In addition to completing an approved teacher preparation program, teacher candidates who seek Instructional I certification in Pennsylvania are required to successfully complete a battery of tests required by PDE. These exams fall into two categories: a Basic Skills Exam and a Content Knowledge Exam.
Basic Skills Exam
Candidates in all certification areas can meet the basic skills requirement with an SAT score of 1550 total for Critical Reading, Writing and Mathematics as long as no subscore in any field is below 500. This requirement can also be met by earning a composite score of 23 on the ACT with subscores of at least 22 and 21, respectively, on the verbal and math sections of the exam. If your SAT or ACT scores do not qualify, you must receive passing scores on the Reading, Writing, and Mathematics portions of the new Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment, or PAPA. These tests must be completed before admission to the Teacher Education Program can be granted, which means they should be taken sometime before the end of the sophomore year. We recommend that you consider completing the PAPA battery during the summer before your sophomore year or during the break between semesters of your sophomore year to ensure that your application for admission is processed expeditiously.
Content Area Exam
In addition to the basic skills exam, teacher candidates are also expected to pass a test of their content knowledge; these tests are known collectively as Praxis II
. The Praxis II tests are subject-specific and do not need to be taken until a teacher candidate is prepared to be recommended for certification. This means that Praxis II tests can be taken any time before the end of the Education Semester, but it is recommended that students complete the test as early as possible to prevent certification delays. Most students take their Praxis II exams immediately before or during the student teaching semester.
Passing scores change frequently, as do the names and numbers of required tests. Additional information about exams required for certification can be found by visiting this website. Click on “Tests,” then “What Tests Do I Need to Take?” to determine your specific requirements by certificate area. You'll also want to bookmark the Praxis exam site hosted by Educational Testing Service. As always, contact your Education Advisor if you have any questions.
Testing Requirements for Specific Licensure, updated Sept 2013
PAPA Composite Score Requirements