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ABOUT THIS BOOK AND TestWare®
If you’re looking to secure certification as a secondary social studies teacher, many states and districts require the Praxis II Social Studies: Content Knowledge 0081 test (Praxis II 0081). Think of this book and the accompanying TestWare as your toolkit to pass the test. It will help take the mystery and anxiety out of the testing process by equipping you not only with the nuts and bolts, but also, ultimately, with the confidence to succeed alongside your peers across the United States.
We at REA have put a lot of thought into this, and the result is a book that pulls together all the critical information you need to know to pass the test. Let us help you fill in the blanks—literally and figuratively! We will provide you with the touchstones that will allow you to do your very best come test day and beyond. In this guide, REA offers our customary in-depth, up-to-date, objective coverage, with test-specific modules devoted to targeted review and realistic practice exams, in printed form and on the enclosed TestWare on CD-ROM, complete with the kind of detail that makes a difference when you’re coming down the homestretch in your preparation. We also include a quick-view answer key and competency-categorized progress chart to enable you to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. We strongly recommend that you begin your preparation with the TestWare tests, which provide timed conditions and instantaneous, accurate scoring.
ABOUT THE PRAXIS SERIES
Praxis is Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) shorthand for Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. The Praxis Series is a group of teacher-certification and licensing tests that ETS developed in concert with states across the nation. There are three categories of tests in the series: Praxis I, Praxis II, and Praxis III. Praxis I includes the paper-based Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) and the Praxis I Computer-Based Tests (CBT). Both versions cover essentially the same subject matter. These exams measure basic reading, mathematics, and writing skills and are often a requirement for admission to a teacher education program.
Praxis II embraces Subject Assessment/Specialty Area Tests, of which the Praxis II Social Studies: Content Knowledge 0081 is a part. Most Praxis II examinations cover the subject matter that students typically study in teacher education courses such as language acquisition, school curriculum, methods of teaching, and other professional development courses. However, the Praxis II 0081 is expressly for prospective and practicing social studies teachers; it measures skills and knowledge in the areas of U.S. History, World History, Government/Civics/Political Science, Geography, Economics, and the additional behavioral sciences of Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology.
Praxis III is different from the multiple-choice and essay tests typically used for assessment purposes. With this assessment, ETS-trained observers evaluate an instructor’s performance in the classroom, using nationally validated criteria. The observers may videotape the lesson, and other teaching experts may critique the resulting tapes.
Who Takes the Test?
Most people who take the Praxis II Social Studies: Content Knowledge are seeking initial certification. Thirty-five states require the Praxis II 0081 and you should check with your state’s education agency to determine which Praxis examination(s) you should take; the ETS Praxis website (www.ets.org/praxis/) and registration bulletin may also help you determine the tests you need for licensure.
When and Where Can I Take the Test?
ETS offers the Praxis II Social Studies: Content Knowledge test three times a year, usually mid-month in March, June, and November. Pre-registration is required for this test, so contact your district’s administrative office for exact availability in your area.
How Do I Get More Information on the ETS Praxis Exams?
To receive information on upcoming administrations of any of the Praxis II Subject Assessments, consult the ETS registration bulletin or website, or contact ETS at:
Educational Testing Service
Teaching and Learning Division
P.O. Box 6051
Princeton, NJ 08541-6051
Phone: (609) 771-7395
E-mail: www.ets.org/praxis/contact/email_praxis (use the online form)
Special accommodations are available for candidates who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically disabled, or specific learning disabled. For questions concerning disability services, contact:
ETS Disability Services: (609) 771-7780
TTY only: (609) 771-7714
Provisions are also available for examinees whose primary language is not English.
The ETS registration bulletin and website include directions for those requesting such accommodations. You can also consult ETS with regard to available test sites; reporting test scores; requesting changes in tests, centers, and dates of test; purchasing additional score reports; retaking tests; and other basic facts.
Is There a Registration Fee?
To take a Praxis examination, you must pay a registration fee, which is payable by check, money order, or with American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit cards. In certain cases, ETS offers fee waivers. The registration bulletin and website give qualifications for receiving this benefit and describe the application process. Cash is not accepted for payment.
Can I Retake the Test?
Some states, institutions, and associations limit the number of times you can retest. Contact your state or licensing authority to confirm their retest policies.
What Do I Study First?
Read over REA’s subject reviews and suggestions for test taking. Take practice test 1 on the CD-ROM to determine your areas of weakness, and then restudy the material focusing on your specific problem areas. Studying the reviews thoroughly will reinforce the basic skills you will need to do well on the exams. Make sure to do the practice questions in this book so that you will be familiar with the format and procedures involved with taking the actual test.
When Should I Start Studying?
It is never too early to start studying; the earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to study because it does not allow you the time needed to learn the test material.
The number of raw points awarded on the Praxis II Social Studies 0081 is based on the number of correct answers given. Most Praxis examinations vary by edition, which means that each test has several variations that contain different questions. The different questions are intended to measure the same general types of knowledge or skills. However, there is no way to guarantee that the questions on all editions of the test will have the same degree of difficulty. To avoid penalizing test takers who answer more difficult questions, the initial scores are adjusted for difficulty by using a statistical process known as equating. To avoid confusion between the adjusted and unadjusted scores, ETS reports the adjusted scores on a score scale that makes them clearly different from the unadjusted scores. Unadjusted scores or “raw scores” are simply the number of questions answered correctly. Adjusted scores, which are equated to the scale ETS uses for reporting the scores are called “scaled scores.”
For each edition of a Praxis test, a “raw-to-scale conversion table” is used to translate raw to scaled scores. The easier the questions are on a test edition, the more questions must be answered correctly to earn a given scaled score.
The college or university in which you are enrolled may set passing scores for the completion of your teacher education program and for graduation. Be sure to check the requirements in the catalogues or bulletins. You will also want to talk with your advisor.
The passing scores for the Praxis II tests vary from state to state. To find out which of the Praxis II tests your state requires and what your state’s set passing score is, contact your state’s education department directly. To gage how you are doing using our practice tests, if you score a 75% or above you can be assured that you passed the practice test.
When Will I Receive My Examinee Score Report and in What Form Will It Be?
ETS mails test-score reports six weeks after the test date. There is an exception for computer-based tests and for the Praxis I PPST examinations. Score reports will list your current score and the highest score you have earned on each test you have taken over the last 10 years. Along with your score report, ETS will provide you with a booklet that offers details on your scores. For each test date, you may request that ETS send a copy of your scores to as many as three score recipients, provided that each institution or agency is eligible to receive the scores.Don’t make questions more difficult than they are—there are no “trick” questions or hidden meanings.
STUDYING FOR THE TEST
It is critical to your success that you study effectively. To that end, here are some tips to put you in the driver’s seat on test day:
• Choose a time and place for studying that works best for you. Some people set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study; others may choose to study at night before retiring. Only you know what is most effective for you.
• Use your time wisely and be consistent. Work out a study routine and stick to it; don’t let your personal schedule interfere. Remember, seven weeks of studying is a modest investment to put you on your chosen path.
• Don’t cram the night before the test. You may have heard many amazing tales about effective cramming, but don’t kid yourself: most of them are false, and the rest are about exceptional people who, by definition, aren’t like most of us.
• When you take the practice tests, try to make your testing conditions as much like the actual test as possible. Turn off your television, radio, and telephone. Sit down at a quiet table free from distraction.
• As you complete the practice test, score your test and thoroughly review the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly.
• Take notes on material you will want to go over again or research further.
• Keep track of your scores. By doing so, you will be able to gauge your progress and discover your strengths and weaknesses. You should carefully study the material relevant to your areas of difficulty. This will build your test-taking skills and your confidence!