Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA)

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The Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) program was instituted in 1997 when the Arizona legislature adopted new regulations regarding the evaluation of candidates for teaching certification. These regulations required that candidates pass a professional knowledge test and subject knowledge test(s) appropriate to their intended position. In addition, the regulations require that school administrators pass examinations in the field of administration.[1] An additional stipulation, Arizona Revised Statutes §15-532, requires that candidates for teaching or administrative certification also pass an examination on the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona.[1]

Function of the Test

AEPA Study Guide

The AEPA suite of examinations is used by the State of Arizona in its teacher licensure program. There are four distinct categories of AEPA examinations: Professional Knowledge Tests; Subject Knowledge Tests; Constitutions of the United States and Arizona; and Administrator Tests.[2]

Typically, prospective educators must pass at least one examination each in Professional Knowledge and Subject Knowledge in order to receive a valid teaching certificate. There are three Professional Knowledge Tests: one for Elementary, one for Secondary, and one for Early Childhood.[3] There are Subject Knowledge Tests in 42 subjects (including the ten Special Education exams), though some (such as Elementary Education) are divided into multiple subtests. Twenty-four of the Subject Knowledge Tests are National Evaluation Series (NES) tests which are used in teacher certification across multiple states.[4][3] The remaining eighteen subjects are evaluated by state-specific examinations calibrated to measure candidates' mastery in relation to Arizona learning standards.[5][3]

Specific testing requirements vary by type of certification. For example, candidates for Secondary Certification (Grades 6-12) might be required to pass multiple Subject Knowledge Tests, whereas candidates for Career and Technical Education Certification do not need to take any Subject Knowledge Tests at all. Also, in addition to certification, educators may earn endorsement in areas such as Early Childhood or Reading K-8 by passing the relevant Subject Knowledge Tests.[2]

Educators are also required to pass the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona exam, although this is not a prerequisite to obtain initial teaching certification. Upon obtaining teaching certification, educators typically have three years in which to pass the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona exam, although teachers of history, government, social studies, citizenship, law, or civics must complete the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona exam within one year.[2]

There are three different Administrator Tests: Principal, Superindendent, and Supervisor. Superintendents, principles, and supervisors must pass the Administrator Test specific to that position.[2]

The Arizona Department of Education does not appear to publish statistics regarding exam performance or pass rates for the AEPA examinations or for the NES examination which constitute a portion of the Subject Knowledge Tests.

Test Administration

AEPA Flashcards

As of 2015, the AEPA examinations all appear to have been transitioned to computer-based exams. All exams are available year round by appointment at Pearson VUE testing centers.[3][6]

Prices vary from exam to exam, but most examinations from the National Evaluation Series (NES) cost $95 to take,[6] whereas most exams specific to the state of Arizona cost $120 to take.[7] The Constitutions of the United States and Arizona exam costs $90.[8]

Arizona's custom examinations are scored on a standardized scale from 100 to 300 with a passing score of 240. The NES examinations are also scored on a scale from 100 to 300, but have passing scores of 220. The Arizona Board of Education stresses that both categories of examination are equally rigorous and difficult, despite the different calibrations in passing scores.[9]

Unsuccessful candidates may retake tests (or subtests) an unlimited number of times, but must re-register for each attempt. In addition, candidates must wait 30 days between attempts.[10]

Test Format

Test Structure

The Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments, or the AEPA series, is a collection of tests designed to certify teachers in the state of Arizona. Tests in this series typically range from about 100 to 175 multiple choice questions, and last from about three to four hours. Testing is computer based, however, some tests may require more than just multiple choice questions. For example, along with 100 multiple choice questions, the Chinese (Mandarin) exam requires one presentation writing assignment, and one presentational speaking assignment.

Test Environment

Testing for the AEPA exam series takes place at Pearson VUE testing centers. There, candidates are expected to arrive at least half an hour before their test is scheduled to begin. A valid, government-issued ID containing a photo and signature is required for admission. Personal items, such as cell phones, study materials, foods, hats, and calculators are not allowed into the testing room. A locker will be provided to store all personal items in before the test begins.

Test Content

  • Sample AEPA Early Childhood Education Practice Questions
  1. Piaget's first stage of cognitive development involves:
    A. Operations with concrete things
    B. Sensory input and motor output
    C. Operations with abstract things
    D. Intuition and animism, not logic
  2. Which element of art will give preschoolers the most tactile aesthetic experience?
    A. Line
    B. Color
    C. Shape
    D. Texture
  • Sample AEPA Principal Practice Questions
  1. Collegial relationships among faculty and staff members will help ensure effective teaching, learning, and collaboration. As principal, which of the following will foster positive relationships and help promote a unified school vision?
    A. Surveying faculty and staff members to elicit their opinions on a range of topics at the first faculty meeting of each quarter or semester.
    B. Keeping an "open door policy" one or two days per week to allow faculty members the opportunity to share insights and opinions.
    C. Surveying faculty and staff at each and every faculty meeting while also keeping a permanent "open door policy."
    D. Not eliciting opinions of faculty and staff before new program implementation.
  2. Eighty percent of students fail a standardized department exam throughout the district. At the principals' meeting, the superintendent asks for opinions on what should be done next. What is the first step a principal should take?
    A. Accuse the teachers of not adequately preparing students.
    B. Examine the test questions and if inappropriate, invalidate the scores.
    C. Accuse the students of not adequately preparing.
    D. Examine the test questions and keep the scores regardless of conclusions drawn.
  • Sample AEPA Reading Endorsement Practice Questions
  1. Phonemic awareness is a type of:
    A. Phonological awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize sounds within words
    B. Phonics. It is a teaching technique whereby readers learn the relationship between letters and sounds
    C. Alphabetization. Unless a reader knows the alphabet, phonemic awareness is useless
    D. Syntactical awareness. Understanding the underlying structure of a sentence is key to understanding meaning
  2. In preparation for writing a paper, a high school class has been instructed to skim a number of Internet and print documents. They are being asked to:
    A. Read the documents several times, skimming to a deeper level of understanding each time
    B. Read the documents quickly, looking for those that offer the most basic, general information
    C. Read the documents quickly, looking for key words in order to gather the basic premise of each
    D. Read the documents carefully, looking for those that offer the most in-depth information
  • Sample AEPA Professional Knowledge Early Childhood
  1. A teacher organizes a class project in which students are placed in groups to complete a task. Upon completing the task, students are instructed to grade themselves in terms of their own participation in the project. What skill does this assignment attempt to develop?
    A. Critical thinking skills
    B. Ability to work with others
    C. Ability to follow directions
    D. Trustworthiness
  2. Using a disciplinary method of placing a student in an enclosed space of less than 50 square feet is referred to as what?
    A. Restraint
    B. Seclusion
    C. Time-Out
    D. Harassment

More free AEPA practice test questions.

Answers to Sample Questions

Early Childhood Education: 1;B 2;B Principal: 1;C 2;B Reading Endorsement: 1;A 2;C Professional Knowledge Early Childhood: 1;A 2;B


  1. ^ a b AEPA: General Information July 1 2015
  2. ^ a b c d AEPA: What Tests Do I Need to Take? July 1 2015
  3. ^ a b c d AEPA: Tests July 1 2015
  4. ^ AEPA: General Science July 1 2015
  5. ^ AEPA: Geography July 1 2015
  6. ^ a b AEPA: Art July 1 2015
  7. ^ AEPA: Earth Science July 1 2015
  8. ^ AEPA: Constitutions of the United States and Arizona July 1 2015
  9. ^ AEPA: Passing Requirements July 1 2015
  10. ^ AEPA: Retake Policy July 1 2015