State Tests

Many states use both Praxis I and II as part of their licensing of teachers, including any teachers with a special education degree, but also require that aspiring teachers or teachers seeking further licensing take certain other tests as well. The state tests cover a variety of topics and vary in difficulty. For example, for initial certification in the state of Alabama, an aspiring teacher must pass a basic skills assessment, the Workkeys Basic Skills Assessment, in addition to certain Praxis II tests.

Other states, like California, Alaska, and Oregon, also rely on various Praxis tests, but require that a teacher seeking licensure pass the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) as well. Like Praxis I, CBEST measures the basic reading, mathematics, and writing skills of a teacher seeking a license, but does not measure how well that teacher can teach those skills. There are three sections that include fifty multiple choice questions each in reading and mathematics, and two essay questions in the writing section. Testing is primarily done on the computer. The CBEST was devised by various California state entities, which also created the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). The CSET is used by a number of states to measure the ability to teach certain subjects.

States like Alaska and Washington use another skills test to evaluate potential teachers, the Washington Educator Skills Test (WEST). There are two types of WESTs. One is a basic skills test that measures an aspiring educator's abilities in reading, mathematics, and writing. It consists of two multiple choice sections and two essay writing questions. The other is an endorsement test that gauges content knowledge. Most of the endorsement tests consist of sets of multiple choice questions. The endorsement test is required for a teaching certificate in Washington in the specific subject area on which an aspiring teacher will focus.

Similar basic skills test have been created in other states as well. Florida has the Florida Teacher Certification Exams. There are several versions of this test, including the general knowledge version, which tests reading, math, and English language skills. Georgia uses the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators test, while Illinois employs the Illinois Certification Testing System. There is also the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification, the New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills, the New York States Teacher Certification Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, and the Oklahoma General Education Test. These basic skills tests are often used not only by their state of origin, but by other states as well.

Last Updated: 05/07/2014


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