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Praxis®️ ParaPro Ultimate Guide2021-08-06T01:16:24+00:00

Praxis®️ ParaPro

Preparing to take the Praxis®️ ParaPro?

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You’ve found the right page. We will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to pass the ParaPro. 

Praxis®️ ParaPro Quick Facts

Overview: 

The ParaPro assesses reading, writing, and math skills. It also assesses the application of those skills in the classroom. School paraprofessionals include teaching assistants, teaching aides, translators, and library and media center assistants.

Format: 

The ParaPro contains three content categories: Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Each content category has about 30 selected-response questions. There are 90 total questions in all on the exam. The testing time is 2.5 hours.                                    

Cost: 

$55

Scoring: 

The score range for the ParaPro is 420–480. Each state or school district sets its own passing score. Click here for the list of passing scores. 

Pass rate: 

89% 

Study time: 

There is no set amount of time to study to pass the ParaPro exam. It depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the participant in relation to the skills covered on the test. 

Plan a course of study by focusing on your weaknesses. The best way to do that is to review the 240 Tutoring materials. 

What test takers wish they’d known: 

Several test takers have said that they wished that they had studied specific math and reading terms and specific grammar rules since they had been out of school for several years 

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Test-takers tend to overestimate their ability to perform well. Many regret not putting more time and effort into preparing. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this mistake by using test preparation materials.
  • When answering the multiple-choice questions, you should read all possible answers before marking the correct one. You don’t want to miss out on the best answer by not reading all of the responses!
  • Always check your answer before moving to the next question. Many test-takers are surprised by how they’re able to find overlooked errors in their work by using this strategy.

Information obtained from the ETS website: https://www.ets.org/parapro/about/ 

ParaPro: Reading

Overview

There are about 30 Reading questions.

The Reading section has two types of questions:

  • Reading Skills and Knowledge
  • Application of Reading Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

So, let’s start with Reading Skills and Knowledge.

Reading Skills and Knowledge

For this section, you will read short passages and answer questions about the main ideas, supporting details, and organization of the texts. You will also be required to figure out what specific words mean, make inferences, decipher between fact and opinion, and gather information from visuals like tables and charts. 

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Main Idea

The main idea of a text is what it is all about. Usually, the main idea is written in general terms, and the supporting details are more specific. The best way to determine the main idea is to identify key details in a text. Then, figure out what these key details have in common. This will help you arrive at the main idea of a text. 

Look at the example about fog below.

In the example above, the three key details (green boxes) may appear in a text about fog. The main idea of this text may not be stated directly. You may need to determine what these three things have in common. 

Fog is the topic, not the main idea. The key details are about the formation of fog; therefore, the main idea is how fog is formed. It is important to identify the key details in a text before identifying the main idea.

Main idea questions may be asked in a variety of ways. Take a look below:

  • What is the second paragraph primarily concerned with?
  • What is the purpose of the text?
  • What is the selection all about?

Drawing Inferences

An inference is an educated guess. It is based on two things: details from the text and background knowledge. 

When you are answering an inference question, you should be able to find details in the text to support your answer. Also, your background knowledge about the topic will come into play when answering the question. Look at the example below. 

Benjamin Franklin would be considered a “jack of all trades” today. From politician to inventor to author, it seems that Franklin did it all. Since Franklin was born into a family with sixteen brothers and sisters, his father could send Franklin to school for only a couple of years. At the age of ten, Franklin’s schooling was over and he began to work with his brother in a printing shop.

Question: How much schooling did Benjamin Franklin’s brothers and sisters probably receive in comparison to Benjamin?

Details and Background Knowledge: The details support that Franklin’s family was very large, so money was probably scarce, and you already know that his parents would have had to pay directly for his education during that time period. 

Answer: The same as Benjamin or less.

In this example, there is evidence in the text to support the answer of Benjamin Franklin’s siblings receiving very little education. Money was probably scarce with seventeen children in the family. Also, it isn’t stated, but it cost money to go to school back then. 

The words “inference” or “infer” may or may not be included in a test question, but there are other keywords in inference questions, including “suggests” or “what would happen if.”

Fact versus Opinion

A fact can be proven true. An opinion is an expression of someone’s feelings, and it cannot be proven. Facts may contain dates and/or statistics. Opinions may use descriptive words (terrible, beautiful) and/or comparative and superlative adjectives (best, worse).

On the ParaPro, the fact and opinion questions may look like this:

  • Which sentence from the passage contains an opinion?
  • Which sentence from the passage is a fact?

Application of Reading Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

This section tests your ability to assist students with reading activities.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Long and Short Vowels

You need to be able to help students read words containing long and short vowels. Long vowels sound like their names. Short vowels have special sounds. Let’s take a look at words containing long and short vowels:

Also, take a look at the symbols that represent the short and long vowel sounds:

Homonyms

Homonyms are sets of two or more words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Take a look at these examples of homonyms:

  • heir and air
  • knead and need
  • lead and led

A question on the test may ask you to identify an instructional strategy that will help a student understand homonyms. Below is an example.

What would be an effective strategy the paraprofessional could use to help the student understand the word “heir”?

Making Predictions

A prediction is a guess about what will happen next in a sequence of events. The “guess” is supported by details in the passage. You will most likely see a prediction question after reading a fictional passage. 

Let’s practice making a prediction. Read the story below.

Lousia sat quietly with her dog on the front stoop. They waited patiently for the ice cream truck. Both Louisa and her dog loved ice cream. 

As the ice cream truck came to a stop at the park across the street, Louisa stood up. 

What do you think happens next? More than likely, Louisa and her dog walk to the park across the street and buy ice cream from the truck.

You may be asked questions that look like the ones below:

  • Which response below shows the best understanding of the clues?
  • What question would best help a student understand how to predict what will happen next in this passage?

Syllables

A syllable is a word or part of a word that contains only one vowel sound. The syllable can include consonants or consonant sounds; however, it must contain a vowel or vowel sound. 

Understanding syllables can help you read and spell challenging words. You will need to know how to help students identify syllables. One way to do that is through clapping. Children find it easy to clap as they slowly say a word; it helps them “hear” the syllables in words.

Here is a word broken into syllables:

PROF/IT/A/BLE

Breaking words into syllables also helps students figure out what words mean. If there is a prefix or suffix in the word, a student may be able to apply his/her knowledge of that prefix or suffix to the overall word meaning.

And that’s some basic info about the Reading section. 

ParaPro: Mathematics

Overview

There are about 30 Mathematics questions.

The Mathematics section has two types of questions:

  • Mathematics Skills and Knowledge
  • Application of Mathematics Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

Mathematics Skills and Knowledge questions include three categories:

  • Number Sense and Basic Algebra
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Data Analysis

So, let’s start with Number Sense and Basic Algebra.

Number Sense and Basic Algebra

This section tests your knowledge of arithmetic and algebra.

Review the following tables and graphics for a refresher on basic math terms and concepts.

MEANINGS OF TERMS AND SYMBOLS

RECOGNIZING RELATIONSHIPS AND VALUES

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Place Value

On the test, the place value questions will directly ask you to identify the place value of a certain digit. Here’s an example:

What is the place value of 8 in 1,892,019?

In this number, the digit 8 is in the hundred-thousands place.

Exponents

An exponent is the power of a number. The exponent tells you how many times to multiply a number by itself. Look at the example below.

20⁴ = 20 x 20 x 20 x 20

In this example, 20 is raised to the power of 4. 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 equals 160,000.

Order of Operations

On the test, you may come across a problem like this:

8 + (6 – 2)4 – 3 =

Do not work this problem from left to right! You will have to follow the order of operations. Here are the steps to solving this problem:

  1. First, solve the subtraction problem within the parentheses: 6 – 2 = 4.
  2. Then, multiply by 4: 4 x 4 = 16.
  3. Next, add 8: 16 + 8 = 24.
  4. Finally, subtract 3: 24 – 3 = 21.

Here’s the order to follow when solving problems (and a fun mnemonic device to remember the order):

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

P = Parentheses

E = Exponents

M/D = Multiply/Divide

A/S = Add/Subtract

You must work the operations in parentheses first. Then, solve the operations with exponents. Next, work multiplication and/or division operations. Finally, solve the addition and/or subtraction operations. 

Note: Multiplication and division operations are considered equal, so you solve them from left to right. The same goes for addition and subtraction operations.

Geometry and Measurement

This section tests your ability to solve equations and real-world problems concerning shapes, time, and money. You will also be tested on graphing data.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Basic Geometrical Shapes

You can probably already identify a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, but some shapes are harder to remember. Take a look at these:

Be prepared to identify these shapes on the test.

Area

Area is the size of a surface. When calculating the area of a two-dimensional shape, like a circle, triangle, square, or rectangle, you will need to use a formula.

Take a look below:

More than likely, area questions on the test will be presented in word problems.

Graphing Data on an XY-Coordinate Plane

You will definitely see a coordinate plane on the test. Take a look at the coordinate plane below. Pay special attention to the x-axis (horizontal) and the y-axis (vertical).

You will be asked to graph a point on the coordinate plane. A set of coordinates will be given to you, like this:

(2,3)

The first number, 2, represents the x-axis. The second number, 3, represents the y-axis. To graph a point, you always begin at the origin (0,0). 

Let’s graph the point at (2,3). Begin at the origin. Then, move along the x-axis two spots to the right. Now, move along the y-axis three spots up. Your point will look like this:

Data Analysis

This section tests your ability to understand and think critically about information from tables, charts, and graphs. You will also be asked to find the mean, median, and mode of a set of numbers.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Mean

Mean is the fancy word for average. To find the mean, or average, of a set of numbers, there is a really simple set of steps to follow:

  1. Add all of the numbers together.
  2. Divide the sum of those numbers by the number of values in the set.

Let’s look at an example:

14, 88, 43, 25, 10, 33, 85, 26

14 + 88 + 43 + 25 + 10 + 33 + 85 + 26 = 324

324 ÷ 8 = 40.5

After adding all of the numbers together, we divide the sum by 8, because there are 8 numbers in the set. The mean, or average, of the data set is 40.5.

On the test, questions about the mean of numbers may be presented in word problems. Take a look at an example:

Kelly wants to know what her grade will be at the end of the year. Her grades are listed below. What will be her average?

89, 76, 100, 100, 92, 72, 83

Here are the steps to solving this problem:

89 + 76 + 100 + 100 + 92 + 72 + 83 = 612

612 ÷ 7 = 87.43

Median

The median is the middle value in a set of numbers. To find the median of a set of numbers, follow these steps:

  1. Order the numbers from least to greatest.
  2. Find the number in the middle.

If you have a data set with an odd amount of numbers, finding the middle value is super easy; however, if you have a data set with an even amount of numbers, there will be two values in the middle. In this case, find the mean, or average, of those two numbers. That average is the median.

Let’s look at how this might appear on the test:

What is the median for the following set of numbers?

74, 39, 26, 89, 100, 24, 55, 87

First, we order the numbers from least to greatest. Then, we find the value in the middle. Since there are 8 numbers in this set, there are two values in the middle: 55 and 74. Find the mean, or average, of these numbers. The median is 64.5.

24, 26, 39, 55, 74, 87, 89, 100

55 + 74 = 129

129 ÷ 2 = 64.5

Mode

In a data set, the mode is the number or numbers that appear the most. Unlike the mean and median, the mode can have more than one answer. Look at an example:

Sally wants to know which bowling score she got the most often during the season. Find the mode.

117, 183, 173, 201, 117, 138, 129

In this data set, 117 appears twice, while the other numbers only appear once; therefore, 117 is the mode.

Application of Mathematics Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

This section tests your ability to assist students with mathematics activities.  

You will need to know specific strategies for helping students understand math processes and solve problems. Here are some important strategies to remember:

  • Use manipulatives to help demonstrate the math problems. 
  • Ask students for explanations when working problems.
  • Use real-life situations in word problems.
  • Use different concepts to work problems. 

You will see questions on the test similar to this:

A paraprofessional is helping a student solve the following problem: 

100 – 8(7 – 2) + 5 

The student’s answer is 465 because she worked the operations in the problem from left to right. What should the student have done?

And that’s some basic info about the Mathematics section.

ParaPro: Writing

Overview

There are about 30 Writing questions.

The Writing section has two types of questions:

  • Writing Skills and Knowledge
  • Application of Writing Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

So, let’s start with Writing Skills and Knowledge.

Writing Skills and Knowledge

This section tests your ability to find errors in sentences. These errors include:

  • word usage
  • punctuation
  • spelling

You’ll also need to have a basic understanding of the parts of speech and the parts of a sentence.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Parts of Speech

Take a look at the parts of speech:

  • Noun – a person, place, or thing
  • Verb – shows action
  • Pronoun – replaces a noun
  • Adjective – describes a noun
  • Adverb – describes a verb, adjective, or other adverb
  • Preposition – shows the relation to another word

On the test, you will be required to identify the part of speech for an underlined word. Here is an example:

Without a doubt, the girl knew she made a great grade on the test.

In the sentence, the underlined word is being used as…

A.  a noun

B.  an adverb

C.  a verb

D.  a preposition

In this example, the word without is being used as a preposition. 

Adverbs

Let’s talk more specifically about adverbs. Adverbs describe verbs. A lot of adverbs end in -ly. Adverbs usually answer one or more of the following questions:

  • How?
  • How often?
  • When?
  • Where?

When an adverb describes a verb, it is usually located close to the verb. Take a look at this example:

The hunter carefully fired his gun at the deer so he would hit it.

The adverb (carefully) describes the verb (fired) because it explains how the hunter fired his gun. Below are common adverbs and the questions they answer.

Commonly Misused Words

There are many words that people commonly misuse. Sometimes, the words are spelled similarly (which is the reason for the confusion). Take a look:

Application of Writing Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

This section tests your ability to assist students with writing activities, including the writing process. Take a look at the steps of the writing process:

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Revising a Composition

Before we talk specifically about revising a composition, you should know that revising and editing are different. Revising involves:

  • adding new ideas
  • expanding on ideas
  • adding more detail
  • improving understanding
  • eliminating wordiness, redundancies, and confusing elements

Editing involves fixing errors in:

  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • capitalization
  • grammar
  • sentence structure

In a composition or essay, ideas should be organized into paragraphs that flow smoothly. Take a look at the most common elements of a composition:

Introduction paragraph:

  • attention grabber
  • thesis statement

Body paragraphs:

  • topic sentence
  • evidence
  • explanation
  • conclusion sentence

Conclusion paragraph:

  • reword main ideas
  • reword thesis statement
  • predict/show importance

You will be expected to know how to help students revise their compositions. A test question may look like this:

Charlie has been assigned to write a personal essay about what he did this summer. He is struggling with writing the thesis statement. What strategy would be effective in helping Charlie with his problem?

For this question, you will need to select an answer that involves writing a good thesis statement. Typically, a thesis statement answers the question or prompt. In personal essays, it gives an overall statement about what your essay will be about. 

Different Modes and Forms of Writing

There are many different modes of writing including descriptive essays, narratives, and letters. Take a look at those three:

You may have to identify a form of writing on the test. You’ll also need to know how to explain the differences between forms of writing. Here is an example of a test question:

A teacher asks his students to write a letter to their best friend. This letter should contain all parts of a letter. Timmy writes a letter and shows it to you. His letter is one large paragraph. What response should you give Timmy to make sure his letter contains all the necessary parts?

For this question, you should choose the response that includes all of the parts of a letter. The parts of a letter are the heading, greeting, body, close, and signature. It appears that Timmy included the body of the letter, but forgot to include the other elements. 

Reference Materials

Reference materials include dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, biographies, almanacs, and atlases. These sources can be found online or in print.

Students use reference materials to improve their writing. For example, students may use dictionaries to find the correct spellings of words. Thesauruses can be used to find synonyms or antonyms.

Reference materials should be accessible to students while they are writing; however, it takes direct instruction and practice to learn how to use these sources. 

And that’s some basic info about the Writing section.