Predicting Your Praxis Score When Constructed Response is Involved

Predicting Your Praxis Score When Constructed Response is Involved -magoosh

The wait for your official Praxis score can be maddening, doubly so when you’re waiting for a Praxis constructed response score.

As a reminder, constructed response refers to portions of the Praxis test that require you to write an essay or a short answer. While “selected response” and numeric entry questions on the Praxis are either right or wrong, constructed response questions are graded on a scoring scale. As a result, constructed response problems must be scored by an actual human being. This means that if your test includes constructed response, you can’t get an unofficial scaled score estimate in the test center. In that case, you’ll only see your number of correct selected response answers on test day.

Now, here’s the good news: it is possible to estimate your scores for constructed response questions. It’s also possible to estimate how constructed response will impact your overall Praxis score. How can you do that? I’m glad you asked. Read on!

How to Predict Your Praxis Score in Praxis Tests with Constructed Response: The Basics

There are over 100 Praxis exams that test knowledge in countless teaching areas. In spite of all this variety, there is one method that covers score prediction for all of the Praxis exams that have constructed response questions.

The first thing you’ll want to do is look at the Official Study Companion for the Praxis test you’re taking. The Study Companion is a free online PDF that you should be able to find with a quick Google search. (It’ll be a link on the main official page for your Praxis test on the ETS website.)

When you’re dealing with constructed response on the Praxis, the Study Companion will help you in two ways. First, near the beginning of the PDF, you’ll see what percentage of your score is based on the constructed responses; this information is usually found on page 5 of a given Praxis Study Companion. Second, near the end of the PDF, you’ll see scoring criteria, scoring scale, and scored sample constructed responses. You can think about your own constructed responses an how they measure up to the standards, and then you can estimate your likely constructed response score.

Once you have that information– the percentage of your exam taken up by constructed response, and your estimated performance on constructed response– you can run those numbers against your selected response performance and calculate a predicted score.

How to Predict Your Praxis Score in Praxis Tests with Constructed Response: An Example

Does the process above sound confusing to you? If it does, don’t feel bad! A lot of Praxis preppers have trouble understanding the math for constructed response score prediction at first. It may help to give you an example of this predictive math in action.

So let’s look at a case study, based on scores that a Magoosh Praxis student submitted in the comments for our article “Understanding Your Praxis Raw Score.” This student had just taken Praxis 5543 (Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications). For reference, here is the Praxis 5543 Study Companion. According to that Study Companion, there were three constructed response questions, each graded on a scale of 1 to 3. Together, these three responses represent 25% of the final score.

The student wanted to know a worst case scenario, what their score would be like if they did poorly on the selected response questions. The student asked what their final scaled score might be if they got a 1 out of 3 on each of the three selected-response questions, alongside a 58% score in Selected Response for the test. (The selected response score was based on 52/90 correct answers for Praxis 5543’s multiple choice questions.)

The Steps for this Case Study

Note: Again, the math operations are applicable to any Praxis exam that includes constructed response.

52/90 is roughly 58% on the selected response portion of your exam. Since selected response is 75% of Praxis 5543’s score, a 5543 test-taker must calculate 58% of 75% to get the number of percentage points that would be applied to the whole test score for selected response. In the case of this score, calculate 0.58*0.75. This equals 0.435, or 43.5%. So with selected response alone, the test taker has earned 43.5% of their score.

Next, the constructed response questions for Praxis 5543 are worth 25% of the whole-test score. If the test-taker gets a 1/2 on each question, they’ve earned roughly 33% on the constructed response section of the test, one-third of the top possible score. To figure out how many percentage points this contributes to the whole-test score, the test-taker needs to find 33% of 25%. 0.33*0.25 = 0.0825, or 8.25%.

8.25% + 43.5% = 51.75%, which would give the test-taker an unofficial scaled score of either 151 or 152 (the raw score would simply be 52 for selected response, and 3 for constructed response). That worst case scenario doesn’t quite get the test taker to their minimum required scaled score of 160. However, if the test-taker could get 64/90 in selected response, they would be just over the cutoff for a 160 on your Praxis test. Similarly, a 2/3 on each selected response question would put the student just at the 60% or 160 cutoff. Since official scores can be slightly adjusted up or down from the unofficial score, it’s best for the student to aim as high above the cutoff as they can, of course.

A Word About Constructed Response in Praxis Core Writing

The official study companion for Praxis Core Writing does not say exactly how much of the score is taken up by the two Praxis Core Writing essays. Instead, the Praxis Core Writing Study Companion states that the entire “Text Types, Purposes, and Production” section of the test takes up 60% of the final score. This section includes two constructed response essays and 6-12 selected response questions.

How confusing is that? I actually called Praxis Customer Service and asked them exactly what percentage of the Praxis Core Writing score comes from the essays alone. They weren’t very forthcoming, but they did tell me two things that allowed me to calculate the estimated percentage value of the Core Writing essays.

The ETS representative I spoke with told me that every selected response question on the test is worth an equal number of points. The rep also told me that the two essays are worth an equal portion of the score. Based on that, I was able to get a pretty good estimate of what percentage of the score is represented by each individual essay. Let me walk you through the math. 🙂

The Math for Scoring Praxis Core Writing Essays

First, I noticed that the “Language and Research Skills For Writing” section consisted entirely of constructed response. That portion of the exam will consist of 28-34 constructed response questions. From there, I averaged 28 and 34 together and realized that the “Language & Research” section has an average of 31 questions. Once I got that number, I divided 40%– the total percentage of the score for that section– by 31. 40%/31 = 1.29%. So each question in the Language/Research section of Praxis Core Writing is worth about 1.3% of the overall final score. And since all selected response questions are worth the same amount, regardless of section, that means that the Core Writing exam’s 40 total selected response questions are worth 40 times 1.3% of the final score, or 52% of the final score.

If the 40 selected response questions represent 52% of the final score, finding the weight of each individual essay is easy. The Praxis Core Writing essays must represent the other 48% of the score for the test. And since each essay has equal value, the first and second essays are each worth 24% of the final Core Writing score.

Now that you have those numbers, you can take the math I used earlier in the article for Praxis 5543 and apply it to a score prediction for Praxis Core Writing. (Again, the scoring ranges and standards for each essay can be found in the Core Writing Study Companion PDF.)

A Word About Self Scoring Your Constructed Repsonses

A Final Note

Be cautioned that grading your own essays and short answers can be difficult. To get the best possible sense of your performance in practice constructed response questions, show your work to someone else. Ideally, you could share your work with a professor or academic tutor at your teacher training school. Make sure your tutor or teacher is aware of the scoring standards from the applicable Study Companion. There are many different Praxis tests, and even the most accomplished Praxis teacher may not be familiar with every exam’s standards.

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh Praxis Prep!

29 Responses to Predicting Your Praxis Score When Constructed Response is Involved

  1. Holly December 10, 2018 at 3:53 PM #

    I just took the Praxis Core Writing today, and I feel confident about the 40 questions and the 1st essay, but I know I did not do well on the 2nd essay. I’m trying to find some speck of hope that it’s possible that I still passed. Unfortunately I cannot wrap my head around this math, whether because my brain is fried or I’m just not good at math. Can you help figure this out?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 12, 2018 at 7:34 PM #

      Hi Holly!

      We can definitely help you estimate your score. 🙂 Would you mind providing some more details on what you felt your raw scores were? 😀

      • Danielle September 7, 2019 at 12:17 PM #

        Hi there. I’m pretty bummed, but am hoping for some descent news here or words of wisdom. I just took the Praxis for Middle School English #5047. I felt I did pretty well, overall, on the multiple choice…there were 110 questions. I got to the essay part and the first essay, I felt I did very well. Then I went to the next section for the second essay and there wasn’t one. It clearly states everywhere that this particular exam does, in fact, have two essays. I called over the proctor to my work station/computer and she basically said that there was no glitch in the system and there was nothing they could do. I was super bummed because I felt, prior to this, that I would have most likely passed my exam. Will my test automatically be disqualified without even having a second essay when the person scores the exam? And if so, do I even have a chance of still passing it? I don’t feel I aced the multiple choice section, but I do feel I would have passed it, for sure. I have kind of felt sick about this because I worry I won’t be able to pass it again and/or have to pay to take the entire test all over again. I am a writer and would have been happy to write a second essay. I even tried googling this situation, but can’f find anything anywhere about this every happening. Any information or insight about this would be really helpful. Thank you so much!!

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 1, 2019 at 1:34 PM #

          Hi Danielle,

          Our expertise is in the Praxis Core exams and I’m afraid we aren’t experts in all of the many Praxis exams there are out there. According to the Study Companion, there should be two constructed response questions in the Praxis 5047. If you suspect a glitch or other irregularity, I recommend contacting ETS immediately.

      • Tara Villanueva July 16, 2020 at 5:12 PM #

        I TOOK THE 5025 PRAXIS AND DONT UNDERSTAND THE SCORING… PLEASE HELP.. that all that was shown to me
        Correct answers ;;69
        Incorrect answers;;51

        Language & Literacy 36 questions 17 correct
        Mathematics 30 questions 20 correct
        Social Studies 17 questions 11 correct
        Science 17 questions 8 correct
        Health Physical Creative Arts 20 questions 13 correct

  2. Beth Stockinger March 9, 2019 at 1:12 PM #

    I just took a practice test for 5621 and got 59 out of 70 on the selected response section. There are 4 constructed response questions, scored 0-2 (overall worth 25%). My guess for my scoring on the constructed response questions in #1: 2, #2: 1, #3: 1, #4: 0. Can you please show me the math for calculating my score? (passing is 160).
    Also, can you help me calculate my score for worst case scenario on the constructed response?

    Thank you!

    • David Recine
      David Recine March 11, 2019 at 11:51 AM #

      Hi Beth! Let’s take a look here. So you got 59/70 on selected response, and selected response is worth 75% overall. 59/70 = 84%, so you earned 84% of 75% of your score for the multiple choice portion of the test. This is 63% (.84*.75 = 0.63 = 63%).

      Next, based on your guess, you may have gotten 4/8 on your constructed response questions. This is 50% in that section, so you earned 50% of 25%, or 12.5% of your total test here.

      63% + 12.5% = 75.5%, which we’ll round down to a 175 to be safe. (Recall that your Praxis score is the percentage you got correct, plus 100.)

      So you may have gotten a 175. Great news! Now, here’s some more great news: If you got 0 on all of your constructed responses, you would likely still pass. After all, that would leave you with a 63% just from selected response alone. That’s equivalent to 162. And while the Praxis does sometimes adjust your score a little int he official score report, scores are seldom adjusted by more than 3 points, and are usually adjusted upward rather than downward.

      It really does seem very likely you passed! 🙂 If you get a chance, come back and let us know how things went once your official score report comes in.

      • Beth Stockinger March 11, 2019 at 1:53 PM #

        This was very helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time.

  3. Dawn P May 24, 2019 at 3:29 AM #

    Hi! I just took the writing core praxis exam. There is a total of 40 selected response questions. There are two constructed response essays. The essays are based on scores 1-6. I did not get my unofficial score back for the selected response. However, I feel confident in my constructed response. I feel like I may have gotten a 3 or 4 on each essay. I may have gotten 25-27 questions correct on the multiple choice. Can you help me calculate my scores? What is the lowest I could get on the multiple choice to pass with a 162? Thank you so much.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 24, 2019 at 9:45 AM #

      Hi Dawn,

      Praxis Core writing score is a bit more difficult to estimate because one of the content categories includes both multiple choice and essays, and the number of multiple choice questions varies (see the Core Writing PDF from ETS for more info). In order to get a 162, you need to get at least 62% of the points on the test. Let’s say that you got a 3 out of 6 on both essays; that means you got 50% of the points for that part of the test. So, you’ll need to get 74% of the multiple choice questions in section 1 correct in order to average out to 162. So, if there were 10 multiple choice answers in section 1, you’ll want to get at least 7 of them right.

      Section 2 has between 28 and 34 questions, so again the number you must answer correctly depends on how many total questions you had. You should aim for at least 62% correct. If you got 34 questions, that would mean that you needed to get at least 21 correct in section II.

      There is a lot of speculation in this method since I don’t now how many total questions you had, and since estimating scores in this way is an imperfect science because of the scaling process that the Praxis uses. I understand how difficult it is to wait for the results, but unfortunately it may be even more frustrating and disheartening to try to make this estimate. Best of luck 🙂

      • vanessa November 6, 2019 at 9:32 AM #

        So im not sure how i did on the multiple choice but i know i did horrible on the essays.
        I maybe got a 3 or 4 if im lucky on the first
        and a 1 or 2 on the second essay
        as for the multiple choice, im not sure how i did. i feel confident that i did well.
        do i have a chance of passing

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 3:11 PM #

          Hi Vanessa,

          You have likely already received your scores, so my answer won’t make much of a difference 🙂 It’s important to recognize that these are just estimates, and that each test will be scaled differently. I’ll also mention that “passing” is subjective–each state/district has their own rules, so I can’t say for sure whether you passed or not 🙂

  4. Tanya June 4, 2019 at 9:36 PM #

    Hello, I am having a hard time trying to figure out where I need to go back and study for the Praxis core 5722 writing test. I was stressing this day and ran out of time so I did not pass, but the scores are confusing. I am not sure if the questions I failed to answer in the selected response areas were the cause of the barely missing the required scores needed of 162. I am not sure if it was possibly my essays or if I did well on them. Please help.

    Here are my scores: Multiple choice section- 19 out of 34
    Essay section-12 out of 24.
    total score of 156.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 5, 2019 at 3:58 PM #

      Hi Tanya! Sorry to hear you didn’t get the score you were hoping for. It looks to me like your section scores are pretty even. If you’re asking whether you should work on one or the other, it might be better to do both. You’re absolutely right that you only needed a few more points, so just a little more studying should get you over the edge! I hope this helps 🙂

  5. Kris June 16, 2019 at 11:02 AM #


    How are the listening and writing sections on the content Spanish praxis exam scored?
    There are 3 responses to writing and 3 responses to speaking with 0-3 on each. The % are 18% for writing and 18% for speaking…the rest are multiple choice responses.
    The passing score is 163 so what would I need to get on each free response in order to pass if I only get 50/75 on multiple choice questions. Thank you!

  6. Ryan June 19, 2019 at 8:20 PM #

    For Praxis Core Writing: does the exam provide the total number of correct selected response questions or do you have to wait for those as well? Thanks so much.

  7. Kristina August 1, 2019 at 5:34 PM #

    Hi I took the praxis core today. Passed the reading and math! Just speculating, if I got a 3 and a 4 on the essays, and about 23-25/40 right on the multiple choice section what would my score be? Thanks! Just hoping I passed everything the first time through

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 23, 2019 at 1:33 PM #

      Hi Kristina, using the method outlined in this article, this score would be around a 161-164.

  8. Angie November 2, 2019 at 6:40 AM #

    Is it possible to score 0 on short content essays? Just got score from Praxis 5089 SS.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 3:06 PM #

      Hi Angie,

      According to the Praxis 5089 study companion, a score of 0 is a completely inaccurate or incorrect response (see page 23)

  9. Tawana February 14, 2020 at 9:10 PM #

    I took Praxis 5543 today. I read the guide and they cautioned to answer the questions. I kept that in mind

  10. Charles Jackson July 9, 2020 at 9:00 AM #

    Writing Praxis; Let’s say that I got 27 out of 40 questions correct and received a 2 of 6 on one essay and a 3 of 6 on another essay. What will my pass rate be?

  11. Kristy October 29, 2020 at 6:44 PM #

    I took the writing praxis today. I believe I got around 28-30 of the multiple choice and maybe a total of 12 or so out of 24 on the essays. Will I pass with a 165 or better?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 30, 2020 at 1:40 PM #

      Hi Kristy, I wish that we could give you a clear answer, but it’s very difficult to estimate scores based on hypothetical information. I hope that you can use the information in this blog post to estimate your score, but keep in mind that you’ll have to wait for the official score to be released to be sure!

  12. lu December 4, 2020 at 12:16 PM #

    hello i got my unofficial score on the praxis core math and it was 131 whats the chances of this going to 150? i need that to pass. thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 15, 2021 at 10:10 AM #

      In most cases, the unofficial score and the official score are the same. There is a small chance that your score might change be one or two points, but I’m afraid you can’t count on it. and I’ve never hard of such a dramatic score increase. Unfortunately, you will likely have to retake the test.

  13. Chelsey March 31, 2021 at 11:08 AM #

    I took the 5543 praxis practice test and got 81/90 on the selected response and I’m going to just assume 1’s on the writing portion. Could you help me figure my score?

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