By Karissa Porter, Staff Writer

Dr. Shannon Larsen in her office in the Education Center

Dr. Shannon Larsen in her office in the Education Center (Photo courtesy of Wyatt Porter)

 Students here at UMF, particularly students with a major in education, are beginning to cope with the changed Praxis I test that is now aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Shannon Larsen, first year advisor to the incoming freshman that are majoring in early childhood and elementary education said, “the common core state standards themselves are more difficult standards; the expectation would be that a test aligned with those standards would be more rigorous as well.”

   Changing from the alignment of the Maine Learning Results to the Common Core State Standards, there are limited resources for the students to use to help prepare for the test. However, there are strategies students can use to avoid this dilemma. “We found that the closer students take the test to when they have taken the SATS in general, broadly speaking, the better they are able to do” said Larsen. “Or the more recently you graduated from high school because you just finished some of that content.”

   Other than not putting the test off to a later date, there are also resources that the University is trying to organize to help the future students prepare for the test. “The peer advisors are going to be running study groups” said Larsen. “Franklin academic center is working on putting together tutorial sessions as well.” A variety of people in the education building including Dr. Hatcher, the chair of the department, Joe Tutlis, the head of the Elementary division, along with others are “in contact with people and hoping to get study guides in hard copies at some point quite soon, so that we can have it available for students to use to study for the Praxis” said Larsen. There are many resources in working progress that will be available sometime in the near future.

   As of now, the Praxis I test is only available to students during certain windows of time. The first date coming up is October 7-19. “The only time frame that they can take it is in that two-week window” said Larsen. The next block of time is December 9-21. There will also be blocks of time in January and February for students that need it. The Praxis I test can be taken on the third floor in the Franklin Success Center on campus.

   Despite the switch over to the common core state standards, this is nothing to stress over for future students taking the test. “These groups of students are sort of in a bridge year” said Larsen. “They won’t know what was there before.” This is an important test to pass in order to get into the education program. However, “at the end of the day it’s a test” said Larsen. “It’s expensive, but there are opportunities to do it again. These students have had a lot of standardized testing in their life, but its one more.”

   “We are all learning as we are going along” said Larsen. “If you came to me in a month after the first Praxis test has been offered my answers would be changed because we will have more information available at that point in time.” There are plans to have more support available to students after the first group has taken the test in October.