Pennsylvania teacher certification candidates are required to take two sets of examinations:
- Basic Assessment, required for admission to the Teacher Education Program
- Required content knowledge exams, taken when the student is preparing for certification upon completion of the program.
All tests can be taken at testing centers worldwide. To find a test center, follow the link for the test you need (see links on the left of the page)
When you register, it is important to list Messiah College as a score recipient.
Students need to prepare before taking any of the required exams. See the link on the left for tips and resources to prepare for required exams.
Students must meet the Basic Assessment requirement to be eligible for approval to the Teacher Education Program, a requirement for junior level field experiences and related courses. The assessment can be met by qualifying scores on the following assessments:
- Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) For tests prior to 3/1/2016, a score of 500 or higher on each section (Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics) For tests on or after 3/1/2016, Critical Reading 27, Mathematics 26, and Writing & Language 28. Note that the essay section is optional on the new test, but will need to be taken to meet the Writing score. A composite method is available for tests on or after 3/1/2016.
- American College Test Plus Writing For tests prior to 9/2/2015, a composite score of 23 for Reading, a combined English/Writing score of 22, and a Math score of 21. For tests after 9/2/2015, Reading 22, Writing 21, and Mathematics 21. A composite method is available for tests on or after 9/1/2016.
- Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) Reading 220, Writing 220, Math 193.. A composite method is also available.
- Core Academic Skills for Educators (Praxis) Reading 156, Writing 162, Mathematics 142. A composite method is also available.
Students who do not have SAT/ACT scores that meet the basic assessment prior to college matriculation have the option of retaking to achieve the required score or taking the PAPA or Core Academic Skills for Educators and earning a passing score. The high score of multiple testings for each section/module will be used for this computation. Students may also mix and match passing scores on a variety of assessments. (Passing score in SAT Reading + Passing score on ETS Writing + Passing score on PAPA Math = Passing Basic Assessment).
A mixed score composite option is also available. Download the Composite Calculator on the PDE website to see if you qualify. The Teacher Education Program will be checking to see if students qualify using all of the options available.
Information and registration information about these tests, including information about test content and practice tests can be found on the website for the test (see links at left). Test-takers with disabilities will find a link with information about requesting accommodations for the exams.
- The basic assessment should be met no later than the summer after the first year of college.
Content Knowledge Exams (including PECT and PRAXIS II)
Content knowledge exams, which assess your knowledge of the content related to the certification area, are required for Pennsylvania certification. Students should be sure that they register for the correct test, required for certification:
When to take content knowledge exams:
- Undergraduate PK-4 and Special Education students - when most of the 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.
- All undergraduates except PK-4/Special Ed - 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 - no later than eight weeks before completion of coursework at Messiah College to ensure that their certification application is not delayed.
Candidates for Pennsylvania certification should plan to take the content knowledge exams in Pennsylvania, or if a required exam is taken in another state, be sure to list Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) as a score recipient.