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Exam Structure

All exams are criterion-referenced; that is, they are designed to measure a test taker's knowledge in relation to an established standard of competence (a criterion) rather than in relation to the performance of other test takers. The purpose of the exams is to help identify test takers who have the appropriate level of knowledge and skills that have been judged to be important for educators seeking employment in Texas public schools.

The exam frameworks are explicitly aligned with appropriate Texas standards for educators and with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the mandated state curriculum for students. The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) program includes assessments of content-area knowledge and professional knowledge for teachers and administrators. TExES exams correspond in name and level (e.g., 4–8, 7–12, EC–6, and EC–12) with Texas certificates.

The exam frameworks are available as part of the examination preparation manuals.

Because the content of each exam is based on its exam framework, the content of each score report is related to the exam framework as well. Scores are reported to test takers not only as whole-exam (pass/fail) scores but also with domain-level and competency-level raw score information (i.e., number of questions answered correctly) that reflects the test taker's level of performance on groups of exam questions addressing similar content. The correspondence between test takers' exam scores and stated domains and competencies can be especially helpful to administrators as they advise students who are preparing to retake an exam, because it permits advisors to link specific courses and other campus resources to areas of study in which a student may benefit from focused work.

The table that follows illustrates the relationship among domains, competencies, descriptive statements, and exam questions in a typical TExES exam (English Language Arts and Reading 7–12 [231]). The table is followed by a sample page from the English Language Arts and Reading 7–12 exam framework that illustrates each framework element.

Content Example

Exam Field
This is the name and code number of the exam. The exam field corresponds to a particular Texas certification area.

English Language Arts and Reading 7–12 (231)

Domain
Each exam is divided into major content domains—broad areas of content within the exam that reflect an organizational principle that is understandable to individuals studying and working in the field.

Domain II
Literature, Reading Processes and Skills for Reading Literary and Nonliterary Texts

Competency
Each domain contains several competencies that define content knowledge that Texas educators determined to be important to the job of an educator in the field. Competencies are conceptual statements that reflect some of the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed by educators in Texas public schools. The number of competencies within each domain may vary depending on the breadth of content contained within the domain.

Competency 005: The teacher understands reading skills and strategies for various types of nonliterary texts and teaches students to apply these skills and strategies to enhance their lifelong learning.

Descriptive Statement
Each competency is further elaborated by descriptive statements that provide examples of the range of knowledge and skills included within the competency. The examples that are provided in descriptive statements are not inclusive of all content that may be covered.

(Sample Descriptive Statement for Competency 005)

The beginning teacher:

Knows strategies for monitoring one's own understanding of nonliterary texts and for addressing comprehension difficulties that arise (e.g., by rereading, using other resources, questioning) and knows how to teach students to use these strategies.

Selected-Response Question
Each selected-response question corresponds to one competency and typically presents candidates with introductory information, a statement or question to be answered, and a choice of four or more response options, one or more of which is the best choice of the responses given.

  1. Students in a science class are reading a textbook chapter. Which of the following strategies will best support students' comprehension of the chapter?
    1. Studying the characteristics of effective persuasion in the chapter
    2. Examining the various points of view in the chapter
    3. Skimming and scanning the significant text features of the chapter
    4. Comparing and contrasting themes in parallel chapters

NOTE: The correct response to the sample question, which corresponds to Competency 005, is C.

English Language Arts and Reading 7–12 (231)

Competencies (Excerpt)

DOMAINS:

Domain Domain Title Approx. Percentage of Test Standards Assessed
I. Integrated Language Arts, Diverse Learners and the Study of English 15% English Language
Arts and Reading 7–12
I, VII
II. Literature, Reading Processes and Skills for Reading Literary and Nonliterary Texts 40% English Language
Arts and Reading 7–12
I–IV
III. Written Communication 30% English Language
Arts and Reading 7–12
I, V–VI
IV. Oral Communication and Media Literacy 15% English Language
Arts and Reading 7–12
I, VIII–IX

EXCERPT: DOMAIN II

Domain II — Literature, Reading Processes and Skills for Reading Literary and Nonliterary Texts

Competency 004: The teacher understands reading processes and teaches students to apply these processes.

[Descriptive statements intentionally omitted from this excerpt.]

Competency 005: The teacher understands reading skills and strategies for various types of nonliterary texts and teaches students to apply these skills and strategies to enhance their lifelong learning.

     The beginning teacher:

  1. Demonstrates knowledge of types of nonliterary texts (e.g., textbooks, newspapers, manuals, electronic texts, memoranda) and their characteristics.
  2. Understands purposes for reading nonliterary texts (e.g., for information, for pleasure), reading strategies associated with different purposes and ways to teach students to apply appropriate reading strategies for different purposes.
  3. Knows strategies for monitoring one's own understanding of nonliterary texts and for addressing comprehension difficulties that arise (e.g., by rereading, using other resources, questioning) and knows how to teach students to use these strategies.
  4. Demonstrates knowledge of skills for comprehending nonliterary texts (e.g., identifying main ideas and supporting details, summarizing, making inferences, drawing conclusions, analyzing historical and contemporary contexts) and knows how to provide students with opportunities to apply and refine these skills.
  5. Understands types of text organizers (e.g., overviews, headings, tables of contents, graphic features) and their use in locating and categorizing information.

[Additional descriptive statements intentionally omitted from this excerpt.]