Praxis Core Test
The Praxis Core Test is a new suite of three examinations given to candidates entering teacher preparation programs. It replaced the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills test (PPST) in fall 2013. The Praxis Core Test was developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in alignment with the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Compared to the old Praxis I PPST, ETS presents the Praxis Core Test as being more rigorous and as providing a more accurate measurement of candidates' qualifications.
Function of the Test
The Praxis Core Test is typically taken by college students entering teacher preparation programs. Many colleges and universities require students to pass the Praxis Core Test before being formally admitted to the school's teacher preparation program. In addition, most states require candidates seeking licensure as a teacher to pass the Praxis Core Tests in addition to subject-specific tests. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, give candidates for licensure a choice between taking the Praxis Core Test or taking a state-specific test; others, such as Alabama, require candidates to take a state-specific test and do not accept scores from the Praxis Core Test.
Because the Praxis Core Test is still very new, few statistics about it are available. However, between 2005 and 2009, approximately 133,000 people took at least one of the Praxis I tests, which averages out to 26,600 test takers per year. Because the Praxis Core Test has replaced the Praxis I tests, it can be assumed that a similar number of people take the Praxis Core Test each year.
The Praxis Core Test is administered year-round at Prometric Testing Centers worldwide. Many independent testing sites, including those operated by universities, also offer the examination. Registering for the full suite of three Praxis Core Tests costs $135. Registering for two of the tests costs $125, while registering for only one costs $85.
Scores are made available online approximately 2-3 weeks following the exam date. Candidates who wish to retake one or more of the Praxis Core Test exams must wait at least 21 days between each test date. There does not appear to be a limit to the number of times candidates may take the Praxis Core Test. However, candidates should be sure to check for any additional restrictions which may be imposed by their individual states or universities regarding retaking the Praxis Core Test.
Candidates who require special accommodations for a disability must register for the exam by mail and have the requested accommodation approved by ETS prior to taking the test. Candidates requesting special accommodations must complete and submit several forms, including a Certification of Eligibility form Candidates are encouraged to refer directly to ETS's website for details regarding this somewhat complex process.
Candidates are expected to arrive half an hour early from the time the exam is scheduled to start. For admission to the testing center, each candidate must bring an acceptable form of ID. The ID must be a valid, photo ID, containing a full name and signature. Personal items such as phones, watches, cameras, or any other electronic devices are not allowed in the exam room. Depending on which exam is being taken, calculators may be allowed, or even required.
That Praxis I series is a collection of core exams for teachers. Exams in this series include many different topics such as Agriculture, Sociology, Health, Physical Education, Special Education, Mathematics, and many others. Each test varies in length and topic, but most of the tests last around two to three hours, and typicall have around 150 questions. 
The following are the topics covered by each of the three Praxis Core sections.
- Sample Reading Questions:
- Numbers 1 and 2 pertain to the following passage:
- Journalists often use a recording device to capture the audio transcript of an interview with a subject. The recording device is thought of as a reliable and efficient way to ensure that all important parts of the interview have been archived which is something that may be complicated for a journalist to do by hand. Besides being difficult to execute quickly, legibly, and efficiently, taking notes by hand can distract the journalist from the interview subject’s body language, verbal cues, or other subtle information that can go unnoticed when the journalist is not fully concentrating on the person talking. These missed cues for example, noticing that the tough-guy interview subject closed his eyes and trembled slightly, when he talked about his recently departed mother have added an interesting perspective to the article about him.
- According to the passage, which of the following is not a reason a recording device can be superior to taking notes by hand?
- A. Note taking can be slow
- B. Note taking is unreliable
- C. Note taking forces the writer to look away from the subjects
- D. Note taking can cause body language to go unnoticed
- E. Note taking can be difficult to read later
- Which of the following is not an example of body language?
- A. A quiet answer
- B. Shocked look
- C. Wringing hands
- D. Blinking eyes
- E. A glance to the side
- Sample Writing Questions:
- Nobody could have anticipated the extent of the storm's damage.
- A. Nobody
- B. could have
- C. the extent
- D. storm's damage
- E. No error
- Irregardless of the weather, we will still hold the picnic at the park.
- A. Irregardless of the weather,
- B. Irregardless because of the weather,
- C. Irregardless of weather
- D. Regardless of the weather,
- E. Ragarding the weather
- Using foreign coins is not permitted in our store.
- A. Using foreign coins is not permitted in our store.
- B. Using foreign coins are not permitted in our store.
- C. To be using foreign coins is not permitted in our store.
- D. To be using foreign coins are not permitted in our store.
- E. Using foreign coins, they are not permitted in our store.
- Sample Mathematics Questions:
- A $1,000 lottery winner had 35% deducted for taxes. How much was the winning check?
- A. $300
- B. $350
- C. $650
- D. $700
- E. $965
- Which set of numbers shows four factors of 16?
- A. 0, 1, 2, 4
- B. 1, 2, 4, 8
- C. 16, 32, 48, 64
- D. 0, 1, 16, 32
- E. 0, 16, 32, 48
- Which of the following fractions is 0.18 expressed in its lowest terms?
- A. 9/50
- B. 18/100
- C. 9/5
- D. 14/5
- E. 18/10
The Praxis Core Test is a suite of three examinations: a reading test, a writing test, and a mathematics test. The breakdown of the suite of examinations is as follows:
|Distribution of questions on the Praxis Core Test exams|
|Reading||56 questions||85 minutes|
|Mathematics||56 questions||85 minutes|
| Optional break
(for combined test)
|Writing|| 40 questions
| 40 minutes|
|Total|| 152 questions +
Scoring for the Praxis Core Test works as follows. Multiple-choice questions are each worth one point. Essays are worth two to twelve points. Two graders assess each essay on a holistic scale from one to six, and their two scores are added together to determine the essay's final score. Once raw scores have been calculated, they are converted to a scaled score which accounts for the slightly different levels of difficulty on different forms of the Praxis Core Test exams. In other words, if two candidates both achieve a raw score of 45 on the mathematics section, the candidate who took a more difficult version of the test will receive a higher scaled score than the candidate who took the easier version of the test. The possible range of scaled scores is from 100 to 200.
Passing scores on the Praxis Core Test vary widely from college to college (as an entrance exam) and from state to state (as a teaching licensure exam). For example, candidates for licensure in Arkansas need to score 170 points on the mathematics section, whereas candidates from Washington only need to score 142.
Guessing is not penalized on the exam. Incorrect answers are counted the same way as omitted answers.
Answers to Sample Questions
Reading: 1;B 2;A Writing: 1;E 2;D 3;A Mathematics: 1;C 2;B 3;A
- ETS: About The Praxis Series® Tests October 17 2014
- ETS: New Praxis™ Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests October 17 2014
- University of Northern Iowa: Praxis Test for Admission to Teacher Education at UNI October 17 2014
- Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests Overview October 17 2014
- ETS: Pennsylvania Test Requirements October 17 2014
- ETS: Overview of Alabama Testing Requirements October 17 2014
- ETS: Performance and Passing Rate Differences of African American and White Prospective Teachers on Praxis Examinations October 19 2014
- ETS: Computer-Based Testing Center List for United States, U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico and Canada October 17 2014
- ETS: The Praxis Series Information Bulletin October 19 2014
- Praxis Information Bulletin 17 October 2014
- Praxis I Content Outlines 17 October 2014
- ETS: Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) Test Content and Structure October 17 2014
- ETS: Understanding Your Praxis Scores October 19 2014
- ETS: Interpreting Your Praxis™ Examinee Score Report October 19 2014
- ETS: The Praxis Series Passing Scores by Test and State October 17 2014