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​CSPG 21 - Te​​sting

Modified: February 15, 2024​

The Testing Certification a​​​nd Staffing Policy Guideline (CSPG) outlines testing requirements for all candidates for certification. The information provided in the Testing CSPG is applicable to all educators who are currently applying for Pennsylvania certification.

All candidates should refer to the Certification Test and Score Requirements (Excel) chart at Certification Testing for current test information. Test requirements, including qualifying scores, are subject to change.

GPA Allowance​

The GPA Allowance developed by PDE enables an applicant to use their preparation program GPA to meet a qualifying score for their content and, if applicable, general knowledge assessments. The scores and corresponding GPA spans are outlined on the Certification Testing Chart (Excel). Note, the GPA Allowance does not change the passing score(s) or pass/fail result(s) but allows the acceptance of GPA qualifying score(s) for certificate issuance.

The GPA Qualifying Scores included in the chart may not be used for:

  • Intern certificates.
  • Add-ons by testing; or
  • Basic skills assessments.

Assessment Requirement​​s

  • Assessment results must be relevant to the specific preparation program recommendation.
  • Assessments are periodically updated and replaced with a more current version. Previous version assessment results will be accepted if taken up to six months after the effective date of the current version. A candidate who registered for the previous version prior to the effective date of the current version is not subject to the six-month window. A candidate who takes the previous version within the six-month window and fails will be given an additional six months. These allowances are subject to the availability of the previous version.

Assessment Excepti​ons​

  • Candidates who hold a bachelor's degree or higher are not required to take the basic skills assessments as a post-baccalaureate program entrance requirement.
  • Out-of-State Instructional, Educational Specialist, and Supervisory candidates who submit a copy of a current, valid, and comparable certificate with verification of two years of satisfactory experience in the area are only required to take the content testing.
  • Instructional candidates who hold a current, valid, professional-level out-of-state certificate that is comparable in both content and grade scope to the PA certificate sought are not required to take any additional tests if they satisfy the following in the content/grade scope of the certificate held:
    • ​Completed a college or university education preparation program that included student teaching in the certifying state and passed related content testing to obtain the certificate; and
    • Present proof of satisfactory teaching experience on the certifying state's certificate for the two most recent years of classroom teaching.
  • Educational Specialist candidates who hold a valid license recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education are exempt from all testing.
  • Career & Technical candidates in post-baccalaureate programs are not required to take the basic skills assessment in reading and writing. The basic skills mathematics assessment is required for Career & Technical level II certification.

Assessment Submission​​

  • All assessment scores must be reported electronically directly from the test provider when available.
  • If not available, we accept scores through alternative submission methods:
    • A letter from another state education agency sent directly to PDE with the
      • Current name of the applicant.
      • Application ID, PPID, date of birth, or last four digits of the SSN.
      • Test information: test date, test code, test name, and either the score or state qualifying score needed for certification at the time the test was taken.
    • Official scores in an envelope sealed by the test provider and forwarded to PDE with a TIMS application cover sheet to the address listed on the cover sheet.
    • SAT or ACT scores entered by the Pennsylvania approved program provider in TIMS.
    • SAT or ACT scores verified from an official score report sent directly to PDE from the program provider or high school. The letter may be sent via:

Adding Certificat​​e Areas by Assessment

Educators currently holding a valid Pennsylvania Instructional certificate may add subject areas by passing the appropriate content tests and applying in TIMS.

Certification areas that may not be added via testing are Special Education (all areas), Cooperative Education, Health and Physical Education, and Reading Specialist.

Educators currently holding a valid Pennsylvania Supervisory certificate may add a single area Supervisory certificate, excluding special education, by passing the current content test.


Chapter §49.18, §49.65, §49.111, §49.121, §49.163, §403.4

Related CSPGs: CSPG 4

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous CSPG printing dates on this subject: 1/1987, 7/2004, 5/2008, 8/2008, 7/2014, 9/2016​

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions​Major Changes to CSPG #21
  • ​​Added verbiage to clarify GPA allowance.
  • Revisions to clarify assessment requirements.
  • Revisions to reflect changes to out of state pathway.
  • Minor technical revisions.​
​Updated to include add on supervisory certification information as per Chapter 49 change
​5/1/2017​Clarified basic skills entrance requirement
​8/1/2016​Added submission information and test exceptions.
​7/1/2014​Revised the replaced test policy.
  • The Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) reading, writing, mathematics tests replaced the Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) effective April 2012; PPSTs accepted through Dec. 31, 2012.
  • Added the acceptance of the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT) Plus writing for meeting the basic skills assessment requirement.
  • Eliminated the 10-year test score validity requirement.
  • Added six-month grace period for acceptance of replaced tests.
  • Added the Letter of Eligibility test requirement.
  • Deleted the following statement as the certificate, plus two years of teaching supersedes/supplants the 3-out-of-7 rule even though it is still in regulation:
    • Test scores submitted under the 3-out-of-7 rule as stated in Chapter §49.65 (e) must have been successfully completed within five years of the date of application.
​8/1/2008​The five-year test score validity has been extended to 10 years for all
educator candidates with the exception of out-of-state candidates
evaluated under the 3-out-of-7 rule.
​9/1/2003​Allowed the add-on of instructional certifications by passing the content
test and permitted the use of the American Council for the Teaching of
Foreign Languages (ACTFL) tests administered through Language
Testing International (LTI) for foreign languages.
​9/1/2002​Fundamental Subjects Content Knowledge (0511) replaced Elementary
Education Content Knowledge (0014).
​9/1/2001​Testing added for Educational Specialists, Supervisors and
  • Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) Listening Skills Test required as of 9/1/2000 until 1/2002.
  • Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) – reading, writing and math replaced General Knowledge and Communication Skills as basic skills tests.
  • Elementary Education Content Knowledge (0014) was added for all K-6 and K-12 areas.
​11/1/1997​Principles of Learning and Teaching replaced Professional Knowledge
​11/1/1993​Praxis tests for basic skills and content areas replaced National Teacher
Exam/Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Testing Program tests.
​9/1/1991-1993​National Teacher Exam tests were offered in the basic skills areas
including General Knowledge, Communication Skills and Professional
Knowledge between 1991-93. Additional specialty area National Teacher
Exam tests continued to be added.
​6/1/1987​Pennsylvania teacher certification testing began. Pennsylvania Teacher
Certification Testing Program tests were required between 1987 and
1992. A small number of National Teacher Exam specialty area tests
were offered.