The ParaPro Assessment is an aptitude test that many states require before allowing paraprofessionals or teacher assistants/classroom aides to become certified. The No Child Left Behind Act and its successor, the Every Student Succeeds Act, both require that paraprofessionals have one of these: an Associate of Arts degree, two years of college, or a passing score on the district’s choice of assessment test. The test must demonstrate that the candidate has the knowledge and skills to assist in the classroom with reading, writing, and mathematics instruction.
For many school districts, the chosen assessment test is the Praxis® ParaPro Assessment. The exam was developed and is administered by the testing company, Education Testing Services. The exam is tailored to assess a reading level that goes no higher than would be needed for K-12 instruction, and the difficulty of the questions is approximate to what an individual with two years of college education would be able to answer.
The ParaPro Assessment is computer-administered, and it consists of mostly multiple-choice questions. However, examinees will encounter other types of questions, including:
There are three sections of the exam: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Each section has 30 questions for a total of 90 questions. The test is timed, and you will have two and a half hours to take the test in its entirety. Each of the sections is weighted equally. Most of the questions in each section address skills or knowledge for a subject area, although about one-third of the questions will ask you to apply those skills and knowledge to a practical classroom scenario. Performing well on this exam is often dependent upon understanding and preparing for the types of questions you will encounter on the day of your exam.
There is no advanced-level mathematics vocabulary on this test, but the Mathematics section of the ParaPro Assessment does require you to have and apply skills and knowledge in three basic areas of math. Number sense and algebra questions entail being fluent in all four basic operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. You’ll need to know the basics of exponent use, number sequences, estimation, percentages, and place value. It will also be necessary to navigate word problems, percentages, and problems requiring estimation. Geometry and measurement questions will test your ability to work with the properties and measurements of shapes, graphs on the coordinate plane, and the units involved in each problem, including their conversion. Finally, the data analysis questions determine if you can work with and derive meaning from graphs, charts, and tables, including trends and the mean, median, and mode of data.
There are two purposes for the Reading portion of the ParaPro Assessment: to see if you have the knowledge and skills in reading that are needed to be a good reader and to determine if you can apply them to help students with reading tasks in the classroom. The content of this section includes the basics of word recognition and analysis, comprehension strategies, and best reading practices derived from foundations of reading and tools of the reading process.
The Writing section of the ParaPro Assessment will assess your knowledge of all parts of the writing process. You will be asked to spot errors in the areas of grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling. Some questions may require you to locate sentence parts, like subject and verb/predicate. About one-third of the questions require you to apply this knowledge to assist students in the actual process of writing, including all of the steps from prewriting activities to editing. You will also need to know the various writing purposes and styles.
Taking the ParaPro Assessment can cause anxiety for many examinees. Having a good idea of what to expect on the day of the exam is one way to reduce anxiety and feel prepared to perform well. You should plan to arrive early for the exam, to allow sufficient time to find the testing center and make it through the registration process.
During registration, the test center may collect biometric data, such as a voice recording, finger or thumbprint, or photo for identification purposes. Some testing centers also have video surveillance equipment, so you should be ready to consent to this upon arrival, if necessary. A failure to provide the biometric data or consent to recording can mean you will be prohibited from taking the exam and will forfeit your registration and testing fees.
The only thing you will need to bring on the day of your exam is a valid, non-expired, government-issued form of identification, such as a passport or driver’s license. The identification will need to contain a photograph and a signature for comparison.
Aside from your ID, you should not plan to bring anything with you to the testing center. All other personal items are prohibited from the testing room, and storage space for personal items may not be available at all test centers. You will not need to bring any testing aids or devices, such as pencils, calculators, or reference material. Everything you need to complete the exam will be provided by the testing center. Electronics, such as phones, tablets, and wearable devices, are strictly prohibited and a failure to comply with this policy can result in dismissal from the test, forfeiture of your fees, and cancellation of your scores.
One of the best ways to prepare for the ParaPro Assessment is by taking practice tests. These practice exams can help you to familiarize yourself with the types of questions you will encounter while taking the exam as well as the test format. Taking practice exams before the day of your test will ensure that you are prepared for the content you will see.
Many examinees find it helpful to use alternative study materials when preparing for the ParaPro Assessment. Flashcards for the ParaPro Assessment and study guides for the ParaPro Assessment can give you a more well-rounded study experience and ensure you spend time with all of the subject matter you are likely to encounter on the exam.
The ParaPro Assessment is a timed exam, which means that it is a great idea to simulate the testing experience before the day of your exam. Going through all 90 questions within the allotted time restriction will give you an idea of how well you perform under pressure. The process will also help you to determine how to pace yourself during the actual exam so that you have time to complete all of the questions.
There is no penalty for wrong answers, which means that you should answer every question. If you guess, you may get it right, whereas, if you fail to select any answer, there is no chance of being correct.
It’s crucial that you read all directions carefully and consider your answer choices before marking one. While most of the questions are multiple-choice, some are not—so be sure you understand what the question is asking before selecting an answer.
The ParaPro Assessment is timed and allows two and a half hours to complete 90 questions. While some examinees may struggle to complete all of the questions within the allotted time, others may finish early. If you finish early, it’s in your best interest to use the remaining time to review all of your answers. You may find a mistake or two and correcting them could increase your score.
The basic fee to take the exam is $55, although some school systems may cover all or part of this cost.
If you are taking the test at home through Prometric, the fee is $85 for your first attempt, or $42.50 for a retake.
Since the ParaPro Assessment is computer-administered, you will receive an unofficial score immediately upon the conclusion of your test. An official score will be sent to you and your school district or state two to three weeks after your testing date.
Unlike some other standardized exams, there is no passing or failing score for the ParaPro Assessment. Rather, the score you need to achieve is set by the school district or state in which you seek employment. You should check with these entities prior to taking the exam so that you know what score you should strive to achieve.
Yes, the ParaPro Assessment can be taken once every 21 days, with no limit on the number of times it can be retaken, although subsequent exams will incur additional registration and testing fees.
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