100% Praxis Testing takes English Ed Grads to top of Class

Published: April 29, 2015 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Among this year's Class of 2015 graduates is a well-read bunch of English education students who are trading their textbooks and desks in one classroom to stand at the front of another. These English ed. grads head into their teaching careers well prepared for success, graduating from a program that touts a 100-percent Praxis I and II pass rate for the past three years.

This is an uncommon accomplishment, according to Dr. Lisa Arter, head of SUU's English-teaching program. “It is unlikely for any school to have above 80 percent of their first-time test taking students pass," Arter explains. "For our program to have now helped 100 percent of our students pass for the past three years—unprecedented is an understatement."

Indeed, an 80-percent first-time pass rate would place a program above the national average. 

As to what makes SUU's program a standout, Jaimie Dannelly, a senior English education, creative writing major says “My professors were a tremendous help when it came to preparing for the Praxis, and the Praxis II especially." Rather than rote memorization, It was the way those professors taught the Praxis information that stuck with Dannelly in the testing center. She explains, "While I was taking the test, there were a few questions that popped up, and I immediately had flashbacks to class and was able to remember the main points the professors outlined because I remembered how fascinating and interesting the discussions had been."

“Everyone who has studied with SUU English professors knows that SUU has quality teachers," said Ken Ayers, a senior English education major from Flint, Michigan. As he prepares to graduate, Ayers reflects back on study groups and impassioned class discussions that made the information he was learning stick.

While the licensure tests are important, Arter emphasizes the English department's ultimate goal is to prepare their students for success long after they have graduated. In that regard, the program is no less successful; every one of the program's English education students has secured a full-time teaching position in Utah, Nevada or Arizona.

The English education program at SUU includes coursework within the department of English as well as the University's college of education. Dannelly leaves SUU on May 1, diploma and job in hand, equally impressed with both programs.

"The Praxis is a nerve-wracking exam; it determines your professional fate. My professors from both English and education were incredibly supportive," Dannelly recalls. "Their support—knowing my professors believed in me—was a great boost as I studied for and took that nerve-wracking exam.”

With classes in literature, grammar, critical theory, methods of teaching content and writing, SUU's English education program prepares students to teach English in middle school or high school. Points of distinction include a high level of pedagogical discussion alongside heightened opportunities for practical application. The program focuses equally on teaching students how to teach and teaching the subject matter itself. Many of the program's professors are former public school educators and administrators, providing insight into the real world application of the things students are learning. Additionally, thanks to unique educational partnerships with the Utah Shakespearean Festival and an SUU-hosted annual writing conference for educators, students are able to explore a broader range of possibilities within their chosen field of study.

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