Sep 7 / Dr. Jason Ampel

What is the Praxis Test? Everything You Need to Know In 2023

Planning to pursue a teaching career? You may have heard that you need to take the Praxis test. The Praxis test is a basic requirement for teacher certification– a special type of exam that offers a clear pathway to the licensing and certification of teachers.

The Praxis test measures the teacher's development and proves their readiness before entering the teaching career. The test is essential in every state, and The Educational Testing Service (ETS) requires every teacher to pass it.

This definitive guide explains in depth what the praxis test is, why you need to take the tests, and the different types of praxis tests you need to become a certified teacher.

What is the Praxis Test?

The Praxis test is a mode of certification among teachers established by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to offer a clear pathway toward teachers’ licensure and evaluate the development and readiness of candidates. 

The ETS is also responsible for researching methods to advance the KPIs for educational measurement to enhance the provision of quality education across learning institutions. 

The Educational Testing Service is a body that takes charge of teaching activities across the US. Formed in 1947, the ETS introduced the Praxis test to evaluate every teacher's potential and impact in the industry. The organization works as a quality assurance board that assesses the capabilities of every candidate before they are deployed within their jurisdictions. 

Over 40 states require prospective teachers to take the test under the management of the ETS for licensing and certification. The test is designed to verify every individual's academic knowledge and teaching abilities.

If you want to teach a specific subject area, you are required to pass either one or more subject-specific tests to showcase your expertise.

 In addition, the test evaluates the expertise of every candidate in mathematics content, reading, and writing regardless of their specified disciplines or grade levels. Candidates are also tested in specific disciplines they want to teach in grades K-12, as well as their general teaching skills and practices. 

Reasons to Take a Praxis Test

According to the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal government requires all state-licensed teachers to meet the necessary qualifications. Every teacher should go through the assessment to showcase their abilities.

The Department of Education in the United States gives some flexibility to schools in various districts to demonstrate that their teachers are qualified. Also, the Federal government requires all teachers to pass the assessment in subjects that they are competent in.

Here are the Praxis tests and what they involve:

  •   The Praxis PLT: The test is designed to evaluate candidates based on their knowledge of teaching practice, among other theories. This test does not assess a teacher's expertise in a specific subject. Its primary objective is to evaluate whether a teacher has mastered the general art of teaching.

Given that learning psychology and teaching methods are entirely different for different ages, teachers must take a PLT focused on the age group they intend to teach.

  •   The Praxis Core: The test evaluates your general ability in mathematics, reading, and writing. This is the basic requirement test for all teachers regardless of their specialization. Recording a good score in the Praxis Core means you have a cross-section of mathematics and language arts competence at the K-12 level.

The ETS requires the teachers to take the Praxis Core to ensure they understand similar academic skills that students should use. Passing this test means you can help students read, write and do mathematics.

  •   Praxis II (Praxis Subject Assessment): Praxis II, also known as Praxis subject assessment, helps prove that the teacher has mastered a specific content area. State licensing always wants to ensure that you know your areas of expertise and can be trusted to teach students.

This test is specifically meant for teachers who want to specialize in a specific subject. For instance, to become a high school business teacher, you are required to take the Praxis II exam. The exam comprises business questions and teaching methods that you can use to teach business.

Praxis Test Scoring

The Praxis test scoring varies from one state to the other. Every state organizes its passing scores for every test used. The score ranges between 100 - 200, depending on your location.

However, the passing score may range between 127 - 177. Most college teaching programs use the Praxis test to evaluate your skills and academic knowledge when you want to pursue academic teaching programs.

The examination incorporates multiple-choice questions, constructed response questions, or a combination of the two. The multiple-choice question section is scored depending on the number of questions that you answered correctly.

The test is supervised by a special team trained by the ETS that takes charge of scoring the constructed response questions. However, some testing centers are likely to display an unofficial score after the test. The board releases the official score within 21 working days for the reading and mathematics tests.

ETS gives results for the writing test after 20 working days. After sitting for the Praxis test, results appear on your Praxis account. A computer system grades the tests for the selected-response questions before ETS conducts verification.

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educator Examination has three subtests. They include Writing (#5723), Reading (#5713), and Mathematics (#5733). There is additional information contained in the Praxis report to give you an overview of the results.

The first page of the report has the name of the test taken, a chart that displays your score, the institution's name, and a statement of pass or fail. The chart (line chart) has 100 on one end and 200 on the other end.

Also, there is an average score range displayed on the line. You can easily compare your score with other candidates to evaluate your overall position. ETS outlines the remarks of pass or fail on the first page.

The additional information that helps in interpreting scores includes:

  •   Praxis Raw Scores: The Praxis raw scores show the total number of correctly answered questions out of the actual number of questions. If an exam has 80 questions and you get 60 questions, the raw score is 60.

The raw scores are not used during licensing since they do not ascertain the difficulty of the exam. They are only used to show areas where you performed well in the overall test. The scores also point out the areas where you need to do more practice.

  •   Praxis Scaled Scores: Praxis operates by converting the scores into an official number that is then reported to the board. This helps to account for test difficulty. Even though different efforts are applied to ensure that all exams have similar difficulty levels, there are always slight differences. The ETS has a specialized chart that converts the Praxis raw score into a scaled score.

    When a test is more complex than expected, less accurate answers are accepted to create a balance. Contrary, an easier test will require more accurate answers for you to get a score.

    The scale scores are mostly out of 200, while the raw score is out of 100. Tests with selected-response questions give a preliminary scaled score immediately after the test.

The Education Testing Service (ETS) has confidentiality rules to ensure your information is safe and secure. The test scores cannot be released to the institution without the written consent of the test taker.

The ETS gives you room to retake the test if you fail to achieve the pass mark. If you fail the test, you can retake it after 21 days.

Types of Praxis Test

There are multiple Praxis tests available that you need to evaluate keenly before identifying the one that suits you. You should take tests that reciprocate the requirements of their respective fields.

It's essential to differentiate the Praxis tests to avoid making mistakes during certification and licensure.

Here are the different types of Praxis tests that you need to know:

1- Content Knowledge for Teaching Tests

This Praxis test involves four assessments that evaluate the content knowledge necessary for teaching at the elementary level. The content knowledge for teaching tests is a basic requirement in many states for acquiring a license in elementary teaching.

It helps to ensure that you have grasped teaching theory and practice in the early stages of education. The test is meant for candidates who want to teach at the elementary level. It evaluates your understanding of the core curriculum and the subjects taught at the elementary level.

2- Core Academic Skills Test

The test measures your knowledge of core academic skills. Most institutions classify this test as compulsory for college and university admission. Other institutions administer it later in their learning program. 

The core academic skills test is done by anybody who wants to enter the teaching profession. The test gauges general teaching knowledge and core academic skills but it’s not a specific content area.

The Core Academic Skills Test is a graduation and licensing prerequisite within the teaching profession. 

3- Subject Assessments Tests

The Subject Assessments Tests help to evaluate your abilities in specific subjects and pedagogy. It also evaluates broader educational skills within the teaching profession. 

The test is considered part of the licensing requirement for any teacher who wants to specialize in teaching a specific subject.

Everybody entering the K-12 teaching must undertake this assessment before getting certification from the ETS. 

Areas of Praxis Test

Praxis tests focus on the core areas within the teaching field, such as reading, writing, and mathematics. The test is prepared by a special team of experts trained by the ETS and is presented in two categories to help the institution evaluate every candidate's potential. Praxis tests have multiple selection questions, two essay sections, and numeric entry questions. 

All these categories help the Education Testing Service (ETS) evaluate your capabilities in specific areas. The ETS team is responsible for scoring based on how you answered the questions. The ETS uses a special technique to assess the tests before presenting the final scores to candidates after 21 working days. 

Once the Education Testing Service approves the results, you can get certification to teach in your preferred field and state. 

The areas of the Praxis tests are:

1- Reading Test

The Praxis reading test assesses your ability to read, summarize and express your opinions in the best way possible. The test has 56 select-response questions that should be completed in less than 85 minutes. 

The test is divided further into three different sections.

  •   The first section involves the core ideas and details, representing 35% of the exam score.
  •   The second part is the craft structure and language skills. This segment weighs 30% of the exam score. 
  •   The third section is all about the integration of knowledge and ideas. The segment carries an additional 35% of the score. 

The test involves reading and analyzing documents to verify your language understanding skills. You’ll have 85 minutes to complete this test. 

2- Writing Test

The Praxis writing test evaluates your expertise in writing and prepares you for a successful career in education. The test has four different sections that include: 

  •   Error Identification: The questions ask you to identify structural and grammatical errors in the given context. It also asks you to identify sentences that are free from errors. 
  •   Sentence correction: The questions require identifying the best way to reinstate a given sentence or phrase. In some instances, the phrases or sentences are correct as presented.
  •  Revision in Context: These types of questions are also known as revision-in-context. They ask you to evaluate a paragraph and determine how to strengthen it. You are given a short paragraph to work through and visualize the choice of words, tone, style, and standard convention. Sometimes, the passage presented is perfect and does not require any editing. 
  •   Research Skills: Research questions ask you to identify effective research strategies, identify various citation elements, and evaluate the source's credibility. 

This writing test has 40 selected-response questions and approximately 30-minute essay questions you must walk through. 

3- Math Test

Mathematics is one of the subjects that define the core skills of an educator. You need to have exceptional mathematics skills to prepare for a successful career in the teaching field. 

The Praxis math test has 56 questions that are divided into four sections. They include: 

  •   Algebra and functions: This segment involves solving linear and quadratic equations and deriving expressions and equations from verbal descriptions. You’ll also be needed to solve algebraic word problems and manipulate expressions and equations.
  •   Statistics and probability: This segment tests understanding the correspondence between graphs and data, determining mean, mode, and median. You also need to read and interpret visual displays of quantitative information.
  •    Number and quantity: As a candidate, you need to showcase that you understand place values, ratios, rates, and percentages and understand order among fractions and counterexamples.
  •    Geometry: The questions revolve around angle relationships, characteristics and properties of geometric shapes, circles, and similarity and congruence. 

Other Praxis Exams

There are multiple types of Praxis exams that teachers can take to get certification. However, you don't necessarily need to take all the exams.

Certain Praxis exams are explicitly meant for prospective teachers who want to specialize in various disciplines. Given that there are more than 90 Praxis exams, you only need to take a test that is necessary for your certification.

Every state has varying testing methodologies used to evaluate candidates. Understanding your state's requirements can save you from doing tests that are not necessary in your field.

Before taking the Praxis test, you must identify the subject and grade you want to teach.

Below are the available Praxis subject exams available;

  •   Agriculture (5701)
  •   Algebra I (5162)
  •   Art: Content and Analysis (5135)
  •   Art: Content Knowledge (5134)
  •   Audiology (5343)
  •   Biology (5236)
  •   Biology: Content Knowledge (5235)
  •   Business Education (5101)
  •   Chemistry (5246)
  •   Chemistry: Content Knowledge (5245)
  •   Citizenship Education: Content Knowledge (5087)
  •   Communication and Literacy: Reading (5714)
  •   Communication and Literacy: Writing (5724)
  •   Computer Science (5652)
  •   Early Childhood Assessment (5026) combined test that includes the two subtests below:
  •   Early Childhood Assessment: Reading and Language Arts & Social Studies subtest (5027)
  •   Early Childhood Assessment: Mathematics and Science subtest (5028)
  •   Early Childhood Education (5025)
  •   Earth and Space Sciences (5572)
  •   Earth and Space Sciences: Content Knowledge (5571)
  •   Economics (5911)
  •   Education of Young Children (5024)
  •   Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision (ELAS) (5412)
  •   Elementary Education Assessment (5006) combined test that includes the two subtests below:
  •   Elementary Education: Reading and Language Arts & Social Studies subtest (5007)
  •   Elementary Education: Mathematics and Science subtest (5008)
  •   Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (5018)
  •   Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching (7811) combined test that includes the four subtests below:
  •   Elementary Education: Reading and Language Arts—CKT (7812)
  •   Elementary Education: Mathematics—CKT (7813)
  •   Elementary Education: Science—CKT (7814)
  •   Elementary Education: Social Studies—CKT (7815)
  •   Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (5017)
  •   Elementary Education: Math Specialist (5037)
  •   Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001) combined test that includes the four subtests below:
  •   Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects: Reading and Language Arts subtest (5002)
  •   Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects: Mathematics subtest (5003)
  •   Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects: Social Studies subtest (5004)
  •   Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects: Science subtest (5005)
  •   Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Mathematics, Social Studies and Science (5901) combined test that includes the three subtests below:
  •   Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Mathematics (5903)
  •   Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Social Studies (5904)
  •   Elementary Education: Three Subject Bundle—Science (5905)
  •   English Language Arts: Content and Analysis (5039)
  •   English Language Arts: Content Knowledge (5038)
  •   English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) (5362)
  •   Family and Consumer Sciences (5122)
  •   French: World Language (5174)
  •   Fundamental Subjects (5511)
  •   General Science (5436)
  •   General Science: Content Knowledge (5435)
  •   Geometry (5163)
  •   Geography (5921)
  •   German: World Language (5183)
  •   Gifted Education (5358)
  •   Government/Political Science (5941)
  •   Health and Physical Education: Content Knowledge (5857)
  •   Health Education (5551)
  •   Health Occupations (5052)
  •   Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (5023)
  •   Journalism (5224)
  •   Latin (5601)
  •   Library Media Specialist (5311)
  •   Marketing Education (5561)
  •   Mathematics (5165)
  •   Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5161)
  •   Middle School English Language Arts (5047)
  •   Middle School Mathematics (5164)
  •   Middle School Mathematics (5169)
  •   Middle School Science (5442)
  •   Middle School Social Studies (5089)
  •   Music: Content and Instruction (5114)
  •   Music: Content Knowledge (5113)
  •   Music: Instrumental and General Knowledge (5115)
  •   Music: Vocal and General Knowledge (5116)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Core Assessment: English, Language Arts and Social Studies, Mathematics and Science (5152) combined test that includes the three subtests below:
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Core Assessment: Pedagogy subtest (5153)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Core Assessment: English Language Arts and Social Studies subtest (5154)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Core Assessment: Mathematics and Science subtest (5155)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Subject Concentration: English Language Arts (5156)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Subject Concentration: Social Studies (5157)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Subject Concentration: Mathematics (5158)
  •   Pennsylvania Grades 4–8 Subject Concentration: Science (5159)
  •   Physical Education: Content and Design (5095)
  •   Physical Education: Content Knowledge (5091)
  •   Physical Science (5485)
  •   Physics (5266)
  •   Physics: Content Knowledge (5265)
  •   Pre-Kindergarten Education (5531)
  •   Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (5621)
  •   Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K–6 (5622)
  •   Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5–9 (5623)
  •   Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7–12 (5624)
  •   Principles of Learning and Teaching: PreK–12 (5625)
  •   Professional School Counselor (5421)
  •   Psychology (5391)
  •   Reading Specialist (5301)
  •   Reading Specialist (5302)
  •   School Counselor (5422)
  •   School Librarian (5312)
  •   School Psychologist (5402)
  •   Social Studies: Content and Interpretation (5086)
  •   Social Studies: Content Knowledge (5081)
  •   Sociology (5952)
  •   Spanish: World Language (5195)
  •   Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (5354)
  •   Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications (5543)
  •   Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications (5545)
  •   Special Education: Early Childhood/Early Intervention (5692)
  •   Special Education: Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students (5272)
  •   Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood (5691)
  •   Special Education: Teaching Speech to Students with Language Impairments (5881)
  •   Special Education: Teaching Students with Behavioral Disorders/Emotional Disturbances (5372)
  •   Special Education: Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities (5322)
  •   Special Education: Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities (5383)
  •   Special Education: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments (5282)
  •   Speech Communication Content Knowledge (5221)
  •   Speech-Language Pathology (5331)
  •   Teaching Reading: Elementary (5205)
  •   Teaching Reading: K–12 (5206)
  •   Technology Education (5051)
  •   Theatre (5641)
  •   World and U.S. History: Content Knowledge (5941)
  •   World Language Pedagogy (5841)

One Step Closer to Your Teaching Career

The Praxis test helps to prove that you are competent in a specific content area, signifying your readiness for certification. The Praxis test is a basic requirement for becoming a teacher across the nation. 

Through its comprehensive evaluation of knowledge, skills, and aptitude, this test ensures you showcase your preparedness for the classroom. But, the certification requirements vary from one state to the other.

The Learning Liaisons can help you with the necessary study tools and programs to excel in your Praxis test.

Reach out today and unlock your full potential to begin a stable career that impacts generations of students.