Critique of Praxis
General Test Information
The Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers or Praxis is administered through Educational Testing Services and is currently the most popular norm-referenced test being used (Brown, 2008). The Praxis Series tests measures the knowledge of important content and skills required to teach (Educational Testing Service, 2010). Each of the tests reflects what is believed to be important for new teachers as reflected by practitioners across the United States.
The Praxis I covers Academic Skills Assessments, while the Praxis II covers Subject Assessments (Brown, 2008). The tests include both multiple-choice and constructed response (CR) or essay (Sergi, 2001). The Praxis I is used by many institutions as a way of evaluating takers for entrance into teach education programs (ETS, 2010). The Praxis II test is used for initial teacher licensing as well as throughout different stages of a teacher’s career.
Tests consisting of only multiple-choice items are given a raw score based on correct answers on the test (ETS, 2011). No penalty is imposed for incorrect answers. Constructed response only tests are given a raw score from a composite of scores on individual items. Each item is read and scored by two qualified scorers who score according to a rubric and the sum of scores is the raw score for the item. For tests including both question types, raw scores are a weighted composite of raw multiple-choice score and individual constructed response scores.
Although a score earned by a person in one state means the same as a person who takes the same test in another state, passing scores vary from state to state (ETS, 2010). Although Praxis test scores are portable across states, states also customize their election of the assessment. States select from those Praxis assessments that meet their needs and customize their passing-score requirements. Expectations of what is needed to enter the teaching profession are different in each state.
Quality of Validity Evidence
Validity is defined as “the degree to which evidence (rational, logical, and/or empirical) and theory support the interpretations of test scores” according to 1999 Test Standards (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 1999, p. 9). Tests used for credentialing purposes, such as licensure and certification assessments, focus on a candidate’s current skill or knowledge in a particular domain required for entry into an occupation (ETS, 2005). “Validation of credentialing tests depends mainly on content-related evidence, often in the form of judgments that the test adequately represents the content domain of the occupation.” (AERA, APA, NCME, 1999, p. 157). The test developers provide validity information based on content.
Evidence Based on Test Content
The purpose of the Praxis tests is to assess a test taker’s knowledge of...