Research Sections to be Added to Some Praxis™ Computer-delivered Tests

Beginning in July 2012, the Praxis™ program will begin adding research sections to certain computer-delivered tests.

The first tests in which research sections will appear are:

Beginning in July:
Middle School English Language Arts (5049)
Middle School Content Knowledge (5146)

Beginning in September:
Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (5014)
Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (5011)

Beginning in October:
Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5061)
Reading Across the Curriculum: Elementary (5201)

Question Types

These sections will allow us to try out new kinds of questions, including:

  • questions assessing Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT)*
  • questions that take advantage of computer delivery to assess knowledge and skills that go beyond what can be assessed using standard single-selection multiple-choice questions.

For example, instead of selecting an answer to a mathematics question, the candidate might be asked to enter a numeric answer using the computer keyboard or by transferring the display from an on-screen calculator. Or, instead of selecting an answer choice to a question about a reading passage, the candidate might be asked to locate the portion of the passage that answers the question.

Participation and Incentives

The research sections will be voluntary and will be administered after candidates have completed their tests. As an incentive, candidates will be eligible for an award of $150, which will be given to those 200 individuals who score highest on the research section relative to their performance on the preceding test. In this way, test takers at all ability levels will be eligible for an award. Candidates who do not wish to participate may exit the section, and their decision to participate or not will have no effect on their scores. Responses will be used for internal research, but no scores will be reported to candidates or institutions, and the anonymity of the candidates will be preserved.

*Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) items are tied to teaching practice and are designed to measure the specialized types of content knowledge that teachers need, including "tasks of teaching" and common student misconceptions. These "practice-based" assessments are specific to a subject area and grade range. Since CKT assessments are practice-based, they are defined from the teaching perspective — the items focus on content knowledge unique to teaching practice rather than on straight content knowledge. Practice-based assessments take into consideration the problems teachers may encounter in teaching the content, not just on providing a correct or defensible answer to a content problem.

Posted: June 29, 2012