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Kay T. Payne, Ph.D.

Department/ College

Communication Sciences & Disorders/Communications





Jennifer L. Jones, Graduate Assistant



Dr. Kay T. Payne is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and
Disorders. A Howard alumna, she earned her Ph.D. in Communication Sciences in 1982 specializing in sociolinguistics and speech-language pathology. Since then she has become a leader in her field. In 1993, she was named Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Heating Association (ASHA). More recently, she received the prestigious Scholar/Mentor Award from the National Black Association for Speech, Language and Hearing.

An authority on test-taking skills, Dr. Payne is best known for creating the first software to improve the scores of minority students on the Praxis examinations for certification in speech-language pathology and audiology. Also to assist students, Dr. Payne has authored three best selling textbooks and two CD Roms related to the Praxis. She has also developed two distance learning courses for the Praxis delivered via the Blackboard course management system. Many users credit these materials to their passing the Praxis. In addition to these materials, Dr. Payne is renowned for presenting workshops across the nation in internationally.

She has conducted professional development activities including two Fulbright Fellowships to Egypt and India, as well research and study in Hawaii; Russia; Ukraine; Namibia; United Kingdom; Japan; China; and Brazil; and teaching in Saudi Arabia. She has studied in such prestigious institutions as the School for Oriental and African Studies of the University of London; East-West Center of the University of Hawaii; Department of Russian Studies of the University of Iowa, Japan Institute of the University of San Diego; Central University for Nationalities in Beijing, China; and Center for South Asia Studies, of the University of California at Berkeley.


Praxis Preparation Course

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12639 Praxis Preparation (SLP) COSD 61101
16061 Praxis Preparation (Aud) COSD 61102


Howard University Blackboard


Payne, K & Tishman, A. 2000. Computer Practice Module for the Praxis in Speech-Language Pathology. Delmar-Thomson Learning. Payne, K & Tishman, A. 2000. Computer Practice Module for the Praxis in Audiology. Delmar-Thomson Learning. Each Computer Practice Module is a personal exercise program for individual use. The program allows computer aided instruction and continuous practice for improving test-taking skills. Tests of various lengths and content areas assist users to learn new material, test recall and improve clinical judgment, critical thinking, timing and guessing abilities. The program allows the selection of 27 different exercises and provides immediate scoring feedback, along with explanations for correct answers. Users may also select the difficulty level of questions and select tests from specific course areas. Twelve exercises are available for practicing the test-taking skills outlined in the Praxis course. Three additional exercises allow users to practice pacing and timing. A bank of 150 questions is presented for the various exercises does the following: Generates an infinite number of multiple choice tests for various purposes Presents tests in each area of coursework similar to the actual Praxis Examination Generates a full length simulation of the Praxis Estimates Praxis score Allows selection of easy, moderate or difficult questions Provides practice for test-taking skills Permits practice to increase timing Computer aided instruction Provides an explanation for correct answer choices Provides immediate results, scoring feedback and timing information


Praxis Preparation is a 1-credit online course developed to address the high failure rate of Howard students on the Praxis, the national certification examination for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Delivered entirely via Blackboard, each course consists of 5 hours of lectures in voice-over-PowerPoint, a pre-test and post-test, and online computer practice.

Presentation of the course has resulted in a substantial decrease in the number of students who fail the Praxis. In fact, many students score within the high range. The course has many benefits to students, instructor and the university and is easily replicable for other courses and disciplines.


The Praxis is the required standardized examination for certification and licensure of speech-language pathologists and audiologists. The Praxis is usually taken when individuals have completed the Master’s degree and applying for professional certification and/or licensure. The Praxis is developed, administered and scored by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Similar to other standardized tests, there is a high failure rate for African Americans. Statistics reveal that the failure rate is 13% for whites, but 54% for African Americans. The failure rate at Howard is 50 %, slightly lower than the national rate for African Americans. This high failure rate is particularly disturbing since African Americans are seriously underrepresented in the professions.
African Americans encounter difficulty passing the Praxis due to unfamiliarity with the test requirements or inadequate test-taking skills. Students possess adequate knowledge of course content, but miss passing because of problems in time management and/or test-taking strategies. This course is the only available mechanism to provide these skills to students.


Two 1-credit courses [Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology] consist of (a) approximately 5 hours of online personal presentations in Voice-Over-PowerPoint format delivered via Blackboard, (b) online pretests and post-tests with immediate scoring through Blackboard’s Assessment Manager, and (c) a Computer Practice Module [described above under CDs or DVDs]. Required reading assignments from the textbook authored by Dr. Payne correspond with each presentation. The class meets once in the beginning of the semester and once at then end of the semester. Students’ progress is monitored by required e-mails of questions to the instructor and Blackboard record of access. The Blackboard chat room allows interaction and discussion among students.

The computer Practice Module was developed using Hypercard software.


During the 2005 Spring semester, 11 students took the courses, then took the examination. The failure rate was 27%, which is substantially less than previous years for Howard, and for African Americans overall. Students benefited from the self-paced, personal instruction, and enjoyed not having to attend a weekly class. The online format enabled monitoring by the instructor to ensure that students completed all course requirements. The pre-test gave each student an indication of the amount of effort he/she needed for the course, and each student improved on the post-test, indicating that the course content was effective. The practice module allowed students to apply their learning, and practice to improve their skills.

Although developing the course required much time and effort by the instructor, the online format required minimal time during the semester. While a 15 contact hour course typically requires 45 hours of preparation, it is estimated that the online format required a maximum of 10 hours! An even greater time saving will accumulate over the coming years.

The online format created a permanent standardization of the course content. This not only resulted in consistency and reliability, but enabled students to repeat segments for clarity, a feature not available in live presentation. Moreover, the course will now be offered every semester, without affecting the instructor’s course workload.


The passing score for the Praxis is 600. The high scoring students scored 690, 640, 660 and 630. One student who took the Praxis before taking the course improved her score by 100 points. The following are e-mails testimonials from students:
I passed the PRAXIS!!! My score was a 630!!! I thank you for your preparation course, because I know it really helped everyone!!!
Bridgett Sherron


The online format allowed the instructor to:
∑ Directly measure effectiveness of student learning through comparison of pre-test and post-test performance
Ensure completion of all course assignments and activities by all students
Allow student discussion and interaction without the presence of an instructor
Provide a mechanism for practicing the skills learned through the course
Provide printable lecture notes from PowerPoint
Gauge the depth of students’ understanding through the questions they posed
Provide a truly objective grade to each student
Teach the same course content consistently in every course offering


The online course is extremely cost efficient. The course can now be offered every semester and available to students when it is convenient to their schedule without taxing the instructor’s workload. Time saved for the instructor was used for grantwriting and conducting research.
Since it is the only course of its kind, it can be conveniently available to students in the Consortium, generating additional tuition revenue for the University. Moreover, the course will be listed with Howard University Continuing Education, and available to non-matriculating students cross the nation.


The course format is easily generalizable to other courses and disciplines. Many professors already utilize PowerPoint for instruction and have adopted Blackboard, especially for testing and assessment. This course provided Voice-Over-PowerPoint through easy usable software that can be used with existing PowerPoint slides. The course is a model for the design of distance learning that ensures that students complete all activities and demonstrate learned competencies.


The course is excellent for students with all physical and learning disabilities. The online format removes the challenges presented by being absent or late to class, and allows students to replay lectures and print lecture notes. Voice-Over-PowerPoint accommodates students who are auditory/visual learners. The course allows students to have a personal tutorial from the instructor.


Kay T. Payne

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