Praxis® Health Education (5551) Ultimate Guide and Practice Test
Preparing to take the Praxis® Health Education Supplemental exam?
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Praxis® Health Education (5551)
Praxis® Health Education (5551) Quick Facts
The Praxis® Health Education (5551) exam tests the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively instruct students on health topics in elementary, middle, and high schools.
The exam costs $120.
Passing test scores vary by state or agency. The following site can be used to determine a passing score.
Test-takers should allow plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the test format and ensure they feel comfortable with the content covered in each competency. While the specific amount of necessary study time will vary from person to person, you should allow yourself several weeks to prepare. Ample preparation time will help you feel prepared and not rushed or overwhelmed. Take time to spend additional time on areas of weakness or concepts that have not been mastered. Our Praxis® Health Education practice test can help.
Tips that test-takers wish they’d known:
- Review all test-taking policies prior to arriving at the testing center, including all items that are prohibited in the testing room.
- Allow ample travel time and be prepared for traffic delays.
- Make sure you bring all needed materials, including required identification.
- Dress in layers on testing day, since testing rooms can be warm or chilly.
- Carefully review test directions, pace your work, and read each question and response carefully.
- Believe in yourself and take the test with a positive attitude!
Information and screenshots are from the Praxis® website.
Standard I: Health Education as a Discipline
Standard I accounts for approximately 16% of the exam and approximately 20 questions.
Let’s take a look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Health Behavior Theories
There are several learning theories that are helpful as individuals work to make healthy behavior changes, stop unhealthy behaviors, or learn new information.
Social learning theory (or social cognitive theory), originated by Albert Bandura, states that people learn from each other using observation, imitation, and modeling.
The stages of change or transtheoretical theory proposes that individuals move through a series of five stages when working to make a healthy behavior change or stop an unhealthy behavior.
The health belief model is a common behavior model that suggests that health behavior can be predicted by an analysis of risk susceptibility, risk severity, benefits and action, barriers to action, cues to action, and self-efficacy.
School Health Plans and Assessments
Health education programs provide students with the knowledge and skills to make appropriate health choices. The goals of health education programs include strengthening health knowledge, promoting healthy lifestyles, and creating positive self-images and attitudes. Some common topics in health education programs include disease prevention, nutrition, growth and development, reproduction, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health. Comprehensive health education plans motivate students to maintain their health, prevent disease, and avoid or reduce health-related risk behaviors through specific standards.
The National Health Education Standards (NHES) were created to provide standards for pre-K through 12th grade that promote personal, family, and community health. Some topics addressed by the standards include disease prevention, communication skills, decision-making, goal-setting, healthy behaviors, and the influence of family, peers, technology, and culture on healthy choices.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) created the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model as a tool for approaching health in schools. The goal is to increase cooperation between schools and health sectors to enhance children’s development. There are ten components of the WSCC model.
Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) is an assessment tool designed to help school districts, schools, and others conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of health education curricula. When evaluating a health education program, it is important to examine whether the program is teaching functional health information, shaping values and norms that support a healthy lifestyle, and promoting the necessary skills to adopt, practice, and maintain health-enhancing behaviors.
Professional, Legal, and Ethical Practices
Health and safety laws exist to protect individuals from unnecessary illnesses and injuries and protect youth from adult content, as well as to prevent breaches of confidential health care information. All educators should practice confidentiality with all information regarding students. Confidentiality of student information protects the students and their families. All student records should remain confidential. The following are important pieces of legislation regarding health and safety:
- Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
- Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
Standard II: Health Promotion and Prevention of Injury and Disease
Standard II accounts for 30% of the exam and approximately 36 questions.
Check out these important concepts.
Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases
Communicable diseases are illnesses that are spread from one individual to another or from an animal to a human. Communicable diseases are often referred to as infectious diseases. Communicable diseases are typically spread through direct contact with a sick individual, breathing in airborne bacteria or viruses, contact with bodily fluids or blood, contact with contaminated surfaces, or insect or animal bites. Common communicable diseases include the common cold, influenza, hepatitis, and malaria. Communicable diseases can be prevented by receiving appropriate vaccinations and washing your hands regularly, including before and after eating and after coughing or sneezing.
Noncommunicable diseases are illnesses or health conditions that cannot be spread from person to person. Noncommunicable diseases are often referred to as chronic diseases. Common noncommunicable diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Noncommunicable diseases typically result from a variety of health factors, including genetics and physiological, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors include unhealthy diets, irregular exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol use. Noncommunicable diseases can be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding too much alcohol, getting ample sleep, and being aware of your family health history. There are three approaches for preventing common chronic diseases: primary (legislation, education, and immunization), secondary (daily exercise), and tertiary (chronic disease management programs) prevention.
Early detection is vital in identifying a disease and preventing it from worsening. Meeting with a genetic counselor can help someone determine whether they carry genes that can make noncommunicable diseases more likely. Common screenings include mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams, and colonoscopies.
Components of Fitness
The five components of fitness serve as a useful tool for improving one’s health and creating effective personal fitness programs. Designing a fitness plan that embodies each of the five components can help assure individuals get the greatest health benefit from their plan. The five components of fitness are cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.
- Cardiorespiratory endurance (sometimes known as cardiovascular endurance or aerobic capacity) refers to the body’s ability to effectively intake oxygen and transport it by way of the heart, lungs, arteries, veins, and vessels to the body for use during exercise. Cardiovascular endurance requires the heart and lungs to work together to provide oxygen and fuel to the body during exercise. Running, walking, swimming, biking, interval training, boxing, and dancing are cardiovascular exercises.
- Muscular endurance is the ability of muscles to sustain or repeat muscular activity over time. Think of a muscle group contracting continuously against a given resistance. Holding a plank or doing sit-ups for a continuous period are examples of muscular endurance.
- Muscular strength refers to the maximal force that a muscle can exert in a single, all-out effort. Muscular strength is commonly known in weight training as the one-rep max. Common examples of muscular strength include the bench press, leg press, and squat. Plyometric training, also known as jump training, involves exercises that allow a muscle to reach maximal force in short intervals.
- Flexibility refers to the range of motion for a given joint. Being flexible allows for greater mobility and a greater range of motion in joints and muscles. Lack of flexibility causes tension buildup in muscles and increases the risk of injury. Stretching, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and barre workouts all improve flexibility.
- Body composition refers to the body’s ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass (bones, muscles, and organs). Body composition can be measured in several ways, some more accurate than others. Hydrostatic testing, skinfold tests, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), and body fat percentage calculators are all estimators of body fat percentages.
Stress Management and Coping Skills
Stress refers to a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress often results from events that cause individuals to feel frustrated, anxious, or angry. How your body reacts to a challenge or situation is stress. While stress can be positive (as when it helps you to avoid a dangerous situation), stress is generally thought of as negative.
Stress often negatively affects individuals’ lives. Common physical, psychological, and emotional signs of stress include rapid heart rate, fatigue, increased blood pressure, feelings of being overwhelmed, sleep difficulties, and persistent thoughts of stressors. Continual stress can result in health problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Individuals who learn to deal with stress tend to lead happier, healthier lives. Coping is the ability to manage personal and interpersonal problems in order to minimize or tolerate stress and conflict. Individuals with symptoms of stress should take steps to manage stress. Some common strategies for managing and coping with stress include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, limiting caffeine, and getting ample sleep. Spending time with family and friends, participating in hobbies, and learning to set limits can help to manage stress. Smoking, alcohol, and drugs should be avoided.
Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Body Systems
Anatomy refers to the study of the shape and structure of the body, body parts, and their relationships. Physiology refers to the study of how the body and its parts work. Anatomy and physiology correlate because anatomy focuses on organs and their relationships, while physiology studies how the same organs work in the context of larger organ systems and the entire body. These relationships are important in health education. If individuals do not understand the parts and structure of the body, it is extremely difficult to learn how the parts function together and make life possible.
The human body consists of a variety of body systems that work together to allow the body to function properly and perform daily tasks. The body systems are the circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, endocrine, integumentary, muscular, nervous, urinary, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal systems.
Substance abuse refers to the use of illegal drugs or the use of legal substances wrongly or in excessive amounts. Substances are often abused because they create a pleasurable “high” that helps individuals feel good, decrease stress, or avoid problems. Common substances that are abused include alcohol, over-the-counter medications, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco products. Just like other common diseases, there are risk factors associated with substance abuse, including family history, stress, depression, and environmental influences like exposure to physical abuse or peer usage.
Not only does substance abuse negatively affect the user, substance abuse can also be hurtful to others, including family members, friends, and the larger community. Some common areas that may be affected include finances, work, relationships, friendships, and communities. Communities with a high incidence of substance abuse often see more break-ins, criminal behaviors, and drug dealing.
First aid is the initial care given to an individual who is injured or experiencing psychological distress or sickness before medical assistance arrives. Individuals who provide emergency care should remember to utilize proper universal precautions.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, provides oxygenated blood to the brain of an individual who has just suffered cardiac arrest. Trained individuals can provide CPR in emergency situations, but should call 911 and ensure that the scene is safe before beginning care.
An automatic external defibrillator, or AED, is an automated device that is simple to use and delivers a therapeutic electric shock to the heart of a victim who has suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Many schools and public buildings have an AED in a central location for use during a cardiac emergency.
Families, schools, and communities should have detailed emergency plans in place to efficiently handle emergency situations. Emergency situations to consider and plan for include fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and intruders.
Standard 3: Healthy Relationships and Mental and Emotional Health
Standard III accounts for 30% of the exam and approximately 36 questions.
Let’s look at some more concepts.
Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships
Healthy relationships involve honesty, open communication, trust, and respect. Unhealthy relationships are harmful to those involved. Common warning signs of an unhealthy relationship include the following: constant put-downs, isolation from family and friends, physical violence, controlling behaviors, and extreme insecurity, jealousy, or anger. Positive relationships can be maintained by accepting other people’s differences, actively listening, being open to constructive criticism, and practicing empathy.
Multiple dynamics and factors come into play when examining relationships and how individuals and families communicate and interact with each other. Some of the main factors include interpersonal dynamics like body language and tone and social dynamics like how individuals interact with others and tolerate differences. Traditions, religion, and beliefs play a role in how culture affects relationships. Lastly, emotions and how individuals understand their feelings, the feelings of others affected, and their own personality traits affect relationships.
Promoting Healthy Interactions
Everyone experiences conflict at some point in their lives. It is important for individuals to be equipped with skills for preventing and dealing with conflict. To prevent conflict individuals should work together to diffuse a tense situation. Sometimes one must let go of the issue and not discuss it at all if bringing it up is unlikely to improve the situation. If you feel expressing your opinion is necessary, try using “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory while communicating your disagreement. “I” statements help the speaker feel assertive without blaming the listener. Lastly, if you need wait time to sort through your feelings and better understand the situation, ask for it, and discuss the problem when you feel ready.
When involved in a conflict it is important to let go of the need to be right every time, listen non-judgmentally, respond calmly, and keep an open mind. When resolving conflicts with others it is important to allow the other person an opportunity to express their feelings, refrain from using negative talk, and look for a compromise together.
Abuse and Violence
There are many different types of abuse, and unfortunately, abuse occurs frequently. Anyone can be a victim of abuse, no matter their gender, age, education, or background. Some common types of abuse include emotional, psychological, financial, physical, verbal, sexual, spiritual, or elder abuse. Anyone experiencing abuse should remember that it is not okay or acceptable. While it can be difficult to speak up and reach out for support, it is vital. Many communities offer free resources for individuals experiencing abuse.
Violence refers to physical force as a means of injuring, damaging, or destroying someone or something. Violence not only affects those involved but also families, children, schools, and communities. Several risk factors contribute to violence, including low IQ, aggressive behaviors, involvement with drugs or alcohol, family violence, lack of supervision, involvement in gangs, and communities without resources or where the majority of residents live below the poverty line. Violence can be prevented by settling arguments with words, not fists or weapons. If anyone suspects violence or hears of threats, it is important to report these to authorities immediately. Lastly, always trust your instincts. If you feel there is a threat of danger, get away fast.
Mental health is the collective state of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Biological factors, life experiences, and family history can all contribute to mental health disorders. Common warning signs of mental health disorders include eating or sleeping too much, loss of previous interests, lack of energy, feeling hopeless or indifferent, obsessive thoughts, mood swings, thoughts of harming oneself or others, and inability to perform daily tasks. Mental health disorders can affect individuals and their families, peers, and community.
In order for a person to enjoy positive mental health, they should be able to learn to cope with the stresses of life, realize their full potential, work productively, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. Connecting with others, maintaining a positive outlook, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and developing strong coping skills are strategies for maintaining positive mental health.
Standard IV: Community Health and Advocacy
Standard IV accounts for 12% of the exam and approximately 14 questions.
Let’s look at some more concepts.
Environmental health is the condition of the environment in a community, which includes factors that affect human health and disease. Environmental hazards such as contaminated water, air, soil, and food negatively affect communities.
Practices such as reducing, reusing, and recycling help the environment by reducing the amount of waste in landfills and conserving natural resources and energy. Individuals can reuse products, buy used items, use reusable bags, or donate items no longer needed. Many household items can be recycled, including cardboard, newspapers, plastic, and glass. Simple steps can be taken to conserve energy by turning off lights when not in the room, taking shorter showers, and switching to LED light bulbs.
Air pollution and the resulting ozone can cause coughing, wheezing, and even respiratory distress, especially for individuals with COPD, asthma, or lung diseases. Individuals can help to reduce air pollution by carpooling, utilizing public transportation, walking, using gas logs in fireplaces, and using environmentally safe paints and cleaning products.
Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Ways to practice sustainability include unplugging devices when not in use or participating in a community garden.
Valid Health Information
Health information is everywhere and it is important for individuals to learn to distinguish between valid and invalid sources of information. Who should one trust? Which information is accurate? Who is simply trying to sell a product?
Sources of information that are likely to be valid and a helpful resource include government websites and information distributed by hospitals or health care providers. Some reliable sources to reference include the CDC, WHO, WebMD, USFDA, and The Mayo Clinic.
Individuals should also be aware of false claims and inaccurate marketing. Consumers must check ingredient lists and not be fooled by marketing or claims on packaging. Furthermore, be aware of quackery. Quackery refers to the promotion of fraudulent medical information or care. Do not fall for “magic” pills or treatments.
Communicating Health Information
It is important that health educators communicate health information with students on a regular basis. Educators should use communication means that are used daily by students and easily accessible. When distributing health information to students, consider sending information electronically via email or text messages. Brochures can be used to distribute information on specific topics. School events such as health fairs and assemblies provide students opportunities to gain information on topics such as health careers or to gain insight from role models in the health field.
Standard V: Health Education Pedagogy
Standard V accounts for 12% of the exam and approximately 14 questions.
Here are the last few concepts you should know.
Health Instruction and Pedagogy
Health education teachers teach content to help students make informed decisions regarding their health. Health education teachers should keep lessons engaging in order to keep students motivated. There are a variety of instructional strategies that can be utilized in the health classroom, including direct instruction, cooperative learning, guided discovery, brainstorming, role-playing, and peer teaching.
The curriculum and lessons should be aligned with national, state, and local district standards, and instruction should be sequential. Integrated instruction helps students realize how health topics fit into other aspects of life and subject areas. Lessons should be differentiated to address diverse groups of students and meet individual needs.
When planning lessons and units of instruction, it is important to plan for assessments to measure student growth. Consider the goals of the unit, how students will demonstrate their knowledge, and how student knowledge will be measured. Pre- and post-assessments are tools that can be utilized to determine what students know prior to beginning instruction, what should be taught, and whether the material was effectively learned. A variety of both formative and summative assessments should be utilized to ensure students are mastering the concepts taught.
Lastly, it is important that teachers stop and reflect daily. Reflection is a powerful tool in improving instruction.
And that’s some basic information about the test.