The moment you complete a Praxis Core exam in the testing center, you’ll be able to view your unofficial Praxis scores for Reading and Math immediately. At most testing centers, you will also be given your raw score as soon as the exam ends.
Praxis Scores: Raw vs Unofficial
The raw score of any exam is simply the ratio of correct to incorrect answers to questions. So if you take the Praxis Core English exam and get 50 out of the 56 questions right, your raw score would be 50.
In contrast, the unofficial score is more complex. For one thing, the unofficial score is based on the percentage of answers you get right, not the percentage of correct questions. Although your raw score gives each question a value of one raw point, sometimes a question has more than one correct answer and is thus worth more than one point in scaled score calculations. If a question has multiple correct answers (as seen on pages 46-47 of the Core Reading Study Companion and pages 36-37 of the Core Math Study Companion), it would contribute more than one point to the percentage of correct responses, as calculated in the unofficial score.
The unofficial score is also based on the Praxis Core’s 100-200 point grading scale. This means the lowest possible score on a Praxis Core exam is 100 points, the highest possible score is 200, and the point range is 100. To calculate the unofficial score, the Praxis takes the percentage of correct responses and proportionally adjusts it to the 100 point range within the 100-200 scale. Click here to see passing scores by test and state.
To show you exactly how this adjustment works, let’s look at an example. Suppose you took a Praxis Core Reading exam that had 52 questions with only one possible answer choice, and 4 questions where you needed to select two correct answers. This would mean 60 possible correct answers. Now suppose you got half of those answers right. (This would be a terrible score, but half is a simple, easy-to-understand proportion for this example.) Your adjusted score would have 50 points, half of the 100 point scoring range. But since the scoring range starts at 100 instead of starting at zero, the actual adjusted score number would be 150.
Unofficial Praxis Score vs. Official Praxis Score
The difference between the raw and unofficial Reading/Math scores is somewhat complicated, as you can see above. The difference between your official and unofficial Praxis scores is much simpler. In fact, the vast majority of the time, there is no difference between the unofficial and official scores. This is because the Praxis Core is not adjusted for the relative difficulty of a set of questions, or the performance of other students on the same questions you took.
ETS does make difficulty and average-performance based adjustments for some of its other exams, such as the TOEFL and GRE. But with Praxis Core scores, what you see is what you get—both the unofficial and official scores are based on your percentage of correct answers, and nothing more.
Why You Still Need to Wait for Official Scores
There is one instance in which your official score can be different from the unofficial score you get on test day: test-center error. It’s possible for the test center computer to make some sort of miscalculation, assigning the wrong number of points to the raw score, or accidentally counting the number of right and wrong answers… that sort of thing. It’s rare for this to happen, but it can happen. And when it does happen, it’s obviously important to catch such mistakes. The screening process for this takes time.
It also takes extra time to calculate Praxis Core Writing scores. This is because essays are constructed responses. They involve far more than just entering in an answer that is either correct or incorrect. The quality of a test-taker’s writing must be carefully assessed by an actual human being. Only after getting your writing rated can you get a full score on the three-skill Core assessment required in most states. These three official scores will be available 10-16 days after you sit for the three-subject version of the exam.
Average Praxis Scores
The minimum Praxis score required for licensure is the number you’ll want to pay the most attention to as you prepare for the Praxis.
However, it’s also good to know how you did in comparison to other test-takers, for a variety of reasons. Demonstrating above average Praxis performance can give you an edge in your job hunt, and is definitely worth mentioning on a resume or in a cover letter. Moreover, higher-than-average Praxis scores also look great if you apply for a graduate program in education or a promotion at your school. And in the most immediate future, some universities offer peer tutoring positions and other perks to students who stand above their classmates in terms of Praxis performance.
ETS makes the national averages for Praxis scores easily accessible. The national average score range appears right on your Praxis score report. But you can also look up the national averages for each Praxis exam in advance on the official Praxis website.
Bear in mind that the national average score ranges for each exam change a little from year to year. The current year averages are always linked directly to the “Understanding Your Scores” page on the Praxis website, and you can also go directly to the 2015-2016 averages (current as I write this) right here. If you already took the Praxis sometime in the last several years, the ETS archive for average score ranges by test is still available for 2014-2015, 2013-2014, 2012-2013, and 2011-2012.
State Averages and School District Averages
ETS does not publish averages Praxis scores by state, much less by individual school district. Still, knowing if you’re above the average within your state or district can be useful. Every state has different Praxis benchmarks for licensure, and schools often look at applicants in terms of their in-state competitiveness. It can’t hurt to contact a state department of education or a local school district office to see if they keep statistics on average Praxis scores, so that you can aim for a truly competitive score.
Averages within a Teacher Education Program
Most university teacher education programs do keep tabs on the average Praxis scores of their teachers-in-training. If you attend a public university, you may even be able to get the averages for all student teachers within your state’s university system. Check with your adviser or department chair to see how other students in your program have been performing. Then aim to outdo the current average. Being at the top of your class can only help you in your academic career and your future teaching career.
Many teacher preparation programs and potential employers will be interested in knowing your unofficial Praxis scores, even before the official ones are formally issued. (For example, I was asked to show my unofficial scores to The New Teacher Project after receiving a conditional job offer from them.) It’s very important to understand the difference between your raw score and your unofficial score, so that you can state your unofficial score correctly. It’s also important to know that your official score could be different from your unofficial score, but that such a scenario is unlikely.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We’ve gotten a lot of comments and questions in response to this post, both about unofficial Praxis Core scores, and about Praxis scoring in general. If you have a question about your scores on the Praxis Core or on another Praxis test, check out the comments section below this article. There’s a good chance you’ll find an answer to your question.
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