Preparation Praised for SLP Class’s Perfect Praxis Pass Rate

Annette Ritzko and Zoe Laporte

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The 2019 speech-language pathology class has achieved a 100% pass rate on the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis Exam for the sixth consecutive year.

The Praxis examination is an essential part of becoming a certified speech-language pathologist through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Passing the Praxis exam is a requirement for gaining ASHA Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology nationwide, a state professional license and state teacher credentials.

The department is listed as one of the best accredited speech-language pathology programs for 2018 with the 100% Praxis exam pass rate, on-time program completion rate, and employment for program graduates, according to SpeechPathologyGraduatePrograms.org.

Graduates have two years to complete and pass the Praxis-SLP national exam after obtaining the master’s degree, said Dr. Glen Tellis, Professor and Chair of Speech Language Pathology. However, most students take the exam before graduating, he said.

Students also take the department’s comprehensive exams simultaneously.

“About six years ago, we introduced an online comprehensive class. Students learn a different area of specialization each week and participate in on-line discussions. They also complete online practices tests to prepare them for the national exam,” said Tellis.

Faculty found that by timing the comprehensive exams with the national exam, students have had more success in passing the Praxis-SLP on their first attempt.

Adina Rosenthal, Clinical Supervisor and Assistant Professor, co-teaches the preparation class for both examinations.

“Since this prepares students for both the national Praxis exam as well the comprehensive exam here, I wanted to use multiple formats of questions,” said Rosenthal.

During the week leading up to each class, as students are studying content area for the week, they are asked to generate some multiple choice and, short answer questions and one short essay question, Rosenthal said. Students then switch questions with partners and answer the questions.

“The students bring the questions/answers to class, and I call on people to put questions out there as review for the class. One student then collects all the questions and makes them available to everyone. This way, they have a variety and many questions for them to practice their knowledge in the subject area,” Rosenthal said.

Students are required to take three mock exams to monitor their progress.

“I think all of these strategies, in addition to focusing their time on one subject each week, has helped with their success. They also have partners and class mates to help them, as well as me as the facilitator. The Praxis book as well as the online practice exams, gives them great experience so they know what to expect the day of testing.”

Dr. Tara O’Neill, Assistant Professor, added that for each practice exam, students are required to analyze their results and pick out areas of difficulty. They then form objectives to improve their performance on the next exam.

“This helps students focus on particular areas of difficulty that they need to study more and promotes more effective study skills,” said O’Neill.

Other tips for students include practicing the test in an environment that simulates the actual test environment, such as a quiet room, and allowing enough time to complete the entire test in one sitting, said O’Neill.

Kali McCornac, speech-language pathology graduate student, recently passed the exam and  found the practice tests to be the most useful part of instruction. However, even with ample preparation, test-day jitters were still hard to shake.

“It is so nerve-wracking taking the test! To have one test on all of the material from every class from five years of school is terrifying. I can’t even express the relief I felt after seeing I passed. It made up for the months of stress,” said McCornac.

Becca Cristino, speech-language pathology graduate student, also passed the most recent test. Cristino found a structured schedule of review material helped her greatly. She said she benefitted from how classroom content fits into the “bigger picture,” which includes clinical application.

The strangest part of the testing experience for Cristino was the testing center.

“Testing centers are weird and quiet and cold and uptight, like airport security but weirder. I think the center and all its rules and protocols made me more nervous than the actual test, especially after all the practice tests. They over prepare you,” said Cristino.

Cristino said that if test takers memorize the number of questions they need to get right beforehand, they can calculate whether they passed because the test reveals the number of correct answers at the end.

“I felt pretty good right away, but even better once I had that official score report sent to me,” said Cristino.

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