Ohio education majors and minors seeking teaching licensure next spring will be making the switch from the Praxis examination series to the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) beginning this month.
The OAE is developed by Pearson Education, Inc., the same company that publishes many textbooks used by Wittenberg students. While some senior students have expressed anxiety over the change, Dr. Brian Yontz, Director of Teacher Licensure, said that it is not something for students to worry about.
“The Pearson test is structured like the Praxis II. Students must take two tests, one content area focused and one pedagogical focused, unless they’re going into a specialized field,” he said.
The OAE tests will cost about $105 a piece and must be completed electronically on a computer at a testing site. Currently the closest testing site is Xenia, Ohio, but unlike the Praxis II the OAE tests will not be administered on weekends and can be taken only with an appointment, which could cause some potential scheduling conflicts for students.
Wittenberg University has had high success rates with previous teaching licensure tests, with over 80% of students passing on their first try and over 95% passing within their first year after graduation, something Yontz doesn’t expect to change from the 11 years that data has been collected.
“OAE representatives will be meeting with the seniors,” Yontz said, “But I really don’t anticipate our pass rates changing much at all. We produce great teachers.”
As for preparation, Pearson offers practice assessments, assessment frameworks, and study guides online. Education students can also take confidence in their classes’ close alignment with the Common Core State Standards and Ohio Academic Content Standards that they will be tested over.
This may cause some concern for those planning on teaching outside of Ohio after graduation, as it has been rumored that the OAE assessments will complicate the process of finding employment, but Yontz explains that “some states may have had and used the same version of the Praxis Wittenberg students took before, but it’s not going to be that much of a jump with Pearson.”
Future educators who seek employment outside of Ohio may have to seek further licensure, however. If a graduate were to move, they would be required to take that state’s required tests as well, regardless if a student takes the OAE or the Praxis II.
Students like Zoe Thompson, senior education major, express little concern over the switch. “Really, the Pearson test will be all we know. I’m most nervous about the way it will be administered but in all honesty I didn’t know much about the Praxis, either,” she said.
A meeting with Pearson for those senior students and education professors is planned for the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Students looking for more information about the OAE or Ohio teacher licensure testing can go online to the OAE website at www.oh.nesinc.com or contact the Ohio Department of Education at the State Board of Education’s website at www.education.ohio.gov.