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Prepare for Connecticut Certification Tests

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1.3 hours

Prepare for Connecticut Certification Tests

Learn about the exams you need to take and how to prepare.

Before you can teach in Connecticut, you’ll need to pass some tests. If testing stresses you out, you’re definitely not alone. We’re here to help you find the right tools to ace your exams. 

For Connecticut teachers, the most relevant tests will be the core academic skills test, the subject area assessment and edTPA. 

We’ll go over each exam in detail—what they cover, who they’re for and what resources can help you prepare. 

Already a teacher in a private school or another state/country? If you’re an experienced educator applying for certification in Connecticut, you must have your credentials reviewed by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). In some cases, you may need to take one or more of the required certification tests, even if you’ve taken other teacher assessments. Head over to our certification guide to learn more.

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All About the Core Academic Skills Test

What is the core academic skills test?

The core academic skills test is an exam you’ll take before you start a teaching program.

When you apply to a teaching program, you’ll need to submit scores from an approved test that covers basic skills in reading, writing and math. You may have already taken this exam—the SAT counts! If you haven’t taken the SAT, you have a few other test options to meet this requirement. 

What counts toward the core academic skills test requirement?

The SAT, ACT, PAA and GRE all count toward the core academic skills requirement. Keep in mind that Connecticut high school students take the SAT for free as part of the standard high school assessments. In most cases, it’s okay even if you took the tests long ago. You can double-check with your program to make sure they’ll accept older test scores.

If you do need to take a core academic skills test, you can sign up for the Praxis Core through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). 

When do I need to take the core academic skills test?

Usually, you’ll need to include your core academic skills scores with your teaching program application, so you’ll need to take the test, or get an official copy of your previous test scores, before you apply. Some programs only require you to be scheduled to take the test when you apply. 

Get a leg up on core test requirements in your program checklist. If you have any questions about your teaching program applications, reach out to a TEACH Connecticut coach or admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.

What score do I need?

Good news: there is no statewide required passing score for the Praxis Core  academic skills test!

 Most teaching programs will only use your score as a placement test, to make sure you’re taking the right courses when you start. Some teaching programs may set their own Praxis Core score requirements, so it’s always a good idea to double check with your program before applying.

If you’ve taken the SAT, ACT, PAA or GRE and want to use those scores instead, just make sure they meet the state score requirements.

All About the Subject Area Assessments

What is the subject area assessment?

To get certified to teach in Connecticut, you’ll need to pass an exam in your subject area. This is to show that you know your subject matter well enough to teach it.  

In Connecticut, the most common subject area tests are:

  • The Praxis II. This exam covers most certification endorsements. 
  • The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) tests. These exams cover world language endorsements. You’ll need to pass both an oral and written exam to teach your language of choice. 
  • The Foundations of Reading test. This test covers early childhood, elementary and special education endorsements. 

For some specialty areas, such as early childhood education, you may need to take other additional tests as well. Check out the CSDE Guide to Assessments for a full list of test types and score requirements by subject endorsement area.

Are you interested in a bilingual education endorsement? If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can skip the language proficiency test for the language in which your classes were taught. For example, if you earned your degree in Puerto Rico and primarily took classes in Spanish, you do not have to take the Spanish ACTFL exam. If you earned your degree from a primarily English-speaking university, you do not have to take an English proficiency exam, such as the TOEFL or Praxis Core. That means one less test on your path to teaching!

When do I take the subject area assessment? 

The timing of your subject area test will depend on your certification pathway.

If you’re applying to or enrolled in a university-based program (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or master’s) teaching program:

You’ll generally take your subject area assessment near the end of your program. 

For post-baccalaureate and master’s programs, you may be able to substitute “achievement of excellence” scores on subject area tests for some of the required subject area coursework. You can read more about the subjects that count and the required scores on CSDE’s September 2016 Certification Alert.

If you’re applying to an alternate route teaching program:

You’ll likely sign up for your subject area assessment before you apply to your teaching program. Some programs require you to submit your exam scores with your application. Others just require you to be registered for your exam before you apply. 

Either way, you’ll usually need to pass this test before you begin student teaching. 

If you don’t pass your exam the first time, don’t panic. Connecticut offers some test takers up to two free retakes. Learn more about Connecticut’s retake policy in the CSDE’s January 2019 Certification Alert.

Which subject area test do I take? 

Your subject area assessment will depend on the subject you plan to teach. Visit the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Guide to Assessments to see a full list of assessment options.  

All About edTPA

What is edTPA?

To get your teaching certification, you’ll need to submit a portfolio that shows off your readiness to teach your own classroom. This is called edTPA. 

edTPA isn’t a typical test—no multiple choice questions here. Instead, during your student teaching experience, you’ll create a portfolio that includes:

  • 3-5 lesson plans.
  • Sample student work.
  • Other teaching materials and artifacts, including videos of you leading a class. 
  • Commentary that shows how you work with diverse students, modify curriculum and develop assignments to produce strong learning outcomes. 

In other words, your edTPA summarizes everything you’ve learned in your teaching program and how you’ve developed as an educator so far. 

How is edTPA scored?

Highly trained educators score your edTPA. Scorers use rubrics with a five-level scale to evaluate your teaching. 

Rubric scores represent a continuum from “not quite ready to teach” to “advanced beginning teacher.” Each rubric level shows an expanding repertoire of teaching skills and strategies, as well as deepening rationale for instructional choices. 

You can learn more about Connecticut’s edTPA passing requirements at the Connecticut edTPA page.

When do I create my edTPA?

You won’t begin the edTPA process until you’re student teaching—but it’s good to know about edTPA in advance! 

You don’t have to prepare for edTPA before you apply to your teaching program, but you may want to research how your prospective programs will help you prepare for this assessment. Ask program staff about this component before you enroll! 

Getting test-ready

If you’re not the most confident test-taker, that’s okay. There are a lot of resources and support to prepare! We’ll go over some general test strategies, and we’ll share specific resources for your particular exam.
  1. Step one: Remember why you’re doing this

    Tests are required to get certified—but remember, your scores don’t necessarily reflect the kind of teacher you will be. Exams like the core skills test and subject area assessment are just one more step on your way to teaching, and you can take them more than once. 

    You’re on a mission, and you’ve got this!

  2. Step two: Make a schedule

    You’ve worked hard to get where you are. You’ve put together an amazing application, and you’re pretty sure you aced your teaching exam. But just as you’re submitting your materials to your program, you find out that your test scores won’t be available until after the application deadline. 

    Don’t let this happen to you! Making a test schedule can save you application frustration and stress later on. You’ll want to know:

    • Your program’s application deadline.
    • Which tests your program requires.
    • The dates that your test is offered. 
    • How far in advance the test-maker requires you to register before you take your test.
    • How long it takes to get your scores after you’ve taken the test.

    Once you know these important dates, we recommend adding in at least an extra week or two of cushion. That way, if your test is rescheduled or your testing equipment isn’t working, you won’t be scrambling to take the test in time. 

    After you register for your test, you can work backward: Figure out how much time you have between now and your testing date. Then, make yourself a study schedule that maps out how and when you’ll study for your exam (more on that in Step 4!)

  3. Step three: Register for your test 

    Check with your teaching program to find out when you need to have taken and passed the subject area assessment, and to verify which tests you’ll take. 

    Praxis tests

    If you’re taking a Praxis exam, head over to the Praxis registration page. There, you will:

    1. Click Register Now.
    2. Select Create Account.
    3. After you’ve created an account, select Register for a Praxis Test.
    4. To find the test you need, choose Connecticut as the certifying state. 
    5. Check the box next to the test you need to take. Then you’ll be able to choose your testing location, date and time. You’ll choose the date and time separately for each test you’ve selected (most people only need to take one test).
    6. Choose where you want your score reports sent. If you know your program’s code, you can use that, or you can look up the program by state. 
    7. Verify your information and pay for your exam. The Praxis Core costs $150. Most Praxis subject area tests cost $130.

    World Languages

    For a world language teaching certificate, you'll take your exam through Language Testing International (LTI). On the LTI page, you will:

    1. Select your language and click Get Certified.
    2. Scroll down until you see “WL & Bilingual Teacher Certification.” Click Choose Test
    3. Select Connecticut on the list of states. 
    4. Select your teaching program. 
    5. Select the age group that you plan to teach. 
    6. Read the information about finding a testing site or proctor. Then click Continue.
    7. Select the tests you plan to take. In Connecticut, you’ll take both the Written Proficiency Test and the Oral Proficiency Interview. You can choose to do the interview with either an interviewer or through a computer program. If you choose the computer program option, you’ll select "OPIc" for your oral test. 
    8. Choose your testing date and time. 
    9. To continue, you’ll be asked to create an account and pay for your exams. The combined oral and written tests cost $218. 

    Foundations of Reading 

    If you need to take the Foundations of Reading assessment, you’ll do that through the Connecticut Teacher Certification Examinations website. Click “Register” in the top bar. Once you create an account, you can schedule your test, access preparation materials and check your scores. The test fee is $139. 

    At-home testing

    Due to Covid-19, most test-makers now offer a “test from home” option. This lets you take your exam online through a secure portal or proctoring service.

    Praxis online

    You can register to take your Praxis at home through your Praxis account. Visit the Praxis At Home Testing page to see which Praxis exams are available for at home testing and what equipment you’ll need.

    Language tests online

    You can choose a remote proctoring service when you register for your exam. When you get to the test scheduling page, click the web-based proctoring option. 

    Alternative testing arrangements

    All exams have options to request special accommodations, such as alternative testing locations or extra time. Make sure you schedule your exam far enough out so that your accommodations request can get processed. Depending on the exam, this extra processing time can be anywhere from ten days to six weeks.  

    Learn more about available accommodations and how to request them for each exam: 

    Praxis Testing Accommodations

    World Language Testing Accommodations

    Foundations of Reading Testing Accommodations

  4. Step four: Plan your study time

    Once you’ve registered, make a list of everything you need to do between now and your test day. 

    Make a study schedule that includes time to: 

    • Get a general test overview. The Praxis test prep center has familiarization videos that highlight the exam structure and types of questions, so you’ll know what to expect when the time comes. Not taking the Praxis? You can also check out the:
    • Plan your approach. ETS (the Praxis test-maker) offers a sample study plan to help you figure out where you need to focus and get the right resources. This study plan is designed for the Praxis, but you can adapt it for whichever test you’re planning to take! 
    • Research test prep resources. Figure out what study materials you want to use, and give yourself plenty of time to order the right books, manuals or other resources (see our resource list in Step 5).
    • Study your subject matter. This is where you’ll spend most of your time. Plan regular time to look over study guides, revisit textbooks or old class assignments, review flashcards, work with a study group… There are lots of ways to get the material down! The most important thing is to pace yourself so you’re not cramming at the last minute. 
    • Take practice tests. Even if you know all the information, you’ll want to get used to the test-maker’s phrasing and test structure. Practice tests can help you know what to expect on test day and learn how to approach questions you’re unsure of.
  5. Step five: Gather your study materials

    Whichever test you’re taking, there are study guides to help you prepare. Some come directly from test-makers, while others come from other educational organizations and universities. 

    We’ll share a few resources here. 

    Study materials from test-makers

    • Test prep materials: Most tests come with free preparation materials from the test-maker. These materials cover everything from study tips to sample questions to strategies for answering multiple-choice questions. Find the free prep materials for your test:
    • Practice tests: 
      • Praxis Core and Praxis II: When you register for the Praxis, you’ll automatically receive a free practice test. You can also buy an additional practice test for $19.95 at the ETS store
      • World Languages: Take a demo test for the WPT portion of your exam.
      • Foundations of Reading: Find sample multiple choice and open-response test assignments at the Foundations of Reading preparation materials page

    Third-party study materials

    You also have numerous test prep options from third-party companies. Here are a few suggestions to get started. While we have not personally vetted all of these resources, you may find them useful in your test preparation. 

    Free test prep options

    • Praxis Core or Praxis II: Head to your local library and check out Praxis prep books from test prep gurus like Kaplan or CliffsNotes. (If you’re planning to mark up your book, you should probably buy the book instead!)
    • Spanish Oral Exam: The University of Texas offers free practice modules for each ACTFL language proficiency level. You can watch and analyze videos of interviews with Spanish speakers, then create and analyze your own interview video to practice. 

    Paid test prep options

    Before you purchase any test prep materials, check with your program to see if any discount codes are available for your test prep option of choice.

    • $24.99: Kaplan offers Praxis Core and Praxis II test prep books that have practice tests, detailed explanations of answers, question banks and content review.
    • $26.99: CliffsNotes offers a study book for the Praxis Core. The book includes content review and sample exams.
    • $39.99/month: For a monthly subscription fee, 240Tutoring offers access to the Foundations of Reading, Praxis Core and most Praxis content exam study guides. If you score 90% on their practice test but don’t pass your exam, you’ll get a full refund for up to two months of your subscription.
    • $39.99-$49.99: Test Prep Review offers free Praxis example questions and study tips, plus flashcards and study guide books in both printed and ebook formats.
    • $59.99/month: Study.com offers study materials for the Praxis Core and Praxis II exams. You can get a free 30-day trial, followed by a monthly fee. Test prep materials include a free practice test, plus study guides, practice questions and video lessons.
    • Free-$225: Teachers Test Prep offers support for the Praxis Core and some Praxis subject area tests. You can get free study guides and practice tests, plus paid test prep courses, one-on-one tutoring, video instruction and more. 
    • $299-$499: Kaplan offers test prep courses for Praxis Core and some Praxis II tests. Courses include content review, hundreds of sample questions, full-length practice tests, video instruction and more. 

    TEACH Connecticut offers $100 in reimbursement for any test fees that are required for you to apply and enroll in a teaching program. That could include registration fees and test prep materials for the Praxis Core or your content exam! (Reimbursements do not include tests that you take after you’ve enrolled.) Visit the TEACH Connecticut Fee Reimbursements page to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.

On Test Day

You’ve registered, studied and taken practice tests—and you’re ready for your exam! 

How should I prepare for test day?

Remember to take care of yourself before your test:

  • Verify your test location. Even if you think you know where your exam is being held, double-check that the test center schedule hasn’t changed.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before.  
  • Eat a decent breakfast the day of the test.
  • Bring a water bottle.
  • Show up early. If you’re late for your test, you won’t be allowed in. Hanging outside the testing center for 20 extra minutes is better than stressing yourself out minutes before you have to think critically for an exam. 
  • Bring required materials. You’ll need identification when you arrive for your test. Depending on your specific exam, you may also need other materials, like a calculator. Check out the Praxis On Test Day page or the Foundations of Reading Day of the Exam page for more details.
  • Dress in layers. Test centers can be chilly, and you’d rather be able to remove a jacket than be uncomfortable for the duration of your exam.

Testing from home? 

Some of the suggestions above, such as getting enough sleep and eating a good breakfast, are important for at-home testing as well. You can also consider these at-home testing tips:

  • Check your equipment. If you’re testing through your home computer, the testing company may require you to download specific software or other computer equipment. Make sure everything is running smoothly before test day, to save yourself a headache the day of the exam. Check your equipment at different times of day to ensure that you’ll have enough bandwidth to take your exam without interruptions. 
  • Set up your examination space ahead of time. The test-maker may have specific requirements about how your computer or desk needs to be set up and what your testing room should look like. Make sure you understand these requirements ahead of time so you can start testing with confidence. 
  • Find a quiet space. You may not be allowed to wear earbuds or headphones for your test—so make sure you’re in a place where you’ll be able to focus without distractions. 
  • Log on early. Just like an exam at a test center, you’ll need to start your at-home test on time. Log on with plenty of time to spare, to make sure your computer won’t suddenly freeze or restart right when you need to start testing. 

If you’re testing from home, try setting up your exam space the way it will look on test day, and use it to take practice tests! If you’re studying in your test environment, it can help you recall information when it’s time to take the test for real. 

When can I see my scores? 

Score availability will depend on which exam you take and when you take it. 

  • Praxis: You can find your exact score report date on the Getting Your Praxis Scores page.  
  • World Languages: Your score may be available as soon as the same business day, but the exact reporting time varies depending on your exam. 
  • Foundations of Reading: Get your score report date on the Scores page.

How do I report my scores?

When you register for your exam, you can request that your scores get sent to your teaching program when they are available. You may also need to report your scores on your program application itself. In some cases, submitting your score report will be part of the required paperwork during your program’s onboarding process. (Your application checklist has a step for submitting scores!)

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