The Praxis Core test and why it still matters

By ALLISON GUY

Staff Writer

OPINION— Along with creating lesson plans and making sure they get enough hours at their school placement, many education majors are conscious of the Praxis Core. This necessary evil is meant to ensure that teacher candidates are ready to educate children for the future.

In most states, if a teacher wants to get certified to teach elementary content, history, secondary education, special education and more, they must be proficient in this test.

While there are additional Praxis tests required for certain content areas such as world languages, all education majors must be evaluated in mathematics, writing and reading through a standardized format.

There is a growing argument that this standardized testing is not necessary for all teachers. Some would say that a physical education teacher does not need to know concepts of math to be successful at their job.

Math, reading and writing skills all come in to play during a teacher’s daily routine, though sometimes indirectly.

For example, if a teacher is writing on a classroom board, they need to ensure that they are using proper grammar and spelling. In turn, their students will then most likely use proper grammar and spelling as well.

“A teacher needs to have these basic skills mastered, because these are important foundations that we as educators need to pass on to the future,” says Megan Lynch, a Praxis Core tutor for the Center for Student Achievement at Salisbury University. “Every teacher candidate must ask themselves ‘would I want my child to be taught by a person who does not know reading, math, and writing?’ ”

Students, especially elementary school students, learn copious amounts of information from their teachers. It is vital that their teachers are able to provide them with basic knowledge that they will use for the rest of their lives.

According to a 2016 survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 70.2 percent of employers surveyed said they look for written communication skills on recent college graduates’ resumes, while 68.9 percent said the same for verbal communication skills.

Both written and verbal communication skills are learned through reading and writing.

Also, 70.2 percent of employers and 62.7 percent of employers said they look for problem solving skills, and analytical and quantitative abilities on recent college graduates’ resumes.

Mathematics can help students develop problem solving skills, especially analytical and quantitative skills. This proves that reading, writing and mathematics are important for students to have not only while they are in school, but also to help them get hired later in life.

What is most important is that the Praxis Core test evaluates reading, writing and mathematics skills. Teachers in every subject area use the concepts covered in the Praxis Core in teaching and everyday life.

Although it is expensive, the test helps education students prepare for their future careers as successful teachers.

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