The official Praxis website makes many references to selected response and constructed response in its test information and preparatory materials. To prepare effectively for the Praxis series of exams, it’s good to know what these terms mean. A deep understanding of the nature of these two response types can help you know what to do as you prepare for the exam. Knowing the difference between these two response types can also help you know what to expect after you take the exam, as score reporting differs for selected and constructed responses.
Selected Response Questions
In a nutshell, selected response questions are ones that can be scored automatically by a computer. On the Praxis, the majority of selected-response questions will be multiple choice. However, not every selected response question is multiple choice. Some selected responses ask you to key in an answer, typing it into the answer field yourself instead of just selecting the correct response among a list of options.
This is most commonly seen in certain math questions, ones where you must calculate and enter the correct number without selecting from a list of answer choices. Because there is only one correct answer, these non-multiple choice questions count as selected response. You are asked to select the only correct result of a math problem, and the answer is automatically gradable because it’s either right or wrong.
Constructed Response Questions
Constructed response questions are a bit more involved, and do not involve answers that are simply wrong or right. Constructed responses include Praxis tasks such as the two Core Writing essays, the creation of lesson plans in pedagogy-based exams, and other creative activities where test-takers express their views and teaching potential in a subjective, dynamic way. Because these kinds of questions are rated by a quality-based rubric, they can’t be graded automatically and instead must be reviewed by human scorers.
As you can imagine, it takes ETS longer to grade constructed responses, compared to selected responses. For the selected responses on a Praxis test, you’ll be given an unofficial score immediately in the test center, and will receive your official scores in 10-11 business days. For constructed responses, no score is available to you on test day, and official scoring will take an extra week—15-16 business days.
When preparing for Praxis selected-response assessments, be sure to focus on multiple choice test strategy. Know how to eliminate incorrect answers and understand the ways in which the Praxis tries to trick test-takers, distracting them from the correct response. In constructed-response prep, be sure to focus on the structure of your writing and also build your pacing skills. Pacing is especially important in Praxis constructed response, as creative writing and lesson planning can be quite time consuming. With practice, however, you can learn to write essays and create lesson plans efficiently and effectively, keeping within the exam’s time constraints while also meeting the standards required for a good score.