While this is not something I want to spread around, especially not to future perspective employers, I want to annouce it. I am only slightly ashamed. Mostly I'm astounded--seriously astounded. NC requires a combined score of 322 in Art: Content Knowledge and Art Making. I scored 311. I was just drop-jawed when I received my scores. Then, I looked up the MD qualifying scores. MD also requires Art: Content Knowledge with a minimum score of 159. My score is 168. Phew! Going into this exam and during it I thought I might have to take the Content Knowledge again because I am rusty on architecture and there were a lot of those questions. Not surprisingly that was my lowest scored area of the test. As for the Art Making exam, MD does not require that exam, but instead the other essay exam available for art teachers. Since I'm graduating from a NC school, though, my exams and scores need to be for NC. The Art Making is an hour long essay test. There are two five minute exercises which can be written or drawn answers and then two 25 minute essays about, get this, MY OWN WORK! I prepared for this test. I read the sample questions. I prepared responses for the sample questions. I thought about why I wanted to choose the pieces I chose. When I saw the two five minute questions I thought, piece of cake. Knocked those out and moved on to the essays about my work. The questions posed, unlike the sample questions, were VERY simplistic. The test has two pages for each of the three questions per artwork. I only requred 5-10 lines per answer and I finished right at the last second. I was not concerned about this test when I finished. I felt I had answered the questions to the point and very specifically. So, why, then did I effectively score a 50% on each of the two score categories?
I. Working knowledge of basic art concepts and techniques of art making: 6 out of 12
II. Documentation of personal art making: 22 out of 40
Not sure how scoring works, but that gave me a 143.
Looking at the sample answer given in study material, the scorers like a lot of bull shit and do not care about flow or sentence structure or even answering the specific question posed. Did I flower my answers with artists who influenced me? No, because that was not asked. Did I throw in a period of art history that my work could fit into? No, because that was not asked. Guessing I should have though.
Now I have a few options:
1. Pay $55 to have the score verified. This means someone makes sure the score reflects the scoring rules. That would probably just leave me back where I am now: failing.
2. Take Art Making again and hope I get at least a 154, eleven points more, to get the minimum 322 required.
3. Take BOTH the Art Making AND the Art: Content Knowledge (2 hour multiple choice test which I finished, along with many others, in 1 hour) exams in hopes of raising BOTH scores to get over the 322 minimum score.
I'm leaning towards option 3. The bad news is it will cost $200 to do that. Education is NOT cheap. The good news is I got a waiver the first time I took the Praxis and only paid $80. So, really I took the Content Knowledge for free the first time and now I'm paying for it like most people have to do anyway. In taking it again, I'll prepare even more and really review architecture and famous artists.
On my Praxis score booklet my Praxis I scores are listed. I took that test in April 2002. I passed each of the three sections (Reading, Writing, Math) for both NC and MD minimum score requirements. I was surprised at the time that my Writing score was lowest of the three. I'm not a superb writer, but I am organized and generally have excellent grammer. Is excellent too strong a word? I'm not sure where my test was scored or by whom. The scores came from Princeton, NJ. Scorers just don't think highly of my writing.
W is also planning on teaching, though he'll be taking an alternative route since his degrees are in History and Sociology and not education. He still has to take the Praxis I and II. The Content Knowledge test should be a piece of cake for him. However, the essay test, titled Pedagogy, is odd to him. Since he's never taken an education class he doesn't understand how teaching is viewed as a science. Well, it is. The essay test gives specific history topics, such as The Cold War, and asks the test taker to give the main topic he will teach and reasons why. Then it asks for subtopics and reasons why. I still think he should be able to do well on the test, because he knows history very well and can write well. Really, not having studied lesson planning might help him to just focus on the questions at hand rather than think about structure of lesson plans.
When I was a kid, I knew my husband and I would be teachers. Don't remember when I thought that, but I did. I will definitely branch out and do other "careers" in my life and I think W will as well. I'm pretty excited to teach and I'm starting to look forward to student teaching. It will keep me busy and get me prepared for jumping into a classroom mid-year (I'm praying) since I graduate in December. I have a few Ts to cross this summer, one being passing the Praxis. I also have to do a completely rediculous online education portfolio, though I suppose I will show it to school systems to which I apply. The last thing I have to do is make sure a couple classes are allowed to be substituted from other schools. For some reason teachers don't call me. I have to find them.