Jersey Goes South

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 21 2012

Praxis reflections

I have finally gotten my score reports for both the Middle School Math (0069) and Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Applications (5015). For Math, I passed with flying colors for both NJ and NC (which is significantly lower than Jersey). I wasn’t worried about that one at all, because I’ve been a math tutor on and off since I was 17, and have tutored the lower level math courses at my college for the last 2 years.

The Elementary Education praxis, though…I think I had nightmares about this one. First of all, it’s a fairly new test. North Carolina switched to 5015 from 0011/0012 literally days before we were accepted. It was so soon that when we received our first email with instructions for what test to register for, our regional directors were still under the impression we had to take 0011/0012.

Not only is it new, but only a handful of states use it. In addition to NC, it’s South Carolina, Maryland, Nevada, and Washington DC. It was hard to find a review book for it, and the one I did find was a miserable excuse for a practice book. I went into the test feeling horribly under prepared, and was so stressed and upset after I took it I had to stop at Wendy’s for a frosty and a burger (mind you, this was at 11am and I almost NEVER eat fast food — I was stressed). I definitely thought I failed it, and was basically waiting for the scores to come out to confirm my beliefs so I could sign up to retake it.

And then I passed. And not just barely-scraped-by-passed-by-one-point passing. I passed by 14 points on a (technically) 100 point scale. I scored 175 out of 200, with a passing score being 161. My raw score was 78/103, or about 75%. I only got 75% of the test right, but I passed by 14 points. As happy as I am that I don’t have to retake it…what?! How is that possible? I could I go into that test knowing LESS than the bare minimum, guessing at questions and BSing the open endeds, and still pass by so much?

Yes, I could just be a good test taker, I could have been more prepared than I gave myself credit for…trust me, I’ve thought about those, too. They’re plausible explanations. But something just still doesn’t seem right. Especially after reading this post about the Praxis exams. Is it possible that the state standards for passing the Praxis are just too low? To be completely honest, I don’t feel prepared to teach an elementary school class in a few months. I have a lot more reading and research to do before I get there. But somehow, some way, the state of North Carolina thinks I am.

2 Responses

  1. Lizzy

    The US Dept of Ed did a great study you should read – Basically there is a huge gap between people who pass and people who don’t and the tests exist to serve exactly that purpose. There are false positives and negatives. You can read more about that (effective teachers who can’t pass content exams and vice versa) here:

    • jersey

      I’ve been terrible with keeping up with comments, but thank you! I read both of these and they were really enlightening!

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Jersey girl moving south for TFA

Eastern North Carolina
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Elementary Education

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