Section 3: Overview and Exam Framework School Counselor (252)
|Exam Name||School Counselor|
|Number of Questions||90 selected-response questions and 1 constructed-response question|
|Format||Computer-administered test (CAT)|
The TExES School Counselor (252) exam is designed to assess whether an examinee has the requisite knowledge and skills that an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools must possess. The 90 selected-response questions and the 1 constructed-response question are based on the School Counselor exam framework. Questions on this exam range from grades EC–12. Your final scaled score will be based only on scored questions.
Learner-Centered Knowledge: The certified school counselor has a broad knowledge base.
Learner-Centered Skills: The certified school counselor applies the knowledge base to promote the educational, personal, social, and career development of the learner as outlined in The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs.
Learner-Centered Process: The certified school counselor participates in the development, monitoring, revision, and evaluation of a campus based on The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs that promotes learners' knowledge, skills, motivation, and personal growth.
Learner-Centered Equity and Excellence for All Learners: The certified school counselor promotes academic success for all learners by acknowledging, respecting, and responding to diversity while building on similarities that bond all people.
Learner-Centered Communications: The certified school counselor, an advocate for all students and the school, demonstrates effective professional and interpersonal communication skills.
Learner-Centered Professional Development: The certified school counselor continues professional development, demonstrating a commitment to learn, to improve the profession, and to model professional ethics and personal integrity.
Domains and Competencies
Domain 1, Knowledge of Learners, Approximate exam weight equals 18%
Domain 2, The Comprehensive School Counseling Program, Approximate exam weight equals 44%
Domain 3, The Professional School Counselor, Approximate exam weight equals 18%
Domain 4, Analysis and Response, Approximate exam weight equals 20%
The content covered by this exam is organized into broad areas of content called domains. Each domain covers one or more of the educator standards for this field. Within each domain, the content is further defined by a set of competencies. Each competency is composed of two major parts:
- The competency statement, which broadly defines what an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools should know and be able to do.
- The descriptive statements, which describe in greater detail the knowledge and skills eligible for testing.
Domain I—Knowledge of Learners
Competency 001—(Human Development and Learning): Understand theories and processes of human development and learning as well as factors that influence development and learning.
- Demonstrate knowledge of developmental progressions in the social, emotional, physical, motor, language, and cognitive domains in children and adolescents; developmental challenges at different stages of development; and how to support students' development across domains.
- Demonstrate knowledge of developmental variation, the interrelatedness of developmental domains, and how this interrelatedness may affect students' performance and behavior.
- Demonstrate knowledge of learning theories; how students construct knowledge, acquire skills, and develop strategies for responding effectively to challenges; and how students' development in the various domains can influence learning.
- Apply knowledge of variables that may influence a student's development, learning, and behavior (e.g., environment, health, socioeconomic circumstances, disability, life experiences, language fluency, stress, trauma, individual learning style, culture, gender identity, ethnicity, race, geopolitical factors).
- Apply knowledge of the characteristics and needs of students within special populations (e.g., gifted and talented, homeless, migrant, special education, English learners, immigrants, refugees, students who meet at-risk criteria).
- Apply knowledge of developmentally appropriate strategies that are based on research for building on students' strengths and helping students acquire effective learning strategies.
- Apply knowledge of how to plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities, experiences, and interventions that are responsive to students' needs and facilitate optimal development across the life span.
Competency 002—(Diversity and Cultural Competence): Understand diversity issues and cultural competencies related to school counseling and environments that promote respect and affirmation for all students.
- Demonstrate knowledge of ways in which diverse characteristics (e.g., race, culture, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, socioeconomic status, linguistic diversity, immigration status, exceptionality, learning styles, physical or cognitive abilities) may affect the manifestation of strengths and difficulties in the educational, career, personal, and social areas.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for promoting understanding of, sensitivity to, and interaction with students' diverse characteristics and for fostering awareness, appreciation, and respect for diversity.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for helping all students feel welcome; using students' diverse characteristics and backgrounds to enrich learning experiences; and building a learning community characterized by respect for, affirmation of, and interaction with all students.
- Demonstrate knowledge of ways to encourage the development of an inclusive learning community where students assume responsibility, participate in decision making, and work independently as well as collaboratively in learning activities.
- Demonstrate knowledge of strategies for teaching about bias, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression and how these issues may affect students, including strategies for intervening with students who demonstrate inappropriate behaviors.
- Recognize changing societal trends (e.g., demographic, economic, technological) and cultural, economic, and political issues surrounding diversity, equity, and access.
- Demonstrate knowledge of cultural competencies related to diversity, equity, and access and the importance of acknowledging personal biases, addressing personal prejudices, and promoting culturally responsive behaviors that affirm all students' humanity.
- Demonstrate knowledge of restorative practices, mediation, and conflict resolution strategies, and ways to support the development of these programs within the school environment.
Domain II—The Comprehensive School Counseling Program
Competency 003—(Guidance): Understand instructional practices and strategies for facilitating students' educational, career, personal, and social growth and development as articulated in The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs.
- Apply knowledge of how to analyze various types of data (i.e., process, perception, and outcome) and other information to identify students' strengths and needs in order to inform guidance curriculum development.
- Demonstrate knowledge of procedures for engaging in ongoing review of students' knowledge, skills, and abilities; strategies for providing appropriate and relevant feedback; and methods for evaluating student progress.
- Demonstrate knowledge of curriculum design, lesson plan development, differentiated instruction, assessment of student competency attainment, and classroom management as applied to the developmental guidance curriculum.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the scope and sequence of student competencies in the strategic curricular areas of the guidance curriculum (i.e., intrapersonal effectiveness, interpersonal effectiveness, postsecondary and career readiness, and personal health and safety) and strategies for supporting students in setting and attaining challenging educational, career, personal, and social goals.
- Apply knowledge of instructional strategies, activities, and resources to promote students' acquisition of age-appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities in the developmental guidance curriculum and strategies for working collaboratively to integrate guidance and academic curricula.
- Apply knowledge of the components of and techniques for promoting social skills and emotional wellness across grade levels.
Competency 004—(Responsive Services): Understand techniques for designing supports and interventions to address the needs, concerns, and challenges affecting students' continued educational, career, personal, and social development.
- Distinguish between preventive, remedial, and crisis levels of responsive services.
- Apply knowledge of how to design and implement preventive services for fostering resiliency and facilitating students' development of strategies for coping with stress, anxiety, and challenging situations (e.g., peer pressure, social media, life events).
- Apply knowledge of how to design, implement, and evaluate intervention plans within a multi-tiered system of supports, linking interventions to assessment data and considering factors (e.g., cultural, socioeconomic, race, ethnicity, linguistic, experiential) related to the use of data.
- Apply knowledge of individual and group counseling theories and evidence-based practices, techniques, and skills associated with specific counseling approaches.
- Use appropriate methods and procedures for counseling individuals in given situations.
- Use appropriate methods and procedures for group counseling, and demonstrate knowledge of group dynamics as well as productive group interaction.
- Use consultative theories and related strategies, techniques, and behavioral interventions to assist teachers with classroom management.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for helping students clarify problems, consider causes, and identify alternative solutions and possible consequences in order to take appropriate actions and cope with developmental or environmental challenges.
- Use consultative skills to support parents/guardians in clarifying identified student problems and underlying causes and in determining alternative solutions for problem resolution.
- Apply knowledge of techniques for helping students develop decision-making skills, recognize the relationship between decisions and outcomes, and understand the potential consequences of choices.
- Demonstrate knowledge of signs and symptoms of mental health and trauma-related issues in children and adolescents and a variety of intervention skills and trauma-informed practices to respond effectively to the needs of individuals and groups experiencing crises or other traumatic events.
Competency 005—(Individual Planning): Understand techniques and strategies for guiding students in planning, monitoring, and managing their individual educational, career, personal, and social development.
- Demonstrate knowledge of individual educational planning as a component of the developmental school counseling program and how to guide students to help enhance their own educational development.
- Demonstrate knowledge of factors, issues, and procedures related to academic placement and selection of student courses in various situations.
- Apply knowledge of methods for helping students establish short- and long-term goals, monitor progress, and direct their own learning as appropriate.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for helping students fulfill graduation requirements, research and choose postsecondary programs, prepare for entrance examinations, and meet admission requirements.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for supporting students in identifying and understanding their abilities, interests, and aptitudes and for assisting all students with programs of study to prepare effectively for secondary and postsecondary educational or employment opportunities.
- Apply knowledge of theories, models, and principles of career development and methods for helping students meet the Texas College, Career, and Military Readiness Standards.
- Demonstrate knowledge of information sources and procedures related to postsecondary program application (e.g., college, university, vocational, technical, military, apprenticeship) and how to seek financial assistance (e.g., federal or state financial aid, loans, scholarships, grants).
Competency 006—(Systems Support): Understand procedures, processes, and strategies for providing systems support.
- Demonstrate knowledge of systems support as a component of a comprehensive school counseling program (e.g., participation on campus-based improvement teams, formation of campus policies and programs to address identified school needs, development of schoolwide programs to promote positive outcomes for students) and the school counselor's role as a change agent in support of systemic improvement.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the school counselor's role as a participant on decision-making teams (e.g., advisory boards, school improvement committees, student support teams, curriculum committees).
- Apply knowledge of procedures for planning, designing, and implementing schoolwide programs (e.g., drug education, bullying prevention, personal safety, mental health and wellness, crisis response) to address students' identified personal, social, educational, and career needs.
- Apply knowledge of procedures for designing and presenting professional growth activities to support school staff and parents/guardians in promoting optimal educational, career, personal, and social development of all students.
- Demonstrate knowledge of strategies for facilitating effective teamwork within the school and the community and for building effective working teams of educators, families, and community members to support students' achievement and success.
Competency 007—(Program Management): Understand the foundational components of and procedures for developing, implementing, and evaluating the comprehensive school counseling program.
- Demonstrate knowledge of strategies for and factors to consider in developing a meaningful and purposeful mission statement for the comprehensive school counseling program.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the assumptions on which effective and comprehensive school counseling programs are based, including recommended programmatic conditions and resource allocations, and strategies for defining the program's rationale and parameters.
- Apply knowledge of processes and strategies for defining goals and priorities for a comprehensive school counseling program based on various needs assessment strategies and data sources.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the organizational structure and components of an effective and comprehensive school counseling program that is aligned with The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for communicating information about the comprehensive school counseling program to stakeholders, including teachers, parents/guardians, administrators, district personnel, and community partners.
- Apply knowledge of processes and techniques for engaging in ongoing data collection and analysis to assess, adapt, and improve the comprehensive school counseling program and demonstrate accountability; processes for defining criteria for the evaluation of the program; and methods for reporting results of program evaluations.
- Demonstrate knowledge of how to select appropriate and nondiscriminatory instruments, measures, methods, and materials for gathering information and the importance of collecting data and other information across environments (e.g., home, school, community).
- Demonstrate knowledge of planning and managing tasks that support the activities of the comprehensive school counseling program and the appropriate allocation of time and resources.
Domain III—The Professional School Counselor
Competency 008—(Communication, Consultation, and Collaboration): Understand practices and strategies for effective communication, consultation, and collaboration within the school and community.
- Demonstrate knowledge of procedures and strategies for effective communication, consultation, and collaboration in the educational environment, including the use of face-to-face, written, and technology-based communication methods.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the components of culturally responsive, school-based consultation.
- Apply knowledge of strategies, procedures, and processes for collaborating with stakeholders and using data, resources, and technology to create learning environments that promote educational access, equity, and success for every student.
- Apply knowledge of methods for communicating with stakeholders for the purpose of promoting understanding of the professional school counselor's role and the comprehensive school counseling program's goals and services.
- Demonstrate knowledge of methods and processes for identifying, accessing, and coordinating school and community resources to make appropriate in-school and out-of-school referrals.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for facilitating parent/guardian involvement in the educational process in order to promote student achievement and success.
- Apply knowledge of strategies for communicating the purpose and results of assessment information accurately, legally, and ethically to students, parents/guardians, educational professionals, and others as appropriate.
Competency 009—(Professional Practice): Understand the roles, responsibilities, and orientation of the professional school counselor and legal and ethical standards of practice in school counseling.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the history and philosophy of comprehensive school counseling programs.
- Demonstrate knowledge of professional responsibility domains for school counselors articulated in The Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs.
- Identify elements of the professional school counselor orientation; the roles and responsibilities of the school counselor in various educational contexts; and strategies for articulating, modeling, and advocating for an appropriate school counselor identity.
- Demonstrate knowledge and interpretation of various formal and informal assessments to assist students and others in sound decision making and goal setting.
- Apply knowledge of leadership and advocacy strategies to promote a positive school culture and support educational access, equity, inclusiveness, and student success in the school and community.
- Demonstrate knowledge of various activities to facilitate ongoing professional growth and development at the personal and program level.
- Demonstrate knowledge of how to use self-assessment, professional relationships and consultation, and continuing education, including maintaining technological proficiency, to improve professional practice and outcomes for students.
- Demonstrate knowledge of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, rules, and policies related to the practice of school counseling and their application in various school counseling contexts.
- Apply knowledge of ethical standards for professional school counselors (e.g., Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators, American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, American School Counselor Association Ethical Standards for School Counselors) and their application in various school counseling contexts.
- Recognize emerging issues and trends in school counseling and the legal and ethical implications associated with these issues and trends.
Domain IV—Analysis and Response
Competency 010—(Analysis and Response): In a written response, analyze and interpret qualitative and quantitative data to identify a given student's strengths and needs and design an effective intervention.
- Analyze various forms of student data to identify and describe, with supporting evidence, a student's educational, career, personal, or social need.
- Integrate knowledge of effective counseling approaches and best practice to select a developmentally appropriate intervention for addressing an identified student need.
- Apply knowledge of techniques for collaboration to explain an appropriate method for involving others in the implementation of interventions to address an identified student need.
- Apply knowledge of assessment to select an appropriate method for evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention in addressing an identified student need.
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