenses. ETS

  • leads the process
  • analyzes panelist judgments
  • prepares a findings report, including the recommended passing score

The cost is $4,000. For additional information about these district options, call
1-800-772-9476 or email teachandlearn@ets.org.

How are scores reported to the school district?

Individual districts can view examinee results online immediately after the test session.

Districts adopting the assessment will receive, in November of each year, an Annual Summary Report for the previous test year.

How are scores reported to the state?

In November of each year, states adopting the assessment will receive an Annual Summary Report for the previous testing year. States will also be able to view examinee scores on the secure website.

What quality controls are there on the scoring of the test? How will examinees know the score reported on the screen is an accurate score?

After finishing the test, test takers see their unofficial score displayed on the computer screen. Two weeks later, ETS mails the test taker an official score report. During that two-week period, ETS rescores all ParaPro tests as part of quality-control procedures. If there's a change in any test taker's score as a result of this quality-control check, ETS reports the new score (which may be higher or lower) to the test taker and to the original score recipient.

Test Preparation

What test preparation is available?

ETS has developed a practice test and study guide for test takers to prepare for the Assessment. The free Study Companion and other useful tips for test takers are also available.

Technical

What are the minimum hardware requirements for our district to be able to administer the computer-delivered test?

Computer-delivered testing only requires an Internet web browser and an installation of Sun's Java™ Web Start to run, and these specifications:

Minimum Specifications
Central Processing Unit (CPU) Processor — Pentium IV 1.8 GHz (or higher), Macbook or iMac 2.5 GHz or higher
Operating System Windows 7 or 8 (32 and 64 bit), Mac OSX v10.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher
Monitor 15 inch (800x600 resolution)
Hard Drive Space 40 MB
Internet Connection minimum 10 MBPS
Audio Not required
Printer Laser Jet or Inkjet
Internet Browser Internet Explorer (version 8 or higher), Safari (for Mac®)

Internet Explorer (version 8 or better) is strongly recommended. If you run into difficulties with other browsers, please try using Internet Explorer before contacting ETS for support.