Tired of mandatory tests? Here is a petition to get rid of the Praxis Core.

Tired of mandatory tests? Here is a petition to get rid of the Praxis Core.

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Anna Fletcher started this petition to North Carolina State Board of Education

I am Anna Fletcher, a student at Appalachian State University. I started at Forsyth Technical Community College where I earned my Associate’s Degree in Arts and graduated with honors. From the beginning of my college career, till now, I have made either the Dean’s list or President’s list each semester. My major is elementary education and I believe I will make a great teacher mainly to students I can relate to, those who struggle in school and or have a learning disability like I do. I know what it is like to want to give up, especially towards the Praxis Core.

North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) put yourself in a student’s shoes who is getting ready take the Praxis Core for the eleventh time. A student who took a year off from school to try and pass it and to get teacher experience as a substitute. Think about it, you keep getting failure after failure after failure on the journey to something you really, really, want, but cannot get there because of A TEST! You begin to feel like you should change majors and give up on this career. Even though, this is the career you know you should do, the career that was placed in your heart, and the children you deeply care about. Did you really think about it? Because if you did, you would have realized, no student should have to give up a career path to something less than, something they do not want. North Carolina SBE please oh please consider the following proposal and realize there is no need for the Praxis Core.

My proposal is to take away the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests known as Praxis Core. Praxis Core is a mandatory North Carolina state test required by the North Carolina SBE. Education majors have to pass it before they can be accepted to their college’s education program. The test includes three individual exams, math, writing, and reading. I have concluded it is unnecessary, it does not prove anything, it is stressful, and the results show that.

The Praxis Core is unnecessary to get into a college education program because you learn what to teach and how to teach in education courses. It is ridiculous that students have to pass a test before they can take classes. According to S. Burton, an education major, “As educators we are taught that a student’s ability should never be measured by one single assessment or test. Why are we told to believe this, but in turn are measured by one single test determining my career” (2019). A mandatory test should not determine if students will make great teachers or not, it is how they use the material they learned and their character. Also, the Praxis Core is unnecessary because it does not prove anything.

The Praxis Core does not prove students are able to teach because it is basic high school material, something college students have already passed! It does not relate to education majors such as, physical education (P.E), art, elementary education, and most education majors. P.E., art, and other teachers such as history teachers, do not teach math, writing, and reading.  P.E. teachers get students active. Art teachers teach how to be creative. Elementary teachers teach elementary math, writing, and reading, not high school! Having to re-master high school material does not prove that someone knows P.E, art, elementary education, and other subjects. Having to learn this material for a test with no correlation to their major prevents students from moving forward which adds to stress.

The Praxis Core is very stressful. Students are already trying to balance their course work, a job, extracurricular activities, and now studying for an extra test! It adds to stress because it is one more thing to do, after students have sat in classes all day, spent hours on homework, worked, and participated in a sport or club. Probably one of the biggest stressors of them all, is the $90.00 fee per each individual test and retake. We are college students, with other payments, $90.00 is not easy. Some students probably quit the major because they do not have an extra $270.00 for the entire test! This test in unnecessary, it does not prove anything, and overall it adds to college stress. I do not just have personal feelings toward this exam, but also statics that helps prove it needs to be taken away.

The following information is from charts I received from Appalachian State University’s college of education admission office. The charts are titled “ASU and NC Mathematics Praxis Core Results, 2012-1017,” ASU and NC Writing Praxis Core Results, 2012-2017,” and “ASU and NC Reading Praxis Core Results, 2012-2017.” My focus is only on the North Carolina results because I want the Praxis Core to go away statewide.

The first exam results are the math only. In 2013-2014, 886 students took it, but there were 1,015 exams taken, meaning, students took the math exam more than once. Only 459 exams were passed, so only 51.81% passed. That is just a smidge over half, it is not even close to 100%.  The passing score for the math is 150 and for that school year, the mean score was 149.55. In 2016-2017 results, 2,654 students took it and 1,326 exams were passed out of 3,348 exams taken, 49.96% passed. The mean score was 148.77; that is lower than the 2013-2014 school year which shows no improvement. This is awful because students have invested more money and more time trying to pass it again and too many still did not pass. The results for the writing portion did not get any better.

The second exam results are from the writing only. In 2015-2016, 2,649 students took it, but only 1,450 exams were passed out of 3,204 exams taken, 54.74% passed. The passing score for the writing exam is 162, but the mean score was 160.95. Would it not be nice if students got the passing score or even above it? In 2016-2017, 2, 580 students took it, and 1,271 exams were passed out of 3,115 exams taken, 42.26% passed. The mean score was 159.87. Just like the math, the percent dropped; less students passed! SBE, do you not see a trend, students are not passing these exams! The reading is oddly better, but not everyone can pass it.

The exam results are from the reading only. In 2014-2015, 2,247 students took it and 1,849 exams were passed out of 2,568 exams taken. Only 82.29% passed which is better than the math and writing, but not everyone passed. The passing score is a 156 and the mean score for this school year was 170.19. In 2016-2017, 2,510 students took it and 2,084 exams were passed out of 2,943 exams taken. The mean score was 170.43 and 83.03% of students passed. Still, for neither school year, 100% passed, but the average and percent of passing is much significant than the math and writing. Each percent

 How can about 80% of students pass the reading each year, but only about 50% can pass the math and writing? Not every student is strong in reading and or on reading tests, plenty of students struggle with it, so the reading must be calculated differently from the math and writing. It has to be calculated differently because from 2013-2017 the mean and each percent has been consistent; the means are above the passing score and the passing percent was well above 50%. Also, the math and writing means and passing percent has also been consistent, but the means are below the passing score and each percent is around 50%. Why is this? Plenty of students are strong in math and or writing, so how come students cannot pass their strong suit? This is not right, fair, equal, the Praxis Core must be diminished because these statistics are not helpful, they are hurtful to North Carolina’s education.

North Carolina SBE are you ashamed of these scores? If not, or if you do not care, you should be ashamed! Students are not able to pass this entire exam; the results show that! Don’t you know North Carolina has a teacher shortage, maybe it is because of this, maybe because you have made getting a degree in education too difficult! The Praxis Core is a waste of time, energy, and money because it hinders students moving to a career they want! The Praxis Core really does not prove anything! North Carolina SBE what do you think about that?

 

 

 

                                                              References

(2013). Praxis Core Reports. Retrieved from: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1_rdHoNUlp7ZhAAVO6wDZCrnDQBvtD29a

S. Burton, personal communication, September 5, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

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