The Praxis Core test is designed by a group of educators to measure what they think new teachers need to know. For a few different reasons, yes, the Praxis is valid!
Here is what ETS has to say about the test design:
“Educators, faculty of teacher preparation programs and disciplinary specialists prepare Praxis test questions. The developers and reviewers follow rigorous, standardized procedures to ensure that test material reflects the skills being tested and meets high quality assessment standards. Each question is reviewed by ETS experts as well as content advisory groups, who are also engaged in establishing guidelines and standards for what the tests should measure.
“After test questions have been reviewed and revised, they are administered in trial situations and assembled into tests. Tests are then reviewed according to ETS procedures to ensure that all tests are free of cultural bias. Statistical analyses of individual questions ensure that all items provide appropriate measurement information.”
• First off, we know that the Praxis is made by people who know their stuff.
That’s good! That way you know your study time will be useful in making sure you know what you need before going in front of a classroom.
• Next, we now that ETS has measured each question before the tests are given.
That way they know that a question on, say, context clues actually measures how well you can figure out context clues. That is the strict scientific definition for whether or not a test is valid (called “construct validity”).
• We also know that they have talked to several groups of experts.
That way, they have figured out if they are asking questions about the right things. This is another way of ensuring validity.
• The questions have been tested.
Not only are you being tested, but the test is being tested! Whoa.
Basically, both before and after questions make it into the test, ETS is looking at statistics and trial measures to make sure all is well.
• Tests are reviewed to make sure they are free of cultural bias.
ETS tries to make sure that no cultural group has any unfair advantage on the test.
They put a lot of work into making sure the Praxis is valid. You can use your test results from the Praxis core towards teacher certification in many U.S. states. Check out the list of state requirements and see if you need, or can use, your Praxis results.