Pennsylvania teacher certification candidates are required to take two sets of examinations:

  1. Basic Skills Test, required for admission to the Teacher Education Program
  2. 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 University 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. 

Basic Skills Test

Students must meet the Basic Skills Test 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:

  1. Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)    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.
  2. American College Test Plus Writing   For tests after 9/1/2016, Reading  22, Writing 8, and Mathematics 21. A composite method is available.
  3.  Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) Reading 220, Writing 220, Math 193.. A composite method is available.
  4. Core Academic Skills for Educators (Praxis) Reading (5713) 156, Writing (5723) 162, Mathematics (5733) 142. A composite method is available.
  5. The mathematics module of the Basic Skills testing can be met by earning at least a "B" (3.0) in EDUC 209 in Fall 2017 or later. The reading and writing module can also be met with PDE-approved courses, but there are no courses at Messiah University that would meet this requirement.

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 skills test should be met no later than the summer after the first year of college.
  • Basic Skills Test Exception: Individuals who have completed an approved post-baccalaureate certification program or hold a graduate level degree are not required to take the basic skills assessments.

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 University 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 University 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 University 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.