Education – Innovation Grant

School of Education Academic Support Hub

Faculty Leads: Jewell Cooper and Jacqui Dozier

UNCG’s School of Education (SOE) has identified a new challenge for students seeking admission to their teacher education program. Students in the teacher education program are required to pass the Praxis Core exam during their second year in order to move on to the program’s upper division as Juniors and Seniors. This high- stakes standardized test has proven to be a greater obstacle for them because UNCG no longer requires ACT and SAT scores for admission to the university. Many students have not experienced taking this kind of standardized exam and are unsure of what to expect or how to prepare. Not passing the Praxis Core exam causes major issues for students’ entrance into the program, therefore leading to lower retention rates.

In order to address this problem, the SOE has developed an Academic Support Hub. During its first year of implementation, tutoring sessions have been created at the end of the TED 250/SES 250 courses internship periods for their students. These sessions on reading, writing, and math offer online resources and direct one-on-one tutoring assistance to ensure that students are well-prepared for the exam and have access to their peers with further guidance as needed while they study. The hope is that by engagement in Praxis preparation during their first two years, the SOE can ensure that all students are given the best chance of passing the exam and excelling as upper division students and as teachers. Broadly, the SOE has found that students who are feeling anxiety about the exam have responded positively to this additional offering of support.

Moving forward, the SOE intends to continue offering these tutoring and hopes to further improve students’ efficacy through reflection on feedback and collected data about Praxis scores. They may also suggest that students begin taking the Praxis Core in their first year at UNCG, giving them the ability to retake it multiple times, if necessary, without impacting the rate at which they can move through the program. As a whole, the tutoring sessions are aimed not only at raising retention rates and ensuring students pass their Praxis, but it is also a way to demonstrate to students that UNCG and the SOE care about their success while offering them the support they need to feel confident in their preparation to become educators.

Given the success of the Academic Support Hub in providing support for students to pass the Praxis Core exam, the SOE is expanding the services of the Academic Support Hub to include supports for other areas where students are in need of support, including the Foundations of Reading state-mandated standardized test required for teacher licensure, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting proficiency required of students in the Deaf Education program, success in required math courses, and success in the computer programming requirements for students studying Information Science.

Want to Learn More?
Visit the School of Education’s website or contact Jewell Cooper ( and Jacqui Dozier (