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Content Tests - Praxis
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- PRAXIS Content Assessments
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- About the Tests' Validity
In July 2016, the Colorado State Board of Education adopted PRAXIS® exams to assess teacher candidate performance in order to “provide high-quality, aligned content exams for the majority of Colorado’s endorsement areas.” Since then, Educational Testing Service (ETS) has been working with Colorado to not only provide the tests, but to show how these assessments do much more than make a candidate eligible to teach in a Colorado classroom.
Since 2016, thousands of candidates have taken PRAXIS tests. Knowing that a good sample of longitudinal data was now available to review, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), in conjunction with ETS, took a look at what the data showed.
The data reviewed offered reason for Colorado to celebrate. From a national standpoint and looking at state-adopted scores, Colorado is above the national average on exams they have adopted in 22 out of 27 areas. That translates into around 81% of folks receiving passing scores above that of other states. Highlights from the data included the areas of Agriculture, Art, Audiology, French, Marketing Education, Middle School Math, and Teaching Reading, which all recorded 100% pass rates in the last three years. In addition, seven other endorsement areas recorded pass rates above 95%.
Being above the national average in a majority of endorsement areas is great news, but there is still work to do. CDE is looking at what can be inferred from the data in order to identify areas where support may offered to assist Colorado stakeholders in making data-driven decisions to support the continual improvement process. To that end, CDE hosts periodic "data dives" to engage with Colorado educational preparation programs in a day-long event to examine their institution’s PRAXIS® data, spend time exploring resources available to them from both CDE and ETS, and collaborate with their colleagues on what works in education.
CDE and ETS are also working to expand testing center capacity in the state, as well as to help make sure teacher candidates have a comprehensive understanding of the support and materials available to them. Some of these resources include study companions, interactive practice tests, and individual analyses of test takers' performance on assessments who have had multiple attempts at passing.
Nick Bellack, ETS Client Relations Director for Colorado, pointed to ETS’s mission to promote quality and equity in education worldwide. He stated that working as a partner with Colorado serves to advance this mission and also allows ETS to gain feedback on how ETS can continually improve its service and products to Colorado and all its stakeholders.
The Praxis Subject Assessment exam is a content area exam accepted for meeting content competency requirements for certain Colorado endorsements.
- View our Colorado Endorsement Requirements page for a list of endorsement areas and accepted Praxis exams.
- View detailed information on what Colorado accepts and does not accept. Look for the state code of CO.
- View information on how to register for a test. When registering, please select the State of Colorado, Code 7040.
- The PRAXIS technical manual and other documents on the ETS website transparently address concerns about the validity and fairness of the Praxis content area assessments.
- ETS pays attention to the fairness and validity of test items during both test development and after test administration. During development, using the major professional standards for testing and psychological measurement as a foundation, they consider:
- the job-relatedness of the knowledge and skills being measured
- the appropriateness and fairness of the context
- item phrasing
- item difficulty
After test administration, ETS examines bias and fairness through a statistical review of the functioning of items for different groups (i.e., DIF statistics). The DIF analysis looks closely look group performance on each item and whether differences can be attributed to the fairness of the question or to varying levels of relevant knowledge across examinees. Differences in performance across groups is not necessarily an indication of test bias, but often a reflection of real differences in content knowledge and understanding.
ETS's A DIF Primer provides more details of DIF analysis and of the organization's efforts to develop and maintain tests that truly measure what they are designed to measure.
With regard to licensure requirements, CDE is required to use exams that measure the endorsement standards specified in State Board Rule. At the time the Praxis exams were reviewed and considered for adoption, each exam was carefully examined to ensure alignment to Colorado standards for each endorsement area. Annual reviews are performed to ensure this alignment doesn't “drift.”