If you're looking to work as a paraprofessional, you will need to take the ParaPro Assessment before applying for a job. Here's a brief review of everything you need to know about the ParaPro, including registration, test-taking, and scoring.
ParaPro From the Inside Out
Working as a teacher's assistant or paraprofessional is a great way to enter the world of teaching and learn firsthand what it takes to run a classroom. If you're looking to take on this role, you will first need to pass the ParaPro Assessment. Understanding the purpose of the test, test components, and scoring is one of the best ways to prepare for taking the actual test. Here's a brief, yet concise, list of everything you need to know about the ParaPro Assessment.
What is the ParaPro?
The ParaPro Assessment was created in response to the No Child Left Behind Act, a federal law stating that all paraprofessionals must meet at least one of three requirements. Those include holding at least an Associate of Arts degree, completing two years of postsecondary school, or passing an assessment that demonstrates knowledge in reading, writing, and math.
The ParaPro Assessment was developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which is the biggest non-profit educational assessment organization in the world. The test measures an individual's knowledge in the areas of reading, writing, and math. In addition, the test is able to assess the individual's capabilities of assisting in the classroom.
The test is required for all paraprofessionals who have not met the other two federal requirements. It is designed for those who are currently working as paraprofessionals and those who wish to become a paraprofessional.
How to Register
Once you know that you want to become a teacher's assistant or paraprofessional, you will need to register for the ParaPro. You can locate your testing center and register through the ETS official web site. Testing centers are generally listed by state and oftentimes by school district. Most centers will have specific test dates and times for you to register as well as directions on registering online, by mail, over the phone, or in person.
Be prepared to pay at least $55 to take the ParaPro test. Additional fees may apply depending on where you are taking the test. Make sure you ask the testing center ahead of time what the exact cost will be and if there will be any extra fees. You should also inquire about accepted methods of payment and determine whether you need to pay ahead of time or on the day of the test.
One of the best ways to prepare for the ParaPro is to download the free study companion and assessment tutorial provided by ETS. Free study guides for the ParaPro and similar assessments are also available through teacher testing websites. These study tools help break down the assessment and walk you through what to expect in each section. Test-taking strategies, sample questions, and practice tests are also provided to help test-takers learn what to expect on test day. Related practice tests and lessons in math, reading, and writing are also available through Study.com.
The actual ParaPro test takes about two and a half hours to complete and is given on a computer. The test consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. Two-thirds of the questions focus on skills and knowledge while the remaining questions focus on classroom application skills. By taking the practice tests online beforehand, you can learn to pace yourself on the actual test. Practice tests can also give you a better idea of what to study in case you want to take any additional lessons or courses before taking the test.
You will get an unofficial score on the computer screen once you complete the test. Official scores are generally mailed out two to three weeks after you complete the test. Scores are included in the testing price; however, if you want additional scoring reports, you will be charged a $50 fee. Additional scoring reports are available through ETS only.
Scoring requirements for the ParaPro and similar assessment tests are set by each state and occasionally by the school district in which you will be working. You will need to contact the appropriate department within the state or school district in order to determine what passing score is required. For a complete listing you may also log on to ETS' state ParaPro score requirements website.
In general, score reports sent to designated schools will show your basic information plus a pass or fail score. Test questions are in categories, which is how your scores will be presented. This helps you identify what areas you may need to work on. For instance scores will be listed for math, reading, and writing. You will see the points you earned out of a total number of points possible. You will also see a comparison of your score with the majority of test takers. This will give you an idea of how well you did.
If you are applying for a position as a paraprofessional, plan ahead by scheduling your ParaPro Assessment. Take your test far enough ahead of time that you will be able to hand in your scores with your resume or application for an assistant position. This can give you a lead over other applicants who may still need to take the test or are waiting for their scores to come in.