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Performance and Passing Rate Differences of African American and White Prospective Teachers on Praxis Examinations: A Joint Project of the National Education Association (NEA) and Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Nettles, Michael T.; Scatton, Linda H.; Steinberg, Jonathan; Tyler, Linda
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Achievement Gap, Praxis I, Teacher Licensure, Praxis II, Passing Scores


This report focuses on two aspects of teacher supply and quality: (a) the under-representation of racial/ethnic minorities, especially African Americans in the teaching pool, and (b) teacher candidates’ performance on licensure assessments, including general skills tests in reading, writing, and mathematics (known as Praxis I) and selected tests covering areas of content and pedagogy (known as Praxis II). The report presents trends in the overall and minority teaching workforce, utilizes some of the available PraxisTM program data, combined with interviews of faculty and students involved in college and university teacher preparation programs, to address supply, achievement, and performance gaps between prospective minority and White teachers. African American candidates are the focal group in this report, in order to gauge the effect that Praxis has on the supply of prospective African American teachers and to generate ideas for closing gaps. Other minority Praxis test-taking populations in the selected states are not included because these are not large enough to produce sufficient data from which to make valid inferences. The research was collaboratively planned and guided by National Education Association and Educational Testing Service to use Praxis data for addressing the following questions: (a) What are the trends in minority representation among teacher candidates, (b) What are the differences between majority and minority candidates’ performance on both Praxis I and Praxis II, (c) Are the performance differences reflected in the state licensing pass rates of majority and minority candidates, and (d) What factors should be targeted to reduce racial/ethnic group performance differences on Praxis I and Praxis II.

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