Testing Information Overview
Pennsylvania teacher certification candidates are required to pass two levels of examinations:
- Basic Assessment, required for admission to the Teacher Education Program
- Required content knowledge exams that are taken when the student is preparing for certification on completion of the program.
When you register for any test, it is important to list Messiah College and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) as score recipients.
Basic Assessment Exams
The requirement for basic assessment can be met with one of the following:
- SAT score (taken prior to college matriculation) of no less than 1550 on the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT).The SAT score of 1550 will include no individual section (Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics) score of less than 500.
- ACT Plus Writing composite score (taken prior to college matriculation) of 23, accompanied by a combined English/Writing score of 22 and a Math score of 21.
- PAPA (Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment)
- ETS Core Assessment
Most students who do not have qualifying SAT/ACT scores will take the PAPA. The ETS Core Assessment was added as an option for students who might have more ready access to that exam than the PAPA. Both PAPA and the ETS Core Assessment can be taken at testing centers worldwide. You can locate test centers and find information about each test on the appropriate website. See the links on the left of this page. Test-takers with disabilities will find a link with information about requesting accommodations for the exams.
Undergraduate students should take the PAPA basic skills or ETS core assessment as soon as possible, but by the summer after the first year of college at the latest. Passing scores are required for admission to the Teacher Education Program. Post-baccalaureate students will take the PAPA basic skills test prior to applying for admission to Messiah College.
Content Knowledge Exams (including PECT and PRAXIS II)
A second set of exams is required for Pennsylvania certification. Some of these exams are administered by ETS (PRAXIS II), and some are administered by Pearson Evaluation Systems (PECT). In contrast to the basic skills tests referenced above, these exams assess your knowledge of the content related to your particular certification area. The specific exam(s) you must take depends on your certification area.
Required Content Knowledge Examinations for Each Certification Area with Session/Test Code
Undergraduate PK-4 and Special Education students should take content knowledge exams when most of your major courses are completed and no later than 8 weeks before you complete your coursework at Messiah College to ensure your certification application is not delayed.
Other undergraduates (not PK-4 and Special Ed) should take content knowledge exams in the summer after the junior year or, at the latest, eight weeks before completion of coursework at Messiah College to ensure that their certification application is not delayed.
Post-baccalaureate and graduate students should take content knowledge exams no later than eight weeks before completion of coursework at Messiah College to ensure that their certification application is not delayed.