Following are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the PPAT® assessment.
Additional information can be obtained by referencing the following:
- PPAT® Candidate and Educator Handbook
- PPAT® Task 1 Handbook
- PPAT® Reflective Practice Handbook
- Submission System User Guide
- What if I need technical support or have questions about how the online submission system works?
Our goal in designing the PPAT online submission system was to make it as intuitive as possible for you to author and submit your tasks. Technical help and information are available via:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 1-609-359-5634 or 1-855-628-5088
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. ET (except for U.S. holidays)
About the Assessment
- What is the PPAT assessment and who needs to take it?
The PPAT assessment consists of four tasks. Each of the four tasks takes place during your clinical experience and focuses on differentiation of instruction and the decision-making process. During the clinical experience, your task submissions provide a variety of artifacts, including student work and observation feedback. Task 1 occurs early in the clinical experience and Tasks 2–4 occur approximately two-thirds of the way through your clinical experience.
A cumulative score for Tasks 2–4 is one of the factors determining your acceptance into the profession.
- How long does the PPAT assessment take to complete?
The length of time necessary to complete and submit a task will depend on the task you are working on. The tasks are available in the online submission system according to a preset schedule.
- The first task is completed during the first few weeks of student teaching.
- The second and third tasks are interchangeable and are completed during the middle part of the clinical experience.
- The fourth task follows the submission of the second and third tasks and is submitted three-fourths of the way through student teaching.
Remember, because all information about the PPAT assessment is available free of charge online, you can begin your preparation by reviewing the standards, indicators and assessment documents/instructions at any time.
Note: All tasks must be submitted prior to the completion of your clinical experience. See Dates and Deadlines.
- How will I find time to complete the PPAT assessment and teach?
Time management can be a challenge, so the assessment was specifically designed with this in mind. Each task is embedded into the actual student teaching experience. Any authentic classroom-based activities that reflect effective teaching and support your everyday work, provided that they address the task requirements and guiding prompts, are eligible for submission.
- I teach in a nontraditional classroom. Do I need to do anything differently for my four tasks?
No. The requirements for each PPAT task enable teachers in a wide variety of situations and settings to respond successfully. The tasks are specific to the classroom situation. All of the requirements can be addressed by a PPAT test taker regardless of his/her setting
- How do I register for this assessment?
See Register for registration information.
- I am not currently enrolled in an educator preparation program (EPP), but I am taking the PPAT assessment as a first-year teacher. What do I select as my EPP during the registration process?
When prompted to select the EPP, select the state where you are seeking certification and select the "Prepared Out of State" listing from the list. Contact us if you are not able to find that listing.
- What if I miss the registration deadline?
If you miss the registration deadline, you must register for the next submission window. You may want to confer with your educator preparation program for appropriate next steps.
- How do I cancel my registration and receive a refund?
To learn about canceling your registration and receiving a refund, see Reschedule/Cancel Your Registration.
- How do I change my submission window?
Changes to a submission window are permitted provided they are made by the reschedule deadline date. See Reschedule/Cancel Your Registration.
- I spelled my name incorrectly, or my name has changed. How do I correct this?
Only misspellings of your name can be corrected. Name changes will not be made. Contact a Customer Service representative for assistance.
- How is my information used by the testing program?
Your biographical information is used to gather information for research purposes and to further ensure the validity and fairness of the test questions. See our Privacy and Security policy at the bottom of each page.
- How do I know if I am addressing the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards when I am composing my tasks?
All of the guiding prompts that you will answer within the tasks are based on the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards. Continually check your written commentary against the four-point rubrics, which are also linked to the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards.
- How should I start building my PPAT tasks?
Begin by reading through the task directions to get a sense of how you will build your PPAT tasks, then begin with Task 1. In this task, you will become familiar with the submission system and with the class of students to which you are assigned. Your cooperating teacher and supervising faculty member are a good source of guidance as you get organized. For more information, see the PPAT® Candidate and Educator Handbook and the PPAT® Task 1 Handbook.
- How should I organize my work schedule?
After reviewing the task directions, develop a timeline by working backward from each task’s submission deadline to set a manageable schedule for yourself. For more information, see the PPAT® Candidate and Educator Handbook.
- How should I make use of the rubric? I know it is part of the scoring system, but can it help me as I work on my portfolio?
Absolutely! Keep the rubric for each task nearby as you work. When you finish a draft of a task, read how the rubric describes the highest level, and ask yourself whether you have provided adequate evidence to address each requirement. Ask a trusted colleague to serve as your scorer and to give additional feedback.
- Can I use my own permission form — rather than the student and adult release forms provided — to gain student and parent consent to include materials in my tasks and images in my video?
No. All participants must get parental permission for use of student materials and/or student appearances in your student teaching video using the forms that are approved for the PPAT assessment and that are included with it. These forms must be used for the inclusion of any student or adult work in your tasks and for anyone who appears in your video or in photographs. See Permission Forms.
- Are permission forms required for Task 1?
- In most cases, yes, since you may be including personal types of information in the student interest inventory that is required in Step 2.
- Do I need to submit the student and adult release forms I collect?
No. Keep the forms with your records. Do not submit them to ETS.
- Is there a maximum character limit to the tasks?
Yes. Each task has a specified character limit. A character is counted by every alphanumeric character you type (spaces and punctuation marks are not included). As you are typing your written commentary online, you will be able to access an automatic counter that will be visible on your screen to show you how many characters you have used out of the allowable number of characters. You will not be able to save or submit any task that exceeds the maximum character limit. Therefore, you may need to edit your response before saving or submitting a task.
- Why does the PPAT online character counter display a count different from my word processing program?
To ensure fairness for all test takers, the PPAT online submission system automatically standardizes all type that is input into the system. Font, margins and line height will all be automatic. The online character counter is a helpful tool that appears on-screen as you type your tasks within the private, secure website. It is the only official PPAT character counter for your tasks. The settings of other word processing programs may vary, resulting in different character counts, but the PPAT online submission system is standardized to count every alphanumeric character (spaces and punctuation marks are not included).
Keep in mind that the character count guideline per task is intended to be an outside limit — not a target. The substance of your evidence should be able to be communicated within the maximum character count limit, and you should not assume that a longer task submission equals a better task.
If you wish to print your tasks, you can copy and paste your work from the PPAT online submission system into a word processing document. This approach enables you to take full advantage of the online tools built specifically to help you prepare your tasks online over time.
- Are there penalties for accidentally answering a guiding prompt in the wrong place or including a student’s name or the name of my school?
No. Raters are trained to collect evidence wherever they find it, as long as it has been included with that particular task.
You should not use any identifying names or titles. These include, but are not limited to, names of
In order for your responses to be scored fairly and to protect the identity of students and adults, it is extremely important that you do not identify yourself, your students, your school or the city/town in which your school is located.
To avoid these issues, you should correctly answer the guiding prompts by:
- referring to students as "Student 1," "Student 2" and so on
- referring to places as "my school" or "my district"
- removing identifiers from artifacts by crossing them out with a marker or by covering them with correction tape or fluid
Points will not be deducted if an identifying name accidentally appears.
- How does the Contextual Information step, required in Tasks 2–4, differ from the Contextual Factors Chart, required in Task 1?
The Contextual Information step, required for Tasks 2, 3 and 4, requests general information that will provide the rater with an understanding of your general teaching context. This information, if created in Task 2, may be used for Tasks 3 and 4 by a simple copy and paste, but only if the class in which you are teaching is the same class. If you change assignments mid semester, you must create a new school/class profile form for your new teaching context.
The Contextual Factors Chart, required as part of Task 1, asks the test taker to complete and attach the chart provided and then comment on the impact of certain factors on instruction and student learning by responding to specific guiding prompts.
- The Lesson Plan Format template provided on the Ancillary Materials page is four pages, but the task requirements only permit up to two pages. How can I condense the document down to two pages?
- The PPAT Lesson Plan Format that is provided on this site covers all possible areas that might be needed for daily planning. You may choose which two pages or certain sections (that amount to two pages) to include. You also have the option of using your own lesson plan format.
- Tasks 2–4 ask for contextual information. If my contextual information is the same for each of these tasks, can I just copy and paste my information across all three?
Yes, you can copy the data to all three tasks.
- Am I expected to complete every box on the Contextual Factors Chart for Task 1?
The Contextual Factors Chart is designed to help you understand all of the different factors or elements that could affect how you plan and teach. Every characteristic listed within a box titled "Type of Factor" does not have to be addressed. The chart is a guide to help you respond to the guiding prompts in Step 1 by helping you determine how each factor that you selected could influence your planning.
- What is meant by a document that demonstrates communication with students’ families, which is a required artifact for Task 1?
To cultivate positive relationships with all your students' families, you will need to create a communication method in which you take into account the backgrounds and other unique factors that exist. Based on your knowledge of your students, you will create one communication method that will help you learn about and connect to your students' families/caregivers while cultivating positive relationships. This artifact, not necessarily limited to letters/emails, can be in the form of an activity that provides a way for you to think about and initiate a means of communication that will continue throughout the school year and will foster interactive communication among you, the students and the students' families.
- What is the "Getting to Know Your Students" activity that is required for Task 1?
The "Getting to Know Your Students" activity is intended to provide an opportunity for you to get to know and value your students as unique individuals and is generally used within your first several days with them. It could have questions about reading preferences, subject preferences, family/home life and personal interests. This compilation of information is intended to help assist you with your instructional decisions in the classroom.
- For Tasks 2, 3 and 4, can the same students be used as focus students or do different students need to be used?
This is up to you as the test taker. When choosing the students that you want to use in your tasks, first consider the guiding prompts for the tasks and what they are asking you to produce as evidence; then select the students who can best represent that focus if spoken to.
- If I upload my artifacts to my Library of Artifacts, will those artifacts be included when I submit my tasks?
Uploading artifacts to your Library of Artifacts is only the first step in including artifacts with your submission. As you enter your written commentary, you must link text within your written commentary to the pertinent artifacts for the artifacts to be included with your submission. Refer to the Submission System User Guide or instructions on linking artifacts.
- Am I required to link to my artifacts each time I refer to them in my response?
- No. Best practice is to link the artifact to your written commentary only once within the textbox where the artifact is required.
- Can I submit more than the required number of artifacts for a task?
No. Each task has a specific number of artifacts that you are required to submit. Please follow the instructions below when submitting artifacts:
- Do not exceed the required number of artifacts.
- Do not link those required artifacts multiple times within your response.
- Do not exceed the maximum page limit for each artifact.
- Do not link additional artifacts that are not required by the task.
The rater scoring your response is trained to look at and value only that which is required by this assessment. Refer to each of the task's directions for a list of the required artifacts and the maximum number of pages allowed for each.
- Can I submit a video recording as part of my evidence?
Yes, but ONLY in Task 4. Video and audio evidence will not be accepted for Tasks 1–3.
- I am not able to upload my video. Why?
It may not be the correct format. Accepted formats include: avi, divx, flv, mp4, mpeg, mov or wmv format. If your file format does not match one of these formats, you must convert your video file to match one of these formats.
It may be too large; the video file cannot exceed 500 MB. If the file size exceeds the limit, you must reduce/compress the video file size.
You may need to search online for video editing software to help with editing your video to meet these system requirements. Refer to the Submission System User Guide for instructions on uploading the video.
- Does the video need to include every student in the class or can it include only a small group?
There is no stipulation of the number of students who need to be involved in the video. Keep in mind the guiding prompts for Task 4 and what you are asked to demonstrate and talk about in the video. If you can fulfill the requirements of what is being asked with a small group of students, then that is perfectly fine. The choice is yours.
- Does the video have to be exactly 15 minutes long?
The full video can be no longer than 15 minutes. That means you could submit a video with fewer minutes if you choose.
- If I choose to do three video segments, do they each need to be five minutes long?
The video must include three individual segments. Each segment cannot be less than five minutes in duration. The full video can be no longer than 15 minutes.
The three segments must be combined into one video file for uploading. Depending on the video-recording equipment you are using, you may need to search online for editing software to help combine the segments into one file.
- I would like to add an introduction to my video and include some fade in/fade out features. Is this type of formatting acceptable?
No. This is considered editing the video and is not acceptable.
- Once my task has been submitted, will I receive a confirmation email?
Yes. An email will be sent to the email address you entered for your account in the registration system. You can also verify that your task has been submitted by referring to the status column on the task chart on your assessment home page. A status of "Completed" means that the task has been submitted.
- Am I able to make changes to my response after I have submitted it?
No. Once a task has been submitted, you can no longer make changes. You will be able to view your response in a read-only format.
- As a music teacher, written tests and projects are not part of my normal curriculum. Most of my assessment artifacts are in the form of recordings and videos of students playing and singing. What should I do?
In addition to photographs with captions, a colleague or administrator could observe your class, and you could use that observation in written form as evidence if it describes the students as they work. You can also video record part of a class and have an administrator or colleague watch the recording and provide written feedback based on what the students are doing, and then you may submit his/her feedback as evidence.
- How will I know what student work to submit?
The student work artifacts that you submit should be directly related to and address the guiding prompts within each task. They should be appropriate and germane to what you are teaching and for what the task is asking.
- I teach kindergarten. What if the student work I submit looks like it came from a 5-year-old?
This is appropriate. Submitted materials should be what the students in your class are producing to address the learning goals you have set as well as respond to the guiding prompts. Raters are trained to view materials based on the context of the specific teaching situation. Make sure that your submitted student work is legible or that you include a teacher translation of what the student has written.
- Should I include the names of any students, parents or school officials in my submissions?
No. Students should be referred to as "Student 1," "Student 2," etc. Colleagues can be referred to as "my cooperating teacher" or "my principal" instead of by their names. The same policy applies to any other adults included in your submission (e.g., "parent of Student 1").
- How should the written commentary be composed?
Choose the writing style you prefer. Raters are trained to score on the basis of the evidence submitted, not on the format of the writing. What is important is that you clearly communicate your ideas as related to the guiding prompts, the submitted artifacts and the rubric.
- What if I want to strengthen my writing skills? What do you recommend?
The tasks in the PPAT assessment require three kinds of writing: descriptive, analytic and reflective. There are obvious essential differences among these three types of writing. As you compose your written commentary, keep these differences in mind. For more information, see "Writing and Formatting Guidelines" in the PPAT® Candidate and Educator Handbook.
- Can I include a slideshow presentation as evidence? If so, how many slides may I submit?
Yes. Slideshow presentations are acceptable forms of evidence. You may submit up to six slides on a single page.
- If I include a double-sided document as evidence, does the document count as one page or two?
If you are planning on using both sides as evidence, then each side must be attached as a separate document in your written commentary (and therefore count as two pages). Raters are trained to look only at the first page of a multipage attachment, even if the content is from the same student example. The only exception is if a guiding prompt specifically asks for more than one page (for example, if a prompt asks for two pages from your lesson plan).
- If I want to submit pictures, can I place more than one on a page?
Yes, but the pictures must relate to the same subject/topic/event and have appropriate captions. You may reduce the size of the pictures so that they fit on the same page. However, if you reduce them to the extent that they are no longer viewable, raters will be instructed to not consider them.
- Can I submit more than one newspaper article on a page?
Yes, as long as the articles refer to the same subject/topic/event. You may reduce the font size of the articles so that they fit on the same page. However, if you reduce them to the extent that they are no longer readable, raters will be instructed to not consider them.
- When will my scores be available?
See Getting Your Scores.
- I don’t understand the scores on my score report. Where can I find information to help me understand my scores?
- How do I know if I passed the test?
Your cumulative score report contains a summary page indicating your score for the assessment. See Understanding Your Scores.
Contact your educator preparation program for specific passing requirements.
- How do I access my scores online?
Scores may be viewed from your online account. See Getting Your Scores.
- Who gets a copy of my score report?
Your cumulative score report is automatically sent to the EPP that you selected at registration and as many as four score recipients that you selected at registration. If you are seeking certification in a state that has established a PPAT passing score with ETS, the state certification agency will automatically receive a copy of your scores.
- How does my state certification department receive my assessment scores?
During registration, you have the option to select up to four additional score recipients. Select your state certification department during this step. You can add or modify your score recipients up until 10 p.m. ET the night before the task submission deadline.
- If I do not achieve a passing score, can I resubmit any tasks? How do I decide which task(s) to resubmit?
- You may resubmit Task 2, Task 3 and/or Task 4 for a fee. See Resubmitting Your Task(s).
- Will raters know my scores from previously submitted tasks?
- No. Your history is not disclosed to raters. They will not have access to any scores associated with previous submissions.
- What happens if I don't score as well on a resubmitted task?
- The task with the highest task score — whether it was earned on the initial submission or on the resubmitted task — will always be used to determine your cumulative assessment score.
- How are resubmission scores reported?
- Resubmission scores are reported via your online account, just like your initial scores.
- I plan on resubmitting a task. Must I change everything in my response?
You may reuse some of the activities, but you will want to consider what you can do to strengthen them. Consider the focus of this task. You will probably need to develop new activities to address your guiding prompts.
Remember, the majority of activities should be new, and the majority of your written commentary for the entire task should reflect your new thinking and analysis. When considering your artifacts, you might want to consider how different artifacts might supply better evidence than those used for the initial submission.
- Will I be able to edit my previous written response online in order to prepare my resubmission?
- No. Immediately upon registration, the system presents you with new tasks containing empty textboxes. Your originally submitted task responses will be available in read-only format.
- Am I required to enter responses for all steps of the resubmission task or only the steps where I scored low?
You must respond to the prompts and activities for all steps, not just the steps where you scored low. During resubmission, you will begin with blank textboxes, making sure to:
- enter and submit the entire task response as if you are submitting the task for the first time
- enter the written commentary in all textboxes
- link the artifacts to the written commentary where required
- upload the video, if resubmitting Task 4