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What to Expect from the Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages Exam

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is becoming increasingly commonplace throughout the U.S., brought on by a rise in immigration and the globalization of business.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) responded to the need to assess teachers’ knowledge of English as a Second Language (ESL) by introducing the PRAXIS II English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) examination, which is now used by a number of state boards of education, as well as governmental, non-profit, and private organizations that employ ESL teachers.

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The PRAXIS II English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) examination is designed to measure basic pedagogical and linguistic knowledge for educators who desire to become teachers of English Language Learners (ELLs).

The ESOL examination is aligned with the TESOL/NCATE Standards for the Recognition of Initial TESOL Programs in P-12 Teacher Education, a joint effort between TESOL (a professional association) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation Inc. (NCATE).

Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages Exam: Content Assessment Categories

Test takers are given 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete the examination, which includes a 30-minute listening section. The second section consists of 100 selected-response questions.

This PRAXIS II content area examination is organized as follows:

  • Foundations of Linguistics and Learning – 40 percent of examination
  • Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction – 30 percent of the examination
  • Assessment – 15 percent of the examination
  • Cultural and Professional Aspects of the Job – 15 percent of the examination

Foundations of Linguistics and Learning

This section is focused on linguistic theory, language and culture, second-language learning, and literacy, which include topics such as:

  • Phonetic transcription and terminology
  • Types of morphemes
  • Conventions of standard written English
  • Language modeling and scaffolding in language learning
  • Research-based models for second-language learning and acquisition
  • Stages of second-language acquisition

Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction

This section of the ESOL Praxis II examination is focused on instructional theory, teaching techniques, managing the classroom and students, and materials, which include topics such as:

  • Lessons and activities that help students become more effective English language learners
  • Strategies for teaching language skills
  • Best practices for teaching English literacy
  • Locating, selecting and modifying instructional materials
  • Assessments that measure English language learners progress
  • Factors that affect student performance


This section of the ESOL examination is focused on knowledge of tests and standards, the appropriate use of tests, and interpreting and applying assessment results, which include topics such as:

  • Accommodations for English language learners
  • Interpreting and communicating the results of assessments
  • Using assessment results to inform a variety of decisions, such as placement and advancement
  • Individual and group literacy assessments
  • Preparing English language learners to use self- and peer-assessment techniques
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Cultural and Professional Aspects of the Job

This section of the English for Speakers of Other Languages PRAXIS examination is focused on cultural understanding, legal and ethical issues, the role of the ESL teacher, and professional development, which include topics such as:

  • Relationships between language and culture
  • Implications of cultural stereotyping in the school setting
  • Modeling positive attitudes toward second-language learners
  • Awareness of the difference of teaching and learning styles across cultures
  • Strategies for consulting with parents and caregivers about students’ progress and needs
  • The connection between language instruction and content instruction and the success of English language learners
  • Organizations and publications relevant to the field of ESL


How to Prepare for the ESOL Praxis Exam

To successfully pass the ESOL Praxis exam, test takers must prepare by setting goals and educating themselves regarding the content of the examination. Test takers can best prepare by learning more about the content of the examination through the practice and preparation materials offered by ETS.

ETS offers an eBook that can be purchased directly through ETS; however, there are also a number of free test preparation materials available through ETS, including:

On the day of the test, test takers can prepare by verifying the testing location, printing an admission ticket, assembling the necessary ID documents, and reviewing the list of important items to bring to class. Upon registering for the ESOL PRAXIS exam, examinees will set up a My Praxis Account, which can then be used to receive additional information regarding the testing date, time, and location. This system is also used to print the admission ticket and review preparation checklists and reminders.

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On the day of the Praxis examination, it is important to go over the test center procedures and regulations and arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment in order to allow time to complete the check-in process and complete a number of tutorials.

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