Do Praxis Scores Indicate Teaching Ability?

As a junior in an elementary education program, I’m currently preparing for the Praxis. Essentially, this test is the key to my future. If I do not pass it, I will not be able to be an elementary school teacher. If I do pass, I’m allowed to continue in my program and hopefully achieve my goals.
I consider myself an intelligent person but as I stare at explanations for why A is a better answer than B, I can’t help but wonder: If I fail this test, does that mean I won’t be a good teacher? Does passing this test mean that I have the ability to be a good teacher?
The simple answer to both questions is NO.

Many smart people do not have the skills necessary to be a good teacher. Teaching is more than having a surplus of ‘fun facts’ memorized; teaching is about classroom management, being emotionally strong, having care for students and going above and beyond to help them succeed, and being able to handle being underpaid and overworked. That’s just a taste of what being a teacher means, the full list goes on for ages and pages.

When asked, a friend said, “Sometimes I have potential teachers come in to my classroom and they are brilliant people who passed all their classes and all their tests with ease but when they come to do their student teaching, they don’t have what it takes to be a teacher. Being a teacher is so much more than being smart and being able to pass a test!”

I also have a friend who has spent many hours in a classroom. She is smart, fun, and emotionally has what it takes to be a teacher. After her 4th time failing the Math section of the Praxis, she has decided she won’t be able to be a teacher. Her main problem is that she is unable to memorize the formulas for algebra and geometry. Will being unable to memorize the Pythagorean formula really hinder her from being a wonderful 1st grade teacher? My answer: no!

An example of a Praxis related study video.  Credit goes to: http://www.yourteacher.com

I know many people that did not pass their Praxis on the first try. After failing and paying to take another test and a study book, they passed the test. Did their teaching ability suddenly change? Were they previously unprepared to be teachers? No! They were just unprepared for a simple test!

After finishing this blog, I will go back to my Praxis preparation book, hoping that somewhere within those pages, I will not only find the way to pass an expensive test, I will find what it really takes to become a good teacher.

Until next time.


3 Responses to “Do Praxis Scores Indicate Teaching Ability?”

  1. 1 tfamatt
    June 25, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I believe there is also research that indicates that Praxis testing results is a very poor indicator of teacher performance. Scoring highly on the Praxis exam does not correlate strongly with student performance.

    The Praxis isn’t really a very difficult test though, and I would be concerned that a teacher who didn’t pass on the second try just doesn’t know their subject well enough

    • 2 iate59crayons
      June 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I do agree that I’d be worried about someone unable to pass a test teaching my children, I just think that there shouldn’t be a “be all end all” test. Rutgers, for instance, allows you to fail by a certain amount of points if your GPA is high enough and you can still earn your teaching certificate. Other schools don’t offer this, including the school I attend.
      Thanks again! I hope you keep reading!

  2. July 5, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Hmm. Is it true? 🙂

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