Entrance to Major Testing
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that undergraduate students in all teacher certification programs must successfully pass a Basic Skills Assessment in reading, mathematics, and writing.
There are options for passing. Please study the information below, and contact your adviser or Ms. Rebecca Ort, at [email protected] or 717-948-6367 to ask questions about each option. The preferred option: Take the Praxis CORE assessment administered by ETS. Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE). These tests have shown higher pass rates than the alternatives, and they are the only acceptable option at University Park in case your pathway includes transferring there to complete a degree. The passing scores for Praxis Core are as follows:
- Reading 156
- Mathematics 142
- Writing 162
A Composite Scoring method also exists. In a composite scoring method, there is a chance for a very high score on one exam to make up for a score on another exam as long as certain minimum requirements are met. Contact your adviser or Ms. Ort for details.
Another option: Take the PAPA test administered by Pearson. Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA). The PAPA tests are similar to the Praxis Core tests, and they also have a Composite Scoring method. Data indicate a slightly lower pass rate on these exams. The passing scores for PAPA are as follows:
- Reading 220
- Mathematics 193
- Writing 220
The SAT or ACT option also exists. If your high school SAT or ACT tests meet the minimum score, you do not need to take any additional tests to enter the education majors. See your adviser or Ms. Ort for details.
Basic Skills Testing Alternative Option:
- The Math Course alternative option: Completing MATH 200 and MATH 201 with a grade of “B” or better in both courses will satisfy the Mathematics basic skills testing requirement. (Completing HACC’s MATH 113 and MATH 114 with a “B” or better also satisfies the requirement.)
- The English/Writing alternative option: Completing ENGL 15 and ENGL 202 A, ENGL 202B, or ENGL 202C with a grade of “B” or better in both courses will satisfy the English/Writing basic skills testing requirement. (Completing HACC’s ENGL 101 & ENGL 102 with a “B” or better also satisfies the requirement.)
- Finally, PDE has a Basic Skills Mixed option score calculator to allow teacher education candidates to mix and match the options above to demonstrate basic skills. The scores used must meet the required passing score for the individual test in the calculator.
PDE has created a brief YouTube video that provides helpful information on the various pathways mentioned above.
For students who are preparing to take the Basic Skills Assessments, review these helpful tips.