Praxis®️ PLT K-6 Ultimate Guide2019-12-09T20:57:42+00:00

Praxis®️ PLT K-6: Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

Preparing to take the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) K-6 exam?


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 PLT K-6 exam.

Praxis®️ PLT K-6

Quick Facts 

Students as Learners

Instructional Process


Professional Development, Leadership, and Community

Analysis of Instructional Scenarios

Praxis®️ PLT K-6 Overview

The purpose of this test is to assess a new teacher’s knowledge and understanding of educational practices foundational to beginning a career as a professional educator. Examinees will typically have completed, or nearly completed, an undergraduate education program. Simply put, the test makes sure you are ready to teach!

The test content will include topics such as human development, learning processes, instructional processes, diverse learners, educational psychology, and professional issues. Some questions will apply specifically to the stated grade range of the given test, while other questions are universal and apply to all grade levels.


You will have 2 hours to complete the Principles of Learning and Teaching Grades K-6 test. There are 70 selected-response questions plus 4 constructed-response questions based on case histories. All questions are computer-delivered.


States, associations, and institutions requiring the test to set their own passing scores. Your score report will include information on the passing scores for the states you identified as recipients of your test results.

A list of states and their passing scores is available at

Study time:

Ok, so you know what the test covers. How do you prepare to do your best? The amount of study time depends on many factors. One key to success is to assess what you already know. Then, allot study time to the topics in which you are not as confident.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  1. Guess if you do not know the answer. There is no penalty or subtraction for an incorrect answer. The final score is based on the number of correct answers.
  2. Skip the questions you find extremely difficult. Focus on the questions you can confidently answer, then come back to the others.
  3. Read all of the answers before choosing one. Be careful to understand what is being asked.
  4. Eliminate the weakest answer choices first.

Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS Praxis®️ website:

Students as Learners


Students as Learners content category has 21 selected-response questions. These questions account for 22.5% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 3 sections:

  • Student Development and the Learning Process
  • Students as Diverse Learners
  • Student Motivation and Learning Environment

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Student Development and the Learning Process

This section tests your knowledge on how students learn. You should understand the different educational theories, related theorists, and stages of human development.

Let’s talk about a concept that you will more than likely see on the test.

Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development

Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) proposed the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance. An educator may provide scaffolding, meaning activities to lead a student through the ZPD. These activities/supports will be withdrawn as the student demonstrates competency.

So… what might this look like in a Kindergarten classroom?

A student may struggle to replicate a 3-D model using blocks. The teacher may guide the student to select four red blocks, two green blocks, and one blue block. Once the student has the correct building blocks, he may be able to replicate the model.

Students as Diverse Learners

This section tests your knowledge of how students learn and perform in a variety of ways. You should be able to identify areas of exceptionality and know how these impact the learning process. You should be familiar with legislation related to exceptional learners, including gifted and ELL. Finally, you should be able to demonstrate how to accommodate students and modify instruction when appropriate.

Here is a concept you should know.

Modifying Instruction

There are many ways a teacher can modify instruction to support students. Some specific strategy ideas are listed on the following website:

Suppose you are teaching the steps of the water cycle to a second-grade class. Perhaps the vocabulary is difficult for an ELL student. Modifications to support this student may include pre-teaching the vocabulary words, matching the terms to visual cue cards, and/or teaching a song with repetition highlighting the terms.  

You may also decide to modify the assessment. You could provide pre-printed labels, so that the student only needs to glue the correct word to the visual step. The student is accurately assessed based on the meaning of the word, rather than correct spelling.

Modifications are also appropriate for intellectually gifted students. Allowing a student to pre-test or demonstrate prior knowledge, then work on a project instead of the standard assignment, is one way to meet students’ individual zones of proximal development.

Student Motivation and Learning Environment

This section tests your knowledge of behavioral theories and related theorists. The implications of motivation, classroom management, and self-motivation are also covered in this section.You should be able to demonstrate knowledge and apply strategies.

Take a look at this concept.

B.F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning

B.F. Skinner is credited with the theory of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning means that learning occurs when behavior changes. A stimulus causes a response; the reward conditions the person towards learning.

Positive and negative reinforcement are key elements in operant conditioning. A positive reinforcer might include verbal praise or a good grade. This will cause the learner to want to provide the desired response. A negative reinforcer will have the opposite effect.

Suppose you want your first graders to raise their hands prior to speaking out loud. You may use positive reinforcement, such as praise, when the desired behavior is observed. “Michael, I really like how you raise your hand and wait patiently to speak to the class. We are ready to hear your idea now.” Students will respond positively to this, rather than negative reinforcers of scolding or being ignored.

And that’s some basic info about the Students as Learners content category.

Instructional Process


The Instructional Process content category has 21 selected-response questions. These questions account for 22.5% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 4 sections:

  • Planning Instruction
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Questioning Techniques
  • Communication Techniques

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Planning Instruction

This content category tests your knowledge of how to plan instruction. You should understand how to plan instruction based on standards and theories. You should be able to plan according to a scope and sequence, selecting content to meet learning objectives. You should be aware of available resources and partners to help you plan instruction for all types of learners.

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Thematic Units

So you need to teach all content areas- math, reading, social studies, science, language arts, etc.- but you worry that the day will be choppy, and students may not make connections between learning. What can you do? Organizing and teaching around the main theme can be helpful. There are four key steps to teaching via a Thematic Unit:

  • selecting a theme
  • designing integrated learning activities
  • selecting resources
  • designing assessments

A learner-centered approach would be to ask the students what theme interests them. For example, a fourth-grade Thematic Unit in the fall may focus on football. A variety of fiction and non-fiction books about football could be displayed in the classroom. Students can go outside and take turns throwing a football to see how far they can make it go. Graph the results on a bar graph when you get back inside. Then read The Great Quarterback Switch by Matt Christopher, and have students respond from different points of view. The following day, have students label a United States map with the location of each football team, to support required social studies standards.

Instructional Strategies

This section tests your knowledge of instructional strategies. The ability to differentiate between cognitive processes, instructional models, and direct, indirect, and interactive instruction is needed. You should be able to make decisions regarding the grouping of students and know how to adjust teaching based on feedback.

Here is a concept you should know.

Instructional Models

You should be familiar with and know the benefits of the following instructional models:

  • Direct– This is the use of straightforward, explicit teaching techniques, usually to teach a specific skill. It is a teacher-directed method, meaning the teacher stands in front of a classroom and presents the information. This is helpful when teaching a new or foundational concept. The teacher makes sure students are given important information.
  • Indirect– Indirect instruction is mainly student-centered. It takes advantage of students’ interests and curiosity, often encouraging them to generate ideas or solve problems.
  • Independent– Once a concept is introduced, students are given the opportunity to practice new skills prior to assessment. This allows the teacher to monitor understanding and gauge needs for re-teaching.
  • Experiential– This approach encourages students to “learn by doing”. One benefit is higher engagement and interest in a lesson.
  • Interactive-While the teacher leads the lesson, students are required to actively listen and engage. Examples of interactive learning include reading with think- aloud and asking students to predict. One benefit is the focus on active, rather than passive, listening.

Questioning Techniques

This section tests your knowledge of questioning techniques. An effective teacher knows how, why, and when to question students. Strategic questioning leads to higher levels of thinking and engagement.

Take a look at this concept.

Think/Wait Time

The amount of silence following a question is a big deal! Research shows that longer periods of uninterrupted silence lead to an increase in correct and complete answers. A minimum of 3-5 seconds should be provided to young students before accepting responses. This period of time is sometimes called “wait time”. However, the term “think time” more accurately describes what students should be doing during this time. It is also appropriate for a teacher to pause 3-5 seconds prior to responding to student questions. This models the concept and allows the teacher to consider how to clearly word the response.

Communication Techniques

This content category tests your knowledge of verbal and nonverbal communication. A teacher should be aware of things that affect communication, know how to use communication tools, and understand effective listening strategies.

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Active Listening

Active listening is a technique that helps students focus, process, and understand what another person is saying. There are basically five steps to active listening:

  1. Focus on the person who is speaking.
  2. Show by your tone of voice, your friendly expression, and your “body language” that you are interested and want to be helpful.
  3. Don’t interrupt.
  4. Accept the person’s feelings without judgment.
  5. Paraphrase or repeat what the person has said to be sure you understand.

Active listening can relate to effective questioning. In step 5, if the listener is not clear on something said, he can ask questions to clarify.

Especially when working with young students, it is helpful to practice and model active listening. Consider the following activity:

Explain that one student will talk about a topic you suggest, and the other partner will paraphrase. You will keep time.

  1. Divide the class into pairs. Using a topic from below, have one person talk for one minute and have his or her partner paraphrase. What is a strong feeling you’ve been having lately? If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
  2. Have the pairs give each other feedback. Ask the people who did the paraphrasing to tell their partners what it was like for them to do this. Did they have trouble listening? Did they have trouble remembering what they heard? How did they feel about the experience? Then have the students who did the talking say what it was like for them to have their partner listen and paraphrase.
  3. Switch roles and repeat.
  4. Discuss. Was it easy or hard to paraphrase? How did it feel to do it? When you were the speaker, what was it like to hear yourself paraphrased?
  5. Repeat with other topics if desired.
  6. Summarize. Active listening is a tool that helps people clarify their understanding of one another and is essential in solving conflicts.

And that’s some basic info about the Instructional Process content category.



The Assessment content category has 14 selected-response questions. These questions account for 15% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 2 sections:

  • Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
  • Assessment Tools

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies

This content category tests your knowledge of assessment and evaluation strategies. It is important to use a variety of tools and formats to make sure students are learning!

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Types of Assessments

There are three types of assessments: formative, summative, and diagnostic.

Let’s look at these…

Assessment Tools

This section tests your knowledge of assessment tools. Do you know the types, purposes, and scoring guidelines for assessments you will use in your class? Are you able to discuss these assessments and communicate results?

Take a look at this concept.

Norm- and Criterion-Referenced Scoring

These terms relate to how the results of an assessment are presented.

Norm-referenced is a percentage ranking compared to the average population. For example, “Sophie is at 45th percentile”. This means if you took 100 students and ranked them from top to bottom, Sophie would be 45 from the bottom. So higher is better. The average is 50. Most state accountability tests are norm-referenced.

Criterion-referenced means the test relates to some sort of established unit of measure. For example, the results may be reported in grade level equivalent scores: “John’s phonics skills are low 4th-grade level”.

And that’s some basic info about the Assessment content category.

Professional Development, Leadership, and Community


The Professional Development, Leadership, and Community content category has 14 selected-response questions. These questions account for 15% of the entire exam.

This content category tests your knowledge of professional development, leadership, and community. It is important that you be able to develop relationships and work with other people outside of your classroom. You also need to stay current on policies and laws.

Concepts to Know

Privacy and Confidentiality

One major piece of legislation to be aware of includes:


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

This law outlines what information teachers and schools may share. Details and examples are found here:

Occupational Therapists

Usually, occupational therapy is provided to students with disabilities. But occupational therapy can be made available to other children who are having specific problems in school. Occupational therapists complete evaluations and assessments and work with other members of the school-based team to help determine what is needed for a student to receive a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

Improving handwriting is an example in the elementary setting where an occupational therapist may work with the teacher and student.

And that’s some basic info about the Professional Development, Leadership, and Community content category.

Analysis of Instructional Scenarios


The Analysis of Instructional Scenarios content category has 4 constructed-response questions. These questions account for 25% of the entire exam.

In this section, you will provide your own written response to given topics. For example, an essay question might present you with a topic and ask if you agree or disagree. You must support your position with specific reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading. You are allowed to use scratch paper to help you organize and plan your response.

Here are some tips for completing this section of the test:

  1. Answer the question accurately
  2. Answer the question completely
  3. Answer the question that is asked
  4. Give a thorough and detailed response
  5. Reread your response

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