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Required Assessments in Connecticut

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1.3 hours

Required Assessments in Connecticut

Learn about the exams required for your educator preparation program and to become a teacher in Connecticut.

COVID-19 Update: Many Praxis tests can now be taken at home. Learn more from ETS.

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If you have any questions about the required assessments or this process, reach out to a TEACH Connecticut application coach or educator preparation program staff for support. We’re here for you.

Overview

Whether you’re applying to an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate program, you’ll need to submit scores for one or more tests to gain admissions. By the time you officially apply for your initial educator certification at the end of your program, you will need to complete all assessments required by the state. This guide explains the various tests, at what point you need to take them and how you can prepare.

Required Tests: Core Academic Skills, Subject Area Tests & edTPA

To apply for your EPP, you will need to prove mastery of core academic skills in reading, writing and math.You’ll also need to show you’ve mastered content in your chosen subject area or are in the process of completing your degree. Ultimately, you’ll likely complete three or more assessments before or during your educator preparation program:

Out-of-state educators applying for certification in Connecticut must have their credentials reviewed by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). Out-of-state educators may have already taken an equivalent assessment, but in some cases may still need to take one or more of the required assessments. You can read more in CSDE’s guide to Obtaining Connecticut Educator Certification.

The Core Academic Skills Test

Prior to the start of your program, you’ll need to submit scores from an approved core academic skills test in reading, writing and math. If you’re applying as a freshman to a college with an EPP, or if you are currently in college, you have probably already completed this step—the SAT counts (so does the ACT, if you took that one). If you are applying to a post-baccalaureate program, you can use your previous SAT/ACT scores or GRE scores, if you took that test.

Keep in mind that Connecticut high school students take the SAT for free as part of the standard high school assessments. If you find you need to take a core academic skills test, you can sign up for the Praxis I through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). 

While you will need to submit scores from one of these core academic tests, there is no required passing score. Your EPP will use the information as a diagnostic to help determine appropriate course placement.

Learn more about, register and prepare for the Praxis I: Core Academic Skills test on the ETS website. The combined reading, writing and math test for educators lasts five hours and costs $150.

The Subject Area Assessment

Subject area assessments let EPPs and the state know that you’ve mastered content in the area you want to teach.

For most certification endorsements, you’ll take the Praxis II exam for your subject area. For world languages, you'll take the oral and written American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) tests. For elementary, special education and early childhood education, you’ll take the Foundations of Reading test. For certain specialty areas, like early childhood education, you may need to take other tests, too.

To see a full list of subject areas and the associated assessments, including the required passing scores, check out the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Guide to Assessments.

In general, here’s when you should be prepared to take the subject area assessment for your field:

  • Are you applying to or enrolled in an undergraduate EPP? You’ll likely take your subject area assessment near the end of your program.
  • Are you applying to a post-baccalaureate or graduate program? You’ll likely sign up for your subject area assessment before applying to your EPP. Some programs require you to submit official scores with your application. Others only require that you be registered before you apply. Either way, you’ll usually need to pass the test before you begin student teaching.

To Complete Your Program: edTPA Portfolio

All candidates for initial educator certification in Connecticut must submit the edTPA portfolio, a performance-based, subject-specific assessment that demonstrates readiness to teach —and, beginning in September 2019, meet the minimum score requirements. You won’t begin this process until you’re student teaching, but it’s good to know about edTPA in advance.

What is edTPA?

Formerly known as the teacher performance assessment, and now simply edTPA, this assessment isn’t a typical test—there are no multiple choice questions. Instead, as part of your student teaching experience, you’ll develop a portfolio which will include a series of 3-5 lesson plans, sample student work and other teaching materials and artifacts, including videos.You will also write commentary on subject-specific prompts designed to assess how you work with diverse students, modify curriculum and develop assignments in your subject and grade level to produce learning outcomes.

In other words, your edTPA provides a summary of what you’ve learned in your EPP and how you’ve developed as an educator so far. This summative assessment is then scored by professional educators, and the results are shared with you and your program. 

While you don’t have to prepare for edTPA before you apply to your educator preparation program, you may want to research how the various EPPs help you prepare for the assessment. Want to learn more about edTPA in Connecticut? Visit the Connecticut State Department of Education’s edTPA page.

For the 2020-21 school year only, the cut score requirement on edTPA has been waived due to COVID-19.

 

Register, Prepare for & Take Your Subject Area Assessment(s)

The test most candidates have questions about is the subject area assessment. We’ll guide you from registration through test preparation and score reporting. Read on!

Know When & How to Register

Check with your EPP to find out when you need to have taken and passed the subject area assessment and to verify which tests you’ll take. If you’re taking the Praxis II, head over to the ETS Praxis registration page. There, you will:

  1. Click Register Online Now.
  2. Select Create an Account.
  3. Enter your personal information.
  4. After you’ve created an account, select Register for a Praxis Test.
  5. You’ll fill out a bit more demographic data.
  6. To find the test you need, choose “Connecticut” as the certifying state and “CT Bureau of Education Studies & Certification” as the agency requiring the test.
  7. Check the box next to the test(s) 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 candidates only need to take one test).
  8. 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. 
  9. After verifying the information you entered, it’s time to pay for your exam. The cost averages $120 per test.

If you need to register for the ACTFL test for world languages, you can do that on the Language Testing International website. If you need to take the Pearson Foundations of Reading test, you can register here.

Prepare for the Subject Area Assessments

There are some universal things you can do to prepare for your tests. There are also more specific study guides available for the Praxis,  ACTFL, Foundations of Reading and other tests. We cover them both below.

Remember: You’re taking these tests for a reason. You want to become a teacher in a specific subject, and this is your chance to prove you can handle it. Take the time necessary to truly understand the information. You’ll thank yourself for it (and your students will thank you, too).

We recommend a two-pronged approach to structuring your study time:

  1. Create a work-back schedule. Start by writing down the day of the tests. Then, outline the steps you need to accomplish before that end date: 
    • Research test prep resources. Check out the next section for our recommendations.
    • Study your subject matter area. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. Don't rush it.
    • Take practice exams. Take practice exams. Even when you know the information, you'll need to get used to the test-maker's phrasing and test organization.
  2. Make smart choices right before the test. These are the obvious ones: Get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a decent breakfast the day of, bring a water bottle and show up early. Hanging outside the testing center 20 extra minutes is better than causing your brain undue stress minutes before having to think critically.

Test Prep Resources

There are a number of test prep options available from the test-makers directly, and some third-party services have come up with options, too. These resources offer a variety of prep strategies, from study guides and practice tests to one-on-one coaching.
 

  • Provided by Third Parties

    Finally, there are a number of additional free and paid options for getting prepped for the subject area examinations.

    • Head to your local library and check out Praxis prep books from test prep gurus like Kaplan or Cliffs Notes. (If you’re planning to mark up your book, you should probably buy the book instead!)
    • ETS provides a list of free Khan Academy videos to assist with preparation for Praxis math exams. 
    • Kaplan offers interactive paid test prep courses.
    • Teach for America Connecticut has compiled a page of test prep resources for many of the required certification exams.

    While we haven’t personally vetted the resources below, you might find these useful as well:

    • Study.com provides video lessons and study guides.
    • Test Prep Review offers study guides and flashcards.
    • Teachers Test Prep offers free study books and practice tests, plus paid in-person and online prep courses. You can request a one-on-one tutor here too.
       
  • Provided by the Testmakers

    ETS offers Praxis prep guides, webinars and interactive practice tests. Some materials, such as study plans and testing guides with practice questions, are free. Interactive practice tests can cost $20-$50. You can find preparation materials for all tests required for certification in Connecticut, including:

    • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (5732)
    • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (5712)
    • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (5722)
    • Art: Content and Analysis (5135)
    • Art: Content Knowledge (5134)
    • Biology: Content Knowledge (5235)
    • Business Education: Content Knowledge (5101)
    • Chemistry: Content Knowledge (5245)
    • Earth and Space Sciences: Content Knowledge (5571)
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001)
    • English Language Arts: Content Knowledge (5038)
    • Family and Consumer Sciences (5122)
    • General Science: Content Knowledge (5435)
    • Health Education (5551)
    • Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5161)
    • Middle School English Language Arts (5047)
    • Middle School: Mathematics (5169)
    • Middle School Science (5440)
    • Middle School Social Studies (5089)
    • Music: Content and Instruction (5114)
    • Physical Education: Content and Design (5095)
    • Physics: Content Knowledge (5265)
    • Social Studies: Content Knowledge (5081)
    • Special Ed: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications (5543)
    • Technology Education (5051)

    Looking for registration and preparation materials for one of these tests? Follow the links for study guides and more.

Take the Tests

You’ve settled on a content area, verified which test is required for your program application, studied hard, and now you’re ready to take the test.

Make sure you:

  • 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.
  • Bring required materials, which may include a printed admission ticket, your ID, a calculator or other materials.
  • Dress in layers. Test centers can be chilly, and you’d rather be able to remove a jacket than be uncomfortably cold for the duration of your exam.
  • Show up early. You will not be admitted if you miss your reporting time.

See ETS’s Test Day Overview resource for the nitty-gritty.

View & Share Your Scores

Find out how you did—and make sure your program does, too!

Viewing Your Results

Your Praxis test results will be available in your online account on the score release date. To find out when your score will be available, review the Score Release Dates section of the Getting Your Praxis Results page. For ACTFL tests through Language Testing International, you can view your rating through your online account. Find score report dates and view your test scores for the Foundations of Reading test on the Connecticut Teacher Certification Examinations website.

Reporting Your Scores

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

If you didn’t pass your tests the first time around, 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.

Still have questions about the tests or your application process?

You can start an application checklist, ask an application coach or sign up for a one-on-one chat with a current Connecticut educator through the Talk to a Teacher program.

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