Harrisburg's Joel Geary serves on national Praxis advisory committee

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Joel Geary, teacher education project manager and certification officer in Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, participated on the Educational Testing Service's (ETS) national advisory committee seeking to improve the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (or Praxis Core) assessment in July.

The tests are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for formal admission into undergraduate teacher preparation programs, and represent a major step future teachers are required to take before they can enroll in junior- and senior-level teacher education coursework.

According to ETS, the goal was to “convene a committee that represents the diversity of educator preparation programs with membership across many states.” Participants were sought who could contribute to the understanding of the reading, writing and mathematics skills teacher candidates need to successfully complete their preparation program, gain initial licensure/certification, and enter the classroom.

ETS surveyed faculty in 75 educator preparation programs regarding the reading, writing and mathematics knowledge that is necessary for teacher candidates to be successful as a first step in reviewing the content that supports the Praxis Core assessment. Geary and 17 others were a part of the national advisory committee that convened July 16 through 17 in Princeton, New Jersey, to review the survey results and help craft, if necessary, revised content.

The committee, a key component in the ETS test development process for all Praxis and School Leadership Series tests, was convened to develop a new test or to review and revise the specifications for existing tests. Each committee typically consists of a diverse group of 12 to 15 licensed practitioners —  teachers or school leaders — and higher education faculty who are involved in teacher preparation for a particular subject area or licensure test. Committee members are expected to have knowledge of state and national standards relevant to their licensure area. The committee works closely with the ETS assessment specialists on test specifications and test design issues.