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The Development of the Texas Educator Certification Examinations

The information on this page focuses on the development process for the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES).

Information about the exam development of the Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT), Texas Assessment of Sign Communication (TASC), and Texas Assessment of Sign Communication–American Sign Language (TASC–ASL) can be found in each subject area's preparation manual.

Texas Administrative Code §230.21(a) requires every person seeking educator certification in Texas to perform satisfactorily on comprehensive examinations. The purpose of these examinations is to ensure that each educator has the prerequisite content and professional knowledge necessary for an entry-level position in Texas public schools. The TExES program serves this purpose. The authority for implementing this assessment program resides with the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Redesigning the Texas educator certification structure began with the development of new standards for beginning Texas public school educators. These standards are based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the state's required curriculum for public school students. Developing the new educator standards and introducing new educator certificates was a cooperative process involving numerous committees, each composed of experts from all educational arenas, including classroom teachers, district leaders, and Educator Preparation Program (EPP) administrators, as well as members of the community.

The work of the standards development committees has guided the development of the TExES testing program. The development of standards, standards-based certificates, and TExES exams is a process characterized by substantive cooperation that results in a system-wide alignment of the knowledge judged to be essential for learning in the state's public schools.

The exam development process involves numerous steps to ensure that the resulting exams are customized for the Texas educational context, aligned with Texas educator standards, and judged to be appropriate and important for assessing the knowledge and skills required of a beginning teacher in Texas.

The process involves collaborating with Texas educators, validating each TExES competency in multiple ways, and engaging Texas educators in recommending passing standards for each exam to TEA.

Committees of Texas educators and members of the community guide the development of the TExES exams by participating in each stage of the exam development process. These working committees are composed of Texas educators from public and charter schools, university and EPP faculty, education service center staff, content experts, and representatives from professional educator organizations. The committees are diverse in terms of position, affiliation, years of experience, ethnicity, gender, and geographical location.

Key components of the exam development process for TExES exams are summarized below.

  1. Develop Exam Frameworks. Test Specialists work with Exam Development Committees, composed of Texas teachers and teacher educators, to develop exam frameworks that are based on the Educator Standards. These frameworks outline the specific competencies to be measured on the TExES exams.

  2. Conduct Job Analysis/Content Validation Surveys. A representative sample of Texas educators are surveyed to confirm the relative job importance of each competency outlined in the exam framework. These educators include certified practitioners in the fields related to the certification exams as well as those who prepare the practitioners in those fields.

  3. Develop and Review Exam Questions. Texas item writers develop draft questions that are designed to measure the competencies described in the exam framework. Questions undergo review by Test Specialists and Texas educators to ensure that they reflect the exam framework. The questions are also reviewed for accuracy and appropriateness of content, difficulty, clarity, and potential ethnic, gender, and regional bias. Additionally, constructed-response tasks are also pilot tested with an appropriate sample of candidates to ensure they will elicit an appropriate range of responses and perform as intended.

  4. Develop and Review Exam Forms. TExES examinations are constructed to reflect the content in the exam framework. The completed exam forms undergo review to ensure that they accurately reflect the exam framework, that the exam questions reflect an appropriate sample of the construct, and that all questions are fair, valid, and accurate.

  5. Set Passing Standard. A committee of Texas educators participates in a standard-setting study to recommend a passing score for the exam. TEA presents the recommendation to the Commissioner for consideration. The Commissioner makes the final determination regarding the passing score.

Prevention of bias in the TExES program is recognized as essential to the fairness and validity of the program. Bias prevention measures include careful development and sustained scrutiny of exam questions and data by Pearson and structured committee reviews of exam materials.

The exam development process involves the participation of Texas educators, and efforts are made to include a diverse group of participants. Such processes include the development of standards, the review of the competencies, the content validation surveys, the review of exam questions, and the recommendation of passing scores.

Validation of the TExES exams is undertaken to establish that the exams meet the purposes for which they are designed. The exam development process involves accepted procedures for the validation of licensure and certification exams. The validation approach is content-based, as is appropriate for exams of this type that measure content knowledge required for licensure or certification. The content of each TExES exam is specified clearly in the competencies and exam questions.

The exam development process is structured to gather validity evidence consistently at multiple points, including:

  • the analysis of Texas documents and resources (including the TEKS) in developing the standards and exam frameworks;
  • the review of competencies by content and curriculum experts from within TEA;
  • the review of competencies by Texas educators on the TExES review committee for each exam;
  • the validation of competencies by Texas educators through the content validation surveys; and
  • the review and validation of exam questions by Texas educators on the TExES review committee for each exam.