Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Preparing for the Praxis: A Review of Study Resources

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Preparing for the Praxis: A Review of Study Resources

Article excerpt

The School Psychology Praxis Exam (Educational Testing Service, 2014a) is an important milestone in the professional lives of school psychologist trainees. Not only is a passing score on the exam required by many state education agencies to obtain state certification, but it is also required by NASP to be eligible for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. Consequently, this exam can be a source of anxiety for many graduate students in school psychology. Adding to this uncertainty was the release of a new Praxis School Psychologist test-revised to align better to the NASP 2010 Standards-in September 2014.

Although there is no substitute for high quality preparation through coursework and field experiences, test preparation materials can help reinforce examinees' knowledge and increase their confidence with the test content. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help graduate students and other examinees prepare for the Praxis. Although only one such resource has been aligned to the new exam at the time this article was written (August 2014), until others become available it is likely that study guides from the previous test edition will still serve a useful preparation strategy to complement other approaches. Accordingly, this article is designed to summarize the key features, perceived strengths, and perceived limitations of eight resources that can be used to prepare for the Praxis.

REVIEW OF RESOURCES

In this section, we summarize key features and potential uses of eight Praxis preparation resources we purchased and reviewed. Table 1 supplements this content with more detailed information on the resources and our perceptions of their strengths and limitations.

The Official Study Guide: School Psychologist Test

Published by ETS, the creators of the Praxis II Exam, The Official Study Guide (ETS, 2008) provides useful information about the purpose, background, development, and format of the test, including a thorough guide on understanding multiple-choice questions. This eBook provides its readers with study topics in each of the test's content areas, along with periodic questions that can be used to check knowledge along the way. Though the provided 90-item practice tests are not full length, they simulate actual test formats and provide correct answers and written explanations. Lastly, this guide includes last minute study tips and a study plan template that readers can use to ensure that they are prepared come test day. This brief eBook is meant to be a guide (rather than an informational resource) to help examinees study smarter.

The Praxis Study Companion: School Psychologist (5402)

This free mini resource providedby ETS overlaps in content with the Official Study Guide eBook; however, the newest Study Companion (ETS, 2014b) was recently released, and contains valuable information regarding the updated Praxis exam. The Study Companion contains an overview of the test includingtest specifics, the study plan template and a completed example template, 35 practice questions and answers, and strategies for taking the test. The updated version contains information on the computer-delivered test such as question formats (multiple choice, interactive graphics, clicking check boxes) and quick tips on how to succeed with these questions. Like The Official Study Guide, the Study Companion does not provide much specific content information, but gives broad overview of topics covered.

The Praxis Series Information Bulletin

This free resource is valuable to anyone taking a Praxis exam, not just aspiring school psychologists. The Information Bulletin (ETS, 2013-2014) contains a wide range of information, including paper versus electronic tests, disabilities and accommodations, tips and schedules for testing day, what to bring, acceptable and unacceptable documentation, contact information organized by question or concern, payment, fees and waivers, as well as scores and score reporting. …

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