What to Expect from the Praxis Prekindergarten and Early Childhood Education Exams

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The U.S. Department of Education, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works vigorously to encourage states to expand and improve services for young children and their families. The Obama Administration has also proposed a number of investments that are designed to establish a continuum of high-quality learning for our nation’s youngest learners. As more early childhood programs begin to take shape, the need for highly qualified early childhood education teachers is expected to increase.

Many state preschool programs are found within our public schools; therefore, early childhood education teachers in these settings must possess state teacher certification. For a large number of states, this means completing a teacher preparation program in early childhood education and passing an approved Praxis examination. Candidates for early childhood teacher state certification should always review their state’s licensing and certification process to learn more about the process to become an early childhood educator.

The early childhood Praxis examination taken will depend on state requirements, as there are a number of Praxis examinations designed to assess the skills and knowledge of the early childhood educator. These subject-specific examinations, which are commonly referred to as Praxis II Subject Assessments, include the following:

Praxis Early Childhood: Content Knowledge (5022)

The Praxis Early Childhood: Content Knowledge examination is designed to assess the knowledge required of early childhood teachers as to ensure they are capable of supporting children’s learning in key content areas. This examination consists of 120 selected-response questions that are related to one of six content areas:

  • Language and literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Social studies
  • Science
  • Health and physical education
  • Creative and performing arts

Questions within this examination are designed to assess whether the teacher candidate possesses the knowledge in the above content areas as they relate to major concepts, skills, tools of inquiry, structure, and interrelation.

Praxis Prekindergarten Education (5531)

The Praxis Prekindergarten Education examination, which is designed for teacher candidates of young children, age two to five, is aligned with the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation. The concept of this Praxis examination is based on an approach that emphasizes the “active involvement” of young children as they engage in play and child-centered activities. These activities present a number of opportunities for choices, decision making, and discovery for these young learners.

The Praxis Prekindergarten Education examination assesses the candidate’s knowledge of both pedagogy and content, including the relationship between practice and theory and how theory may be applied in an educational setting. Questions on this examination may therefore be focused on:

  • Multicultural influences
  • Variations in development
  • Atypical development
  • Effects variations in development have on child development and learning

The Praxis Prekindergarten Education examination consists of 100 selected-response questions that include the following content categories:

  • Early childhood development
  • Teaching and supporting diverse children
  • Creating a developmentally appropriate learning environment
  • Teaching and learning
  • Professionalism, family, and community

Praxis Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood (5691)

The Praxis Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood examination is designed to measure the skills, abilities, and standards-related knowledge of early childhood special education teachers. It consists of 130 selected-response questions that includes assessment in the following content categories:

  • Development and characteristics of learners

This section includes the areas of cognitive development, language/communication development, physical development, social/emotional development, adaptive development, and disabling conditions.

  • IFSP/IEP development and delivery of services and assessment and eligibility

This section includes assessment in federal terminology and definitions; understanding federal requirements regarding students with disabilities under IDEA; and understanding the components of the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Test takers should be able to understand the purposes and benefits of both formal and informal assessments and how to identify children with disabilities.

  • Planning and managing the teaching and learning environment

This section includes understanding the basic components of curriculum development; understanding the resources for locating specialized curriculum, materials, and equipment for student with disabilities; understanding how to select the appropriate instructional content for students with disabilities; and undestanding how to integrate social and life skills into academic content.

  • Family, commmunity, and professional relationships

This section involves assessing the test taker’s understanding of strategies for planning and conducting collaborative conferences; understanding strategies for involving families in the child’s development, progress, and learning; and understanding how to acquire and interpret research in the field of early childhood special education. This section also deals with the ethical and legal standards in the field and the major laws and policies relating to the education of students with disabilities.

Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (5621)

The Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood examination is designed to assess a new teacher’s knowledge of the career of an early childhood teacher. The test content consists of a number of topics, including human development, learning processes, instructional processes, educational pyschology, and professional issues. Just a few of the areas of assessment covered in this Praxis examination include:

Students as Learners

  • Student development and the learning process
  • Students as diverse learners
  • Student motivation and learning environment

Instructional Process

  • Planning instruction
  • Instructional strategies
  • Questioning techniques
  • Communication techniques

Assessment

  • Assessment and evaluation strategies
  • Assessment tools
  • Professional development, leadership, and community

The Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood exam consists of 70 selected-response questions and 4 constructed-response questions.

Praxis Education of Young Children (0021/5021)

The Praxis Education of Young Children examination consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and 3 short constructed response questions. It is designed for teacher candidates of young children, from birth to age 8. It is based on a teaching approach that encourages the active involvement of young children in a number of play and child-centered activities, all of which encourage them to make choices and discover. It is aligned with the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation.

Content categories in this Praxis examination include:

    • Early childhood development
    • Teaching and supporting diverse children
    • Creating a developmentally appropriate learning environment
    • Teaching and learning
      • Instructional process
      • Content knowledge
      • Assessment
    • Professionalism, family, and community
    • Demonstrating knowledge of teaching
      • Teaching and supporting diverse children
      • Relationships with families/professionalism
      • Assessment, curriculum, and instruction

Preparing for Early Childhood Education Praxis Exams

All Praxis exams are administerd through Educational Testing Service (ETS). Praxis examinations are generally offered year-round, at ETS testing centers throughout the U.S. Therefore, information about registration, test center locations, and testing centers can all be found on the ETS website.

ETS also offers a variety of study guides and tools for test takers as to best prepare to take the Praxis. Study guides, test preparation flyers, and test prep webinars are also located through ETS.

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