Term Paper: Acing the Praxis Science

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Acing the Praxis

Science

As a part of teacher certification and licensure, most states require that the teacher candidate take a series of state mandated tests known as the Praxis. The Praxis consists of three different tests. The first test, also known as the PPST or Praxis I measures basic academic skills and abilities in reading, writing, and mathematics. Many colleges and universities use the first part of the Praxis for entry into their teacher education programs. The second test, Praxis II measures general and specific knowledge and different teaching skills and abilities. The Praxis II tests the skills and knowledge of the specific subject that will be taught such as Science or Mathematics. Finally, the third part of the test or Praxis III evaluates classroom performance. Praxis III takes place in an actual classroom and assesses the skills and abilities of the first year classroom teacher. It is mentored by a cooperating classroom teacher. Once the teaching candidate has successfully completed all three phases of the Praxis exam, state certification or licensure can be awarded. The Praxis tests are divided into various codes which correspond to the different areas of teaching. This paper will focus on code 0014 which is the test for elementary content. More specifically, this paper will focus on Science for the elementary level. Physical, life and earth science will be explained in detail with test taking-strategies, tips and information to help the student ace the Praxis.

Praxis 2

Test-Taking Strategies

The content area of the Praxis II Science test consists of multiple choice and constructed-response questions. Every time a student takes a Praxis test, the questions will be multiple choice and constructed-response questions, but every time, the questions will be different., Nevertheless, the questions will always test the same areas and domains within the subject content area. There are several strategies that can be applied to improve the chance of answering the multiple choice questions correctly. As the teacher candidate is preparing to take the Science content area test of the Praxis II, the following strategies can help improve the student's chance of correctly answering the questions.

First and foremost, it is very important that the student know what materials are covered on the test. Information and practice questions can be found in Testing at a Glance at www.ets.org/praxis.Within the Elementary Science part of the Praxis II questions pertaining to Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Science will be assessed. In the booklet "Praxis II: Subject Assessments General Information and Study Tips" found at www.ets.orgoffers some strategies for preparing to know what content information is evaluated on the test. This booklet contains a Study Plan for the student to use to organize his/her thoughts about the content area that is known and not known well. "People often glance at the specifications or at the test questions and think that Praxis 3 they know the content of the test. Many of these people also report after the tests that they think the tests were not difficult, and that they did well. And yet a surprising number of these same people actually do not pass" (www.ets.org) Therefore, it is very important that the student takes the time to learn exactly what content material will be on the test and determine how much or how little they will need to review and study before taking the test. It is recommended by the Educational Testing Services that if the student has been away from the content area for a long period of time, that they spend more time reviewing the content area before taking the test. (www.ets.org)

There are also some strategies that can be applied during the test that can improve the chances of answering the multiple choice and constructed-response questions correctly. For example, knowing how to read a test question can be very beneficial. When reading each question, it is very important that the student clearly understands what exactly is being asked in the question. Attention should be focused on the details that the question asks and how the question asks for the answer. For example, if words such as "least," "not" or "except" appear in the question, it is asking for a negative response. If there are graphs or charts with the question, read the question first, then examine the graph or chart for the answer and do not answer more than the question is asking. It is important that the student does not become discouraged by big or unknown terminology. These words may become evident if they are read in complete context. The more the student understands the details of the question, the more likely the correct

Praxis 4 answer will be chosen. It is ok to write notes in the margin of the test booklet. Writing what each question asks and about the detail in the margin of the test booklet will help the student focus on what exactly the question is asking.

In addition to multiple choice questions, there will also be constructed-response questions. (Plato Learning) These are questions that will ask the student to write an essay, draw a graph, create a map or draw out a math proof. As with multiple choice questions, it is important to thoroughly read and understand exactly what the constructed-response question is asking. These types of questions should be analyzed exactly like the multiple choice questions. Look for the negative words such as "least," "not" or "except." The student should focus on clearly understand what exactly the question is asking and how the response should be constructed. The student should underline what the question is asking him/her to do. Many students lose points because they did not answer the question by answering what the question wanted them to do. (www.ets.org).Second, the student should answer all parts of the constructed-response question. Many of the constructed-response questions on the test will ask the student to do more than one thing to completely answer the question and many students lose points because they do not answer the question in its entirety. (www.ets.org).

There are also several general things that can help improve the final score of the Praxis II elementary Science test. For example, if the student has been away from the content subject matter for a long period of time, then more time

Praxis 5 should be spent reviewing and studying. The student should only take the Praxis when they feel comfortable with the content matter. The Praxis is offered several times per year, so it is very important that the student sign up to take the test only when they feel comfortable enough with the subject matter materials.

Physical Science

Physical Science is one area that will be tested on the Praxis II, Code 0014 test. This is Physical Science for the elementary school teacher. There will be approximately 22 questions in Physical Science. This is 18% of the entire test. There will be a 90 minute multiple choice test and a 30 minute constructed response section. On this test, "the questions require a variety of abilities, including definition of terms, comprehension of critical concepts, application and analysis, to address and solve problems." (ETS). The specific areas of the Physical Science test include; physics (mechanics, waves, electricity and magnetism), and chemistry (periodicity, mole and chemical bonding, kinetic theory and states of matter, chemical reactions, and solutions).

According to the ETS, a sample question from the Physical Science test is:

Some substances have no noticeable odor because these substances:

are soluble in water.

Praxis 6 cannot lose the heat that must be lost before an odor can be detected.

I have relatively few molecules escaping into the air.

I do not have molecules with one of the two molecular arrangements required to give an odor.

Multiple choice questions must be read carefully and each answer must be carefully considered. As with the above question, the student should determine what the question and look for the answer that best answers this question. (Burdette)

Life Sciences

Life Science is another area that will be tested on the Science content area of the Praxis II. Similar to the Physical Science test, the Life Science test consists of 22 questions which are approximately 22% of the test.

ETS). On this part of the test, the student will encounter questions about cells, genetics, evolution, diversity of life, animals, and ecology. A sample question from the life sciences includes:

Which of the following is most directly involved in controlling levels of sugar in the blood?

Hemoglobin

Praxis 6

Calcitonin

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

Insulin

This question is asking the student to choose the right answer from a list of four possible answers. Once again the student must carefully and completely read the question and determine what the question is asking. A student may also use process of elimination if they have a good idea to which answers are definitely not correct. (Fitzer and Bristor)

Earth Science

Finally, Earth Science is the third subject area that will be seen on the Praxis II test. Questions from Physical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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