The Math Praxis II Test, titled "Mathematics: Content Knowledge" and found under testing codes 0061 and 5061, is a two hour, fifty-question multiple choice test developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service, or ETS. Taken on paper or on a computer, this test measures the mathematical knowledge and competency of teachers entering the practice at the high school level. Testing material is not aligned with any specific state curriculum, and the Math Praxis II is not required by every state for certification. Prospective teachers should check with their state licensing agencies before signing up for the test. A graphing calculator is required.
Teachers and prospective teachers taking the Math Praxis II are tested in five basic content categories. These categories are algebra and number theory; measurement, geometry, and trigonometry; functions and calculus; data analysis and statistics and probability; and matrix data and discrete mathematics. These topics are not divided into separate sections on the test. Because the content knowledge test is designed to demonstrate an examinee's facility with math, skills from several of the listed content categories may be required to solve each individual problem.
In addition to testing content knowledge, the Math Praxis II test is also designed to assess the test-taker's mathematical processing skills. Mathematical thinking is tested in the process of solving and answering the fifty multiple choice questions. The test is designed to measure mathematical problem solving, mathematical reasoning and proof, mathematical connections, mathematical reasoning and use of technology. These thinking skills may be applied to any of the content categories.
Notations, Definitions and Formulas
While a certain level of basic mathematical knowledge is assumed on the part of the test taker, a number of useful notations, definitions and formulas are provided within the test booklet. These notations, definitions and formulas are generally found at the end of the test booklet and can be used to compute answers independently and with the graphing calculator. The notations for least common denominator and greatest common denominator, definitions within discrete mathematics, and the formulas for sine, cosine and volume are examples of the information provided in the booklet.
Preparing for the Math Praxis II
Future educators taking the Praxis II math test generally have an undergraduate degree with a concentration in mathematical fields and are working towards teacher certification in this area. In addition to this educational background, a large number of study guides and practice books are available for purchase. Many of these study guides contain computer programs, access to online forums and practice tests. Some companies also offer test prep classes in person and online.
A lifetime resident of New York, Christi O'Donnell has been writing about education since 2003. O'Donnell is a dual-certified educator with experience writing curriculum and teaching grades preK through 12. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters Degree in education from Mercy College.