How Are Tests Updated to Keep Content Current?
ETS is committed to keeping the content of the Praxis® tests up to date and aligned with professionally accepted standards; therefore, tests are reviewed on a regular basis. We involve stakeholders in this process by asking them to nominate teachers and teacher educators to serve on Test Development Standing Committees and National Advisory Committees (NACs). Teachers and teacher educators interested in serving on one of these committees can register at www.ets.org/praxiscomm.
The Test Development Standing Committees review the specifications for each Praxis test title annually to determine whether there are circumstances that require revision of the test specifications or regeneration of the test. The questions that the Standing Committees answer include the following:
- Do the test specifications still represent knowledge and/or skills that are important for competent, beginning-level practice?
- Are there areas of knowledge and/or skill that are not included but are critical for competent, beginning-level practice?
- Are there content categories in the test specifications that we need to update to reflect current practice?
- Do the current proportions among the content categories in the test specifications still reflect current practice?
- Are there changes on the horizon that could impact these specifications in the future, either at the national level or within a particular state?
The results of these specification reviews determine the plan for regeneration of a test or test series. ETS researchers, psychometricians and test developers analyze the reviewers' answers and comments and use expert judgment to determine a path forward for each test or test series. The group would typically choose one of three options, depending on the answers to the questions provided by the Standing Committee:
- Internal and external experts validate the test specifications and no National Advisory Committee (NAC) meeting is necessary; test specifications remain unchanged.
- When updates are straightforward, we use in-house content experts to draft updated test specifications to improve alignment; external experts then validate the specifications via a virtual meeting. We make these updates when the test specifications do not match current professional standards in the field.
- When updates are not straightforward, a NAC is convened to update the test specifications to improve alignment, and ETS performs a job analysis confirmation survey. These updates are necessary when test specifications do not match current professional standards if they exist, or internal and external experts determine the specifications are outdated.
When a NAC is convened, the Praxis client states help ETS recruit 12–15 licensed practicing professionals who are close to the beginning of their teaching practice, as well as college faculty who prepare teachers for that specific licensure area. The NAC works closely with ETS assessment specialists to define the content domain and later to develop the test blueprint and test content specifications. NAC meetings typically take place on the ETS campus in Princeton, New Jersey.
After the NAC meets to define the test domains, a job analysis survey is conducted to confirm these domains. A job survey is conducted for new tests and for existing tests that are being significantly revised. The job analysis survey enables relatively large numbers of practitioners from across the country to judge the importance of the knowledge and/or skills defined by the NAC for beginning-level practice. The practitioners' judgments serve as an independent source of validation evidence. Once the results of the survey have been analyzed, the NAC is reconvened to develop the test blueprint and test specifications.
After the NAC develops the test blueprint and test specifications, ETS convenes panels of licensed practicing educators and college faculty from user states to conduct standard-setting studies. Each standard-setting panel confirms that the knowledge and/or skills represented in the test content specifications are important for entry-level practice and recommends a passing score for each state to consider when setting its own passing score.
New Tests for 2020–2021
The Praxis program is rolling out new assessments for the 2020–2021 testing year. The following will launch in September 2020.
- An Audiology (5343) test will be available (along with the existing Audiology (5342) test).
- A Middle School Science test (5442) will be available (along with the existing Middle School Science (5440) test).
- A Reading Specialist (5302) test will be available (along with the existing Reading Specialist (5301) test).
- The Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle (5901) will include three tests: Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Mathematics (5903), Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Social Studies (5904), and Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Science (5905).
States will want to consider the recommended passing scores from the standard-setting studies when they set passing scores for their jurisdictions. See the table below for more information about each of these tests. Any state wishing to review the new forms of these tests should contact their Client Relations Director at PraxisClientRelations@ets.org.
New Tests for 2020–2021 Testing Year
|Test Code||Test Title||Notes|
|5343||Audiology||New test with Multistate Standard-Setting Study|
|5901 (subtests 5903, 5904 5905)||Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Mathematics, Social Studies & Science||New test with Multistate Standard-Setting Study|
|5442||Middle School Science||New test with Multistate Standard-Setting Study|
|5302||Reading Specialist||New test with Multistate Standard-Setting Study|
For questions or further information, please contact your Client Relations Director at PraxisClientRelations@ets.org.
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