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What is the NES Test?

Instructor: Bill Sands
NES stands for National Evaluation Series and refers to a group of teacher certification exams. Keep reading for more information on the different types of tests available and learn where and when you can take them.

Overview of the NES

The National Evaluation Series, or NES, is a group of teacher certification examinations. There are over 30 tests in the series, with exam topics covering fundamental academic subjects as well as professional knowledge. The following types of tests can be found under the NES umbrella.

Content Area Assessments

NES content area assessments cover just about every subject commonly found in K-12 education and are specific to the grade levels aspiring educators want to teach. There are assessments covering early childhood and elementary education subjects as well as middle grades English, science, math, and social studies. Examples of secondary topics include chemistry, English language arts, biology, and history. There are also exams for individuals seeking K-12 credentials in music, special education and school counseling, among other areas.

These assessments cover essential concepts in a given subject, and the purpose of these tests is to gauge a new teacher's grasp of the subjects he or she intends to teach.

Professional Knowledge Assessments

In addition to being familiar with their subject area, teachers must also be able to convey their knowledge to students. To assess these skills, the NES also includes exams that gauge a candidate's knowledge of teaching pedagogy - The Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Elementary and Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary.

Essential Academic Skills Assessments

These four exams cover reading, writing, math, and technology literacy. They're designed to ensure candidates have the fundamental academic skills needed to succeed in a teacher training program as well as in their own classrooms.

States Using the NES

The NES is used by educational departments looking for a fair and consistent means of evaluating new teachers. States that currently use the NES for certification include:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Colorado
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois

NES Test Dates & Registration

NES exams are available by appointment on a year-round basis. The exact dates for a given test are dependent on your location. To check local availability, consult the NES website for a directory of testing centers and available testing appointments.

Once you've determined a suitable test date and location, you can sign up for the exam after creating an online account with Pearson VUE. You need only provide basic information, such as a user name, password, and standard contact information.

NES Scoring

Like most standardized tests, NES examinations use a scaling system when determining a candidate's final score. This allows test administrators to set the same performance benchmark for all tests, regardless of how many questions are on a particular exam. Scores for NES tests range between 100 and 300. The national benchmark is 220.

However, individual states determine their own passing scores for each test, independent of the national benchmark. Be sure to check your state's board of education requirements before taking the exam so that you fully understand how well you will need to perform in order to pass your NES test.

Studying for the NES

If you're a teacher seeking certification and plan on taking one or more of the NES exams, you should be aware of the many study materials and review guides that Study.com has to offer. Study.com has guides for several tests, including:

These interactive study guides contain plenty of helpful learning tools, including video lessons and quizzes. The above list does not represent the entire catalog. Be sure to check out Study.com to view the full range of NES course offerings.

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