Read an Excerpt
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 blanksliterally 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
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.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
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.
FORMAT OF THE TEST
The Praxis II Social Studies: Content Knowledge test covers six major content areas
and has 130 multiple-choice questions. You will have 2 hours to complete the exam.
A number of the questions are interdisciplinary and reflect the complex relationship
among the multiple fields of social studies. Approximately sixty-percent (60%) of the
questions require recall, knowledge, and recognition; the remainder will require higherorder
thinking. You will be asked to interpret material such as written passages, maps,
charts, table, diagrams and photographs. Ten-to fifteen-percent of the multiple-choice
questions will contain content covering the diverse experiences of people in the United States with regard to gender, culure, and/or race, and/or content relating to Latin America, Africa, Asia, or Oceania.
You should spend less than a minute on each question on each of the practice tests
and on the real exams, of course. You have to answer 130 questions in two hours.
The reviews in this book will help you sharpen the basic skills needed to approach
the exams and offer you strategies for attacking the questions. By using the reviews in
conjunction with the practice tests, you will better prepare yourself for the actual tests.
You have learned through your coursework and your practical experience in schools most
of what you need to know to answer the questions on the test. In your classes, you gained
the expertise to make important decisions about situations you will face in the classroom.
The reviews in this book will help you fit the information you have acquired in practice
into its specific testable category. Reviewing your class notes and textbooks along with
systematic use of this book will give you an excellent springboard for passing the Praxis
II Social Studies: Content Knowledge (0081) test.
The number of raw points awarded on the Praxis II Social Studies: Content
Knowledge 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 questions that are more difficult, 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.
Unfortunately there is no way to predict how many questions answered correctly on our practice tests will correspond to the scores of the actual exam. As discussed above, each test is a different edition and, therefore, the questions on one edition may be slightly easier than the questions on another. Hence the conversion tables are adjusted for the level of difficulty on different tests in order to make the versions of the tests more equitable, and there is no way to predict which version of the test you will be given.
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 or district. 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.
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.