About the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis Exam
The Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology (5331) is an integral component of ASHA certification standards. The development of the exam is commissioned by ASHA and facilitated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to provide a system of thorough, fair, and carefully validated assessments. The speech-language pathology Praxis exam is owned and administered by ETS as part of The Praxis II ®: Subject Assessments; however, ASHA's Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) appoints subject matter experts, makes a final determination for the passing score, and reviews Praxis Exam Policies [PDF] for fairness.
The current passing score for purposes of ASHA certification is 162 (on a 100–200 scale).
The Praxis Exam as a Requirement
The Praxis exam is used as a requirement for one or more of the following:
The Praxis Exam and State Credentials
Each state determines its passing score for professional licensure and teacher credentialing. Most states adopt the same score as required for ASHA certification, but in some states the Praxis examination score for licensure or teacher credentialing may be higher or lower than the ASHA passing score. The passing score adopted by a state is based on a review of ASHA's standard-setting study and/or an independent standard-setting study commissioned by the state or state agency.
The Praxis Exam and ASHA Certification
Individuals are eligible to apply for certification once they have completed all graduate-level academic course work and clinical practicum and been judged by the graduate program as having acquired all of the knowledge and skills mandated by the current standards. Once certification has been applied for, applicants have 2 years in which to complete the certification process, which includes passing the Praxis exam. The CFCC requires that all applicants must pass the national examination in the area for which the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) is sought.
Standard VI: Assessment of the 2014 Speech-Language Pathology Certification Standards states: The applicant must have passed the national examination adopted by ASHA for purposes of certification in speech-language pathology.
Praxis Exam Acceptability
Results of the Praxis Examination in Speech-Language Pathology submitted for initial certification must come directly to ASHA from ETS and must have been obtained no more than 5 years prior to the submission of the certification application. Scores older than 5 years will not be accepted for certification. Applicants who fail the examination may retake it; however, if the exam is not successfully passed within the 2-year application period, the applicant's certification file will be closed. If the exam is passed at a later date, the individual will have to reapply for certification under the standards in effect at that time.
When to Take the Exam
It is recommended that individuals register and take the Praxis exam no earlier than the completion of their graduate coursework and graduate clinical practicum or during their first year of clinical practice following graduation. Applicants should take into consideration any state licensing requirements regarding completion of the exam.
Approximately every 5–8 years, ASHA commissions a vendor to conduct an independent skills validation (practice analysis) study for audiology. An speech-language pathology practice analysis incorporates a multi-method approach that involves a number of independent expert panels and a large-scale survey of practitioners, educators, clinical supervisors, and clinic directors. This process can take up to 12 months to complete. The results of the practice analysis provide descriptive information about the tasks performed on the job—and/or the knowledge, skills, and abilities believed necessary to perform those tasks–by new graduates entering independent professional practice.
The study results—along with a review of practice-specific literature (e.g., scope of practice, profession-specific practice policy guidelines and position statements, preferred practice patterns, and publications from related professional organizations) and widespread peer review by state licensure boards, academic programs, and related professional organizations—form the basis for an evaluation of current certification standards and any recommendation for change in the standards by the CFCC.
The blueprint for the speech-language pathology Praxis exam is derived from the ASHA speech-language pathology certification standards, which are reflective of the results of the comprehensive practice analysis study. Standard-setting studies are also performed periodically to evaluate each question for its relevance to a newly practicing clinician and to determine how many questions this individual must be able to answer correctly to pass the exam. An external vendor prepares a report for the CFCC along with a recommendation for a passing score. The CFCC considers the recommendation and then makes a final determination for the passing score.
ASHA nominates subject matter experts to serve on Praxis committees who work with ETS to develop the exams. Subject matter experts are ASHA-certified individuals from both academic and clinical backgrounds. The speech-language pathology exam is developed by speech-language pathologists along with audiologists who write questions about hearing and hearing science.
Praxis Exam Content
The content for speech-language pathology Praxis exam 5331 is comprehensive and, as a result, test-takers will need to synthesize information they have learned from many sources and understand the subject as a whole. The Speech-Language Pathology Study Companion [PDF] can be used by test-takers to familiarize themselves with exam content prior to the taking the Praxis. They can learn how the Praxis test is structured and what kinds of questions to expect by reading the General Information and Study Tips [PDF] for the Praxis.