What is Praxis?
ETS offers this explanation of the Praxis® tests: "The Praxis® tests measure the academic skills and subject-specific content knowledge needed for teaching. The Praxis tests are taken by individuals entering the teaching profession as part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations."
Who requires Praxis®?
Most states require public school teachers to be licensed. Part of the licensing process is taking and passing Praxis I and/or Praxis II. Praxis I tests your competence in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Many education programs will accept Paxis I scores in place of SAT or ACT scores. They basically test the same kind of readiness for tertiary-level academic work. From ETS: "These tests measure academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. They were designed to provide comprehensive assessments that measure the skills and content knowledge of candidates entering teacher preparation programs.
Praxis II consists of subject or content tests. These are offered in standard subject areas such as Spanish, physics, language arts and so on. If you seek to be licensed as a physics teacher, for example, you would pass the Praxis II exam in physics as part of that requirement. From ETS: "These tests measure subject-specific content knowledge, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills, that you need for beginning teaching."
How do you prepare for the tests?
There are several Praxis test prep resources available, both for purchase and at no cost. Khan Academy offers free test prep on its Official Praxis® Core Prep section. According to Khan Academy, "Aspiring teachers can use Official Praxis® Core Prep to create a personalized learning plan to prepare for the Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) test, a key exam for many candidates entering teacher preparation programs. Using Official Praxis® Core Prep can strengthen the reading, writing, and math skills needed to succeed on the Praxis® Core test, in teacher preparation programs, and in the classroom."
This video previews the high-quality prep materials in the Mometrix Praxis Core study guide.
Where Do You Take the Tests?
Most people take the computer-delivered tests. These are held at testing centers in your local area. The Praxis site has a convenient test center locator. You register for the test at a time of your choosing online. You pay the fees online. The fee scale ranges from $50 to $139 depending on how you bundle the various tests.
Praxis® and Private School Teacher Certifications
While private schools are not required to employ licensed teachers, they do value those credentials. Licensing establishes a teacher's adherence to a standard of teaching practice, just as a degree in your subject establishes your knowledge and understanding of that subject. Put another way, a teaching license on its own proves that you have met certain minimum standards in the art and skill of teaching. You wouldn't have an angioplasty done by a physician who wasn't board-certified, would you? So why would you entrust your child's education to a teacher who has not been examined and found competent by a board of his peers?
This video explains what you need to know in order to get a passing score and get your teaching license.
Protecting Your Future as a Teacher
The other issue every teacher needs to deal with is the matter of keeping your credentials current and marketable. Administrations change. A school's clientele changes. Often these changes are hard to recognize because they happen over time and are slow-paced most of the time. But one day you wake up to realize that you have been teaching for thirty years and your credentials are considered out of date, even old-fashioned.
The obvious parallel with this predicament is what happened when computers began to transform the way we teach. The old guard resisted computers at first. They had been using the same lecture notes and had been teaching the same way for years. The change didn't happen overnight. It was gradual. But it was change nonetheless.
So it makes great sense to preserve and protect your future as a professional teacher by keeping your certifications current. Praxis can help with that.
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