Jessica Jones, a student in the Tusculum College Graduate and Professional Studies program, recently received recognition from her high marks on the Principles of Learning and Teaching Praxis Exam.
Jones received a Recognition of Excellence from the Educational Testing Service for scoring in the top 15 percent of all test takers nationwide on the exam. The Praxis exam series measures knowledge of specific subjects that K-12 educators will teach, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills and knowledge. Individuals entering the teaching profession take the Praxis tests as part of the teacher licensing and certification process required by Tennessee and many other states.
Jones credits her success on the exam to preparation from her classes at Tusculum College, and in particular to the instruction of Dr. DiAnn Casteel, associate professor of education.
“Dr. Casteel’s class was great because all of the case studies we had to do helped me tremendously on the preparation for this test,” said Jones.
Casteel reports that many of her students have reported high scores on the Praxis exam, a fact that she and others at the College have shared with others considering the teaching profession as a potential career.
“When I am teaching an education course, I tell my undergraduate education students that one reason I like Praxis is that it makes the playing field level for everyone,” said Casteel. “Our students are taking the same exam as Harvard, Yale, Columbia and all other schools across the country. This achievement is significant.”
To be an elementary school teacher in the State of Tennessee, education majors must pass four Praxis exams, which include Assessment, Reading Across Curriculum, Content Knowledge and Principles of Learning and Teaching.
According to Jones, on the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching, each student receives a score on a range from 100 to 200 on each exam, with a 155 being the passing mark. The average performance range is 168-182. Jones’ score of 189 garnered her the national accolades.
“Dr. Casteel’s Classroom Management class was the biggest help to me on that exam. I used a study guide that we made in her class to study for the PLT. I was able to use a lot of the information on the test when I was coming up with responses.”
Jones, who resides in Rogersville, added that the Graduate and Professional Studies program offered by Tusculum College is the reason she is able to attend college and pursue a career in education.
“I have two small children and my husband works full-time, so the Professional Studies Program schedule is perfect for me to allow me to be at home with my children as much as possible. I have always wanted to be a teacher and felt like it was a calling on my life.”
For more information on the educational degree programs or other programs in the Graduate and Professional Studies program at Tusculum College, contact Chance Gillespie, enrollment representative, at 423- 636.7330.