David Recine

Praxis PLT Test: An Overview of the Principles of Learning and Teaching

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Praxis PLT test is often one of the required exams for teacher licensure. Praxis PLT has a role in licensing similar to Praxis Core; both are tests of general knowledge and serve as prerequisites for many different licenses.

While the Praxis Core measures foundational academic content knowledge in math and language arts, the PLT measures actual teaching skill. Additionally, teachers seeking licensure need to take all three Core exams (Math, Reading, Writing), but teachers usually only need to take one PLT. This is because the PLT lineup consists of four exams divided by age group. The exams test teachers’ knowledge of pedagogy in early childhood and the overlapping age groups of grades K-6, grades 5-9, and grades 7-12.

What Type of Questions Are on the Praxis PLT Test?

All four PLT exams have questions on many different aspects of pedagogy. Topics covered on the exam include (but are not limited to):

  • Learning Theory
  • Classroom Management
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Activity Planning
  • American Educational Law
  • Students with Special Needs
  • Testing and Assessment
  • School Administration

By far the most common topics are classroom management and learning theory. Often these two topics are combined into a single question. For example, a question might ask how a teacher can use learning theory to solve a specific classroom management problem.

Very few questions narrowly focus on just one aspect of pedagogy. Instead, all four Praxis PLT exams are holistic, integrating different concepts into single questions. The question structure is the same across all four exams as well. Each Praxis PLT question is multiple choice with four answers to choose from. Most PLT questions are independent of each other, with each question focusing on a new idea or situation. However, in some cases, the PLT presents a specific classroom scenario that has two questions attached to it rather than one.

Principles of Learning     and Teaching - Praxis PLT Test
Image by Mosborne01

The four PLT tests are similar in many ways. In fact, it’s even possible that the exact same question might appear on multiple versions of the test. Still, there are distinct differences between the PLT exams. The Praxis PLT Early Childhood and K-6 exams feature many more questions on developmental psychology, because younger children go through more dramatic developmental changes as they learn. And scenario questions vary by age, dealing with different teaching situations for different age groups. In general, the Praxis PLTs for grades 5-9 and 7-12 have more complicated scenarios, due to the more complex learning needs of adolescents.

If you are considering licensure in a state that requires the PLT, it’s a good idea to look at ETS’s official practice materials for the PLT you’ll take. And if you’re not sure which age group you’ll work with yet, you can check out all four versions. Here are the links:



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