Written by Derek Douglas
Praxis Exam Scoring Statistics
The Praxis Elementary Education Multiple Subjects Test is one of the most comprehensive credentialing tests available to the Virginia Board of Education. The computer-based exam quantifies a teacher's subjective knowledge before a teaching license is obtained. Despite its popularity, the national first-time pass rate is 46%, whereas Virginia's first-time pass rate is 57%.
For prospective teachers who want to avoid the approximately 4 hours and 35 minutes long exam, it can be broken into four smaller sub-tests as follows:
- Praxis Elementary Education Social Studies Test
- Praxis Elementary Education Reading & Language Arts Test
- Praxis Elementary Education Science Test
- Praxis Elementary Education Math Test
Whether taken as one exam or broken down into four sub-tests, Praxis exams continue to be one of the most widely accepted licensing exams available to teachers. Most states, including Virginia's Department of Education, accept Praxis exams to meet their licensing requirements. Since most states accept results from the Praxis exams, prospective teachers can have their exam results considered for job opportunities not only in Virginia but throughout the United States.
Why is the Praxis Exam Pass Rate so Low
While Virginia's first-time pass rate of 57% seems low, there are a couple of reasons for the lower pass rates. First, the Praxis tests do not require any formal education or prerequisites to take the test. The Virginia Department of Education benefits from this because people can become provisionally licensed through programs called, Career Switchers or Troops to Teachers when changing careers. While these programs help fill needed teaching roles, it leads to lower first-time pass rates.
Second, the lower pass rates are attributed to the difficulty of the tests. As standards for student performance continue to rise, the standards for teachers rise as well. As a result, lower pass rates occur because teachers have to excel in areas they may struggle with.
Luckily, teachers who do not pass the first time are allowed to retake the test as many times as needed. This leads to an overall pass rate of 87% in Virginia. For some teachers, this means they will take the exam three or more times before they pass, but most can pass after repeated tries or different study materials.
Benefits of Private vs. Public Schools
Unlike public schools that require passing a specific multi-subject test, private schools have more relaxed requirements regarding teacher certification. Private schools have more flexibility for the tests they can accept for licensing teachers, if a license is required. Options include allowing other multi-subject tests, such as the Early Childhood Education Praxis Practice Test or the Praxis Elementary Education CKT Test to be used to license teachers.
Teachers also have the option of specialization. Exams like the Praxis Teaching Reading Elementary Test or the Praxis Elementary Education Math CKT Test show teachers' competency as an elementary reading or math. The benefit of this path is teachers will only have to teach the subjects they want.
In Virginia, there is another private school teacher benefit that most other states do not offer. If the school board approves, teachers at private schools may not need to take any standardized exams or become licensed before gaining employment. According to Virgina Private School Law, there are a couple of instances that allow teachers to jump-start their teaching careers by being able to skip licensing. While this option helps some teachers start their careers sooner, it is difficult to find these positions without taking a standardized exam before becoming licensed to teach.
Description of Elementary Education in Virginia
Before teaching begins, like most states, Virginia requires teachers to submit their college transcripts, standardized exam scores, fingerprinting, and pass a background check. In addition, several extra steps need to be completed before a prospective teacher should apply for a license. The following certifications are needed before an application is considered:
- The Child Abuse/Neglect Recognition and Intervention Certification
- The Dyslexia Awareness Training Certification
- The Behavior Intervention and Support Training Certification
- The Cultural Competency Training Certification
- A CPR/AED Certification
List of Schools with Above Average Pass Rates
Below are the top Virginia schools having the highest first-time pass rates among private and public schools. Each of these schools exceeds the state average for first-time pass rate for the Praxis Elementary Education exam.
|School||Institution Type||2-year/4-year||First Attempt Pass Rate|
|1||Washington and Lee University||Private||4-year||94%|
|2||University of Virginia||Public||4-year||91%|
|3||William & Mary||Public||4-year||87%|
|4||Sweet Briar College||Private||4-year||80%|
|5||Christopher Newport University||Public||4-year||76%|
|6-Tie||James Madison University||Public||4-year||73%|
|6-Tie||Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University||Public||4-year||73%|
|9||University of Richmond||Private||4-year||70%|
|10-Tie||University of Mary Washington||Public||4-year||68%|
|12||Virginia Commonwealth University||Public||4-year||65%|
|13||George Mason University||Public||4-year||64%|
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit the PraxisExam.org rankings methodology page
Pass rate information is based on data published by the National Council on Teacher Quality
PRAXIS Exam Test Prep Material
Proper preparation allows for a higher chance of passing any exam. Utilization of the Praxis II test preparation materials is an available option to help supplement a teacher's subjective knowledge and give them the best opportunity to pass any Praxis exam on the first try.