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Required Assessments in Colorado

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1.3 hours

Required Assessments in Colorado

Learn about the exams you may need to take in order to apply for licensure in Colorado.

COVID-19 Update: Many Praxis tests can now be taken at home. Learn more from ETS.

Overview

To earn a teaching license in Colorado, you’ll need to demonstrate proficiency in the subject you want to teach. Getting your bachelor’s degree may be enough, but in most cases you’ll also need to pass a state-approved content test. But don’t sweat it! This guide helps you figure out what tests you need to take, when you need to take them and how to prepare.

Types of Assessments

  • SAT or ACT: If you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, you will probably need to take a core academic skills test that colleges and universities use to determine your eligibility for admission. 
  • Praxis subject assessments: Colorado uses Praxis tests to determine your eligibility for certain subject-area endorsements. For example, if you want to teach middle school math, you may need to take the Praxis Middle School Mathematics assessment. You can read more about Praxis below.
  • Did you take a PLACE or NES tests? Colorado no longer administers these tests. But if you’ve already taken them, your scores are still valid and applicable up to five years after the date you took either assessment. 

Note for out of state educators: According to the Colorado Department of Education, “Educator licenses do not transfer to Colorado across state lines.” If you took any of the assessments that Colorado requires as part of your out-of-state licensure, you can apply these in Colorado if the scores are current. 

Core Academic Skills Test: SAT or ACT

To become a teacher in Colorado, you will first need to complete a four-year degree at a state-accredited college or university. In Colorado, these programs require that you take either the SAT or ACT to be considered for admission. If you’re already enrolled in a college or university, chances are you’ve already taken one of these tests.

While there is no passing score for these core academic tests, the higher the score, the better your chances are of being accepted into a program. The Colorado Department of Higher Education maintains this handy chart for average acceptance scores to the top universities in the state. 

Praxis Subject Assessments

Depending on the subject you wish to teach and the educator prep program you choose, you may need to take and pass a subject exam during your program or before you apply.

Subject area assessments let teaching programs and the state know you’ve mastered content in the area you want to teach. There are different versions of the Praxis test for each  endorsement you want to earn. Most EPPs list taking the Praxis as a program requirement, so you will most likely take one of the subject assessment tests before you finish your training.
 
Here are some examples of endorsements that may require a specific Praxis subject assessment. The Colorado Department of Education maintains a full list

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources - Praxis 5701
  • Early Childhood Education - Praxis 5024
  • Mathematics (7-12) - Praxis 5161
  • Social Studies (7-12) - Praxis 5081
  • Visual Arts - Praxis 5135
     

Steps to Complete (and Master) your Praxis

The test most candidates have questions about is the subject area assessment. We’ll guide you from registration through test preparation and score reporting. Read on!

  1. Pick a time and place.  Depending on which Praxis assessment you need to take, the available dates might differ. Many tests are available all year, though some have specific testing windows. We’ll walk you through registration below.
  2. Prepare for the test. You can find practice tests and study guides, interactive webinars and videos. We’ve got you covered in How to Prepare
  3. Receive your scores. You can choose up to four programs to receive your scores when you register for the test. The Colorado Department of Education will receive your scores automatically.

How to Register for the Praxis:

  1. Click Register Online Now.
  2. Select Create an Account.
  3. Enter your personal information.
  4. After you’ve created an account, select Register for a Praxis Test.
  5. You’ll fill out a bit more demographic data.
  6. Select Colorado as the certifying state. 
  7. Check the box next to the tests you need to take, then you’ll be able to choose your testing location, date and time. You’ll choose the date and time separately for each test you’ve selected (most candidates only need to take one test).
  8. Choose where you want your score reports sent. If you know your program’s code, you can use that, or you can look up the program by state. 
  9. After verifying the information you entered, it’s time to pay for your exam. The cost averages $120 per test.

How to Prepare

There are some universal things you can do to prepare for your assessments, like building good study habits and managing your time. But you can also find preparation resources like books and tutors for each test. Find some ideas here.

We recommend a two-pronged approach to structuring your study time:

  1. Create a work-back schedule. Start by writing down the day of the tests. Then, outline the steps you need to accomplish before that end date: 
    • Research test prep resources. Check out the next section for our recommendations.
    • Study your subject matter area. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. Don't rush it.
    • Take practice exams. Even when you know the information, you'll need to get used to the test-maker's phrasing and test organization.
  2. Make smart choices right before the test. These are the obvious ones: Get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a decent breakfast the day of, bring a water bottle and show up early. Hanging outside the testing center 20 extra minutes is better than causing your brain undue stress minutes before having to think critically.

Test Prep Resources

Now that you’re registered, let’s get you ready! There are a number of test prep options available from the test-makers directly, and some third-party services have come up with options, too. These resources offer a variety of prep strategies, from study guides and practice tests to one-on-one coaching.
 

  • Provided by the Test Makers

    ETS offers Praxis prep guides, webinars and interactive practice tests. Some materials, such as study plans and testing guides with practice questions, are free. Interactive practice tests can cost $20-50. You can find preparation materials for all tests required for certification in Colorado, including:

    • Agriculture (5701)
    • Business Education: Content Knowledge (5101)
    • Art: Content and Analysis (5135)
    • Business Education: Content Knowledge (5101)
    • Education of Young Children (5024)
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001)
    • English Language Arts: Content Knowledge (5038)
    • Family and Consumer Sciences (5122)
    • General Science: Content Knowledge (5435)
    • Marketing Education (5561)
    • Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5161)
    • Middle School: Mathematics (5169)
    • Music: Content Knowledge (5113)
    • Physical Education: Content Knowledge (5091)
    • Physics: Content Knowledge (5091)
    • Social Studies: Content Knowledge (5081)
    • Special Ed: Core Knowledge and Applications (5354)
    • Speech Communication: Content Knowledge (5221)
    • Technology Education (5051)

    Browse this list to see all Colorado Praxis tests and their preparation materials.
     

  • Provided by Others

    Finally, there are a number of additional free and paid options for getting prepped for the subject area examinations.

    • Head to your local library and check out Praxis prep books from test prep gurus like Kaplan or Cliffs Notes. (If you’re planning to mark up your book, you should probably buy the book instead!)
    • Kaplan offers interactive paid test prep courses.

    While we haven’t personally vetted the resources below, you might find these useful as well:

    • Study.com provides video lessons and study guides.
    • Test Prep Review offers study guides and flashcards.
    • Teachers Test Prep offers free study books and practice tests, plus paid in-person and online prep courses. You can request a one-on-one tutor here too.

Take the Tests

You’ve settled on a content area, verified which test is required for your program, studied hard and now you’re ready to take the test.

Make sure you:

  • Verify your test location. Even if you think you know where your exam is being held, double-check the test center schedule hasn’t changed.
  • Bring required materials, which may include a printed admission ticket, your ID, a calculator or other materials.
  • Dress in layers. Test centers can be chilly, and you’d rather be able to remove a jacket than be uncomfortably cold for the duration of your exam.
  • Show up early. You will not be admitted if you miss your reporting time.

See ETS’s Test Day Overview resource for the nitty-gritty.

Viewing Your Results

Your Praxis test results will be available in your online account on the score release date. To find out when your score will be available, review the Score Release Dates section of the Getting Your Praxis Results page.

Still have questions about the tests or your application process? You can start an application checklist or sign up for a 1:1 chat with a current Colorado educator through our coaching program.
 

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