Frequently Asked Questions About the Praxis™ Tests
- Do all states require these tests?
The Praxis Series™ tests are currently required for teacher licensure in approximately 40 states, jurisdictions, organizations and associations. These tests are also used by several professional licensing agencies and by several hundred colleges and universities. Since The Praxis Series tests are used to license teachers in many states, teacher candidates can test in one state and submit their scores for licensure in any other Praxis™ user state.
- Who creates The Praxis Series tests?
The tests are developed by educators for educators. Advisory committees of distinguished teachers, teacher educators, key administrators and professional organizations help determine test content and review, revise, and approve all questions and exercises. The Praxis Series is grounded in current research, including a comprehensive analysis of the most important tasks and skills required of beginning teachers and extensive surveys to confirm test validity.
- What do the Praxis tests measure?
The Praxis Series includes content-specific tests, pedagogical tests and basic skills tests. The Praxis tests measure specific content and pedagogical skills and knowledge for beginning teaching practice.
The tests do not measure skills related to an individual's disposition toward teaching or potential for success.
The Praxis Series assessments are designed to be comprehensive and inclusive, but are limited to what can be covered in a finite number of questions and question types.
- What types of questions are on these tests?
Praxis I®: Pre-Professional Skills Tests and Praxis II®: Subject Assessments feature multiple-choice and essay questions that measure both breadth and depth of knowledge.
- What is the test content based on?
For each test, a job analysis survey is conducted to determine what a representative group of teachers and teacher educators believe that a newly licensed or certified teacher of a particular subject or grade level should know to perform his or her job competently. Based on the results of the job analysis as well as any national disciplinary standards that may apply, an Advisory Committee of teachers and teacher educators defines the content areas that should be covered on the test. Then they create specifications to guide the development effort.
Test development specialists and practicing teachers use this information to develop test questions. Once developed, the questions undergo a series of reviews conducted by the Advisory Committee, content experts and ETS staff to confirm that they cover the content defined in the test specifications. At every step in the test development process, ETS follows well-established industry procedures and standards that are designed to ensure that the test measures what it is intended to measure. This iterative process creates clear links between the skills and knowledge being measured and the content of the test.
- What steps does ETS take to design tests that are valid and fair?
ETS uses a validation process that is consistent with the technical guidelines in the Standards for Educational and Psychology Testing (AERA, 1999). Central to the process is the connection between the content of a test and the knowledge and skills judged important for entry-level practice.
Committees of educators work with ETS's subject experts to conduct careful and systematic reviews of the fairness of test questions. Empirical analysis of potential bias in test items (Differential Item Functioning analysis) is conducted on an on-going basis.
Each state sets its own passing score on the relevant Praxis test. ETS facilitates the standard-setting process on behalf of states following established and well-documented methods.
- How are the tests updated to keep content current?
Praxis tests are reviewed on a regular basis. During the first phase of review, ETS conducts an analysis of relevant state and association standards and of the current test content. State licensure titles and the results of relevant job analyses are also considered. Revised test questions are then produced following the standard test development methodology. National advisory committees may also be convened to review existing test specifications and to evaluate test forms for alignment with the specifications.
- How does a test taker know which test to take?
The State Requirements page lists Praxis test requirements by certification area in Praxis user states and agencies. Test takers are also encouraged to contact the state or agency in which they are seeking licensure for additional certification requirements.