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Section 3: Overview and Exam Framework
Educational Diagnostician (253)

Exam Overview

Table outlining the test format, number of questions, time, and passing score.
Exam Name Educational Diagnostician
Exam Code 253
Time 5 hours
Number of Questions 90 selected-response questions and 1 constructed-response question
Format Computer-administered test (CAT)

The TExES Educational Diagnostician (253) 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 Educational Diagnostician exam framework. Questions on this exam range from grades EC–12. Your final scaled score will be based only on scored questions.

The Standards

Standard I

The educational diagnostician understands and applies knowledge of the purpose, philosophy, and legal foundations of evaluation and special education.

Standard II

The educational diagnostician understands and applies knowledge of ethical and professional practices, roles, and responsibilities.

Standard III

The educational diagnostician develops collaborative relationships with families, educators, the school, the community, outside agencies, and related service personnel.

Standard IV

The educational diagnostician understands and applies knowledge of student assessment and evaluation, program planning, and instructional decision making.

Standard V

The educational diagnostician knows eligibility criteria and procedures for identifying students with disabilities and determining the presence of an educational need.

Standard VI

The educational diagnostician selects, administers, and interprets appropriate formal and informal assessments and evaluations.

Standard VII

The educational diagnostician understands and applies knowledge of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity and the significance of student diversity for evaluation, planning, and instruction.

Standard VIII

The educational diagnostician knows and demonstrates skills necessary for scheduling, time management, and organization.

Standard IX

The educational diagnostician addresses students’ behavioral and social interaction skills through appropriate assessment, evaluation, planning, and instructional strategies.

Standard X

The educational diagnostician knows and understands appropriate curricula and instructional strategies for individuals with disabilities.

Domains and Competencies

Table outlining test content subject weighting by domain.
Domain Domain Title Approx. Percentage of Exam Standards Assessed
I Identification and Assessment 34% I, III–VII, X
II Curriculum, Instruction, and Intervention 23% IV–VII, IX, X
III Professional Responsibilities 23% I–IV, VIII
IV Analysis and Response 20% II, IV–VI, X
Pie chart of approximate test weighting, detailed in the table above.

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:

Domain I—Identification and Assessment

Competency 001—(Identification for Special Education Evaluation and Services): Apply knowledge of requirements for identifying students who meet disability criteria and for determining the need for specially designed instruction and related services.

For example:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of federal and state criteria and identification procedures for determining students' eligibility for special education services, including all components of Child Find mandate requirements.
  2. Apply knowledge of the educational diagnostician's role in assisting local educational agencies (LEAs) in complying with Child Find.
  3. Apply knowledge of risk factors, characteristics of disabilities, and other indications that a student may have a need for specially designed instruction and related services.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of issues related to the identification of and the overrepresentation and underrepresentation in special education of culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of important student information needed (e.g., cognitive, academic, communicative, social, physical, functional, adaptive, and emotional characteristics) from a variety of sources, including information regarding students' educational, developmental, medical, and family histories.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the relationships between assessment and evaluation, goals and objectives, and services for students with disabilities.

Competency 002—(Evaluation, Planning, Selection, and Administration): Apply knowledge of the functions and principles of assessment, assessments used to make educational and instructional decisions about students, and procedures and considerations in selecting and administering appropriate formal and informal assessments for individual students.

For example:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of terminology and statistical concepts used in assessment and evaluation (e.g., data distributions, measures of central tendency).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of standards for test norming, reliability, and validity; procedures used in administering and scoring assessment instruments; and sources of measurement error and potential bias.
  3. Apply knowledge of the uses and limitations of various types of assessment instruments (e.g., norm-referenced, criterion-referenced) and observation techniques (e.g., anecdotal, frequency, temporal) to identify students with disabilities and determine the presence of an educational need.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to choose relevant and appropriate assessments based on the technical quality of the instruments, referral concerns, data needed to make decisions, and individual student characteristics (e.g., ethnic, cultural, linguistic, age, or socioeconomic factors), and demonstrate knowledge of how to ensure fairness and equity in assessment results.
  5. Apply knowledge of targeted individualized assessment strategies to inform instruction (e.g., authentic assessment, contextual assessment, curriculum-based assessment, progress monitoring, teacher observations, student feedback).
  6. Apply knowledge of methods used for academic and nonacademic assessments (e.g., vocational, developmental, behavioral, assistive technology, motor skills).
  7. Demonstrate understanding of procedures for student screening; prereferral, including Response to Intervention (RtI) and multi-tiered support; referral; and eligibility.
  8. Apply knowledge of administration and scoring procedures for various standardized assessments (e.g., basal, ceilings, testing the limits) and nonstandardized assessments.
  9. Apply knowledge of procedures and strategies for effectively collaborating with families and with other professionals in assessing and evaluating students with disabilities.

Competency 003—(Interpretation and Reporting of Evaluation Results): Apply skills for interpreting, reporting, and communicating the results of the Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE).

For example:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the uses and limitations of various types of formal and informal assessment and evaluation data.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the appropriate application and interpretation of derived scores (e.g., standard scores, percentile ranks, age and grade equivalents, stanines, T-scores, z-scores).
  3. Apply knowledge of cultural and linguistic diversity in making appropriate evaluation and interpretation decisions.
  4. Apply performance data (including prereferral data) and information from teachers, other professionals, student, and parents/guardians to make appropriate educational recommendations within learning environments and to determine the effectiveness of instruction, modifications, and/or accommodations.
  5. Apply knowledge of strategies for effectively communicating to parents/guardians, classroom teachers, and other professionals about assessment purposes, assessment methods, and the implications and uses of assessment results.
  6. Analyze the need for further student assessment, adjustment of services, and/or evaluation as appropriate, including assessments conducted by other professionals, in specific areas (e.g., language skills, social skills, physical skills, emotional skills, assistive technology needs).
  7. Apply knowledge of components required to create Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE) reports according to federal and state guidelines.


Domain II—Curriculum, Instruction, and Intervention

Competency 004—(Academic Instruction and Strategies): Apply knowledge of educational implications of disabilities, appropriate curricula, and instructional strategies, including accommodations, modifications, and interventions, for students with disabilities.

For example:

  1. Apply knowledge of characteristics and educational implications of disabilities for students of different ages, in various environments, and from culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based instruction and curricula for the development of individual students' academic skills within the continuum of services in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of targeted instructional strategies, technology, and curriculum materials to address the individual needs of students with disabilities within the continuum of services.
  4. Apply knowledge of making individualized recommendations to assist the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee in developing appropriate and ambitious Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that target students' individual academic needs and goals.
  5. Demonstrate general knowledge of how to create, monitor the progress of, and collect data from appropriate, nonbiased, and culturally responsive interventions to assist in the ongoing appraisal of students' academic growth.
  6. Analyze individual results of assessments, evidence-based practices, interventions, and previous recommendations to assist with making decisions about individualized instruction for students.

Competency 005—(Functional Skill Instruction and Strategies): Understand the use of appropriate assessment, evaluation, planning, and instructional strategies for developing students' social, behavioral, communication, and adaptive skills.

For example:

  1. Apply knowledge of functional skills (e.g., social, behavioral, communication, adaptive) that students need in order to participate in and contribute effectively to their school, home, community, and work environments.
  2. Demonstrate general knowledge of appropriate, nonbiased, and culturally responsive evidence-based interventions, curricula, and instructional strategies for the development of functional skills based on knowledge of individual students with disabilities.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the effects of antecedents and consequences (e.g., environment, teacher attitudes and behaviors) on the behavior of students with disabilities.
  4. Analyze assessment and evaluation results in collaboration with members of the multidisciplinary team (e.g., licensed specialists in school psychology [LSSPs], special education teachers, related service providers) in addressing educationally relevant behavior (e.g., vocational, functional, academic, social) for students in various settings.
  5. Apply knowledge of requirements and procedures for functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), manifestation determination reviews, and behavioral intervention plans (BIPs) that incorporate positive behavioral supports and interventions.
  6. Apply knowledge of functional skills instruction for transitioning across environments (e.g., preschool to elementary school, school to work) and the supports needed for transition and integration into various program placements.
  7. Apply knowledge of key concepts in behavior intervention (e.g., least intrusive intervention within the learning environment, social skills curricula, cognitive behavioral strategies) and ways of applying these concepts in collaboration with staff across educational settings (e.g., LSSPs, special education teachers).


Domain III—Professional Responsibilities

Competency 006—(Consultation and Collaboration): Understand strategies and approaches for effective consultation and development of collaborative relationships with students, parents/guardians, school personnel, and other professionals and apply skills for scheduling and management of timelines and reporting requirements.

For example:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of effective culturally responsive consultation and collaboration skills (e.g., knowledge of family systems, parents/guardians supporting student development and educational progress).
  2. Apply understanding of the special education process to assist parents/guardians and school staff in navigating through initial referral, Individualized Education Program (IEP) development, reevaluations, transition planning, and dismissal and/or graduation.
  3. Apply knowledge of the roles of students with disabilities, parents/guardians, teachers, and other school and community personnel in collaborating on and planning Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students.
  4. Apply knowledge of strategies for encouraging students' and families' active participation in the educational team, addressing families' concerns, and fostering respectful and beneficial relationships between families and education professionals.
  5. Apply principles for maintaining accurate and detailed records of assessments, evaluations, and related proceedings (e.g., Full and Individual Evaluation [FIE], Admission, Review, and Dismissal [ARD]/Individualized Education Program [IEP] meetings, parent/guardian communications and notifications).
  6. Apply knowledge of legal and regulatory timelines, schedules, and reporting requirements; methods for maintaining eligibility folders; and strategies for organizing, maintaining, accessing, and storing records.

Competency 007—(Legal and Ethical Practice): Apply knowledge of professional practices, roles, and responsibilities and the legal and ethical foundations of evaluation related to special education.

For example:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of models and theories that provide the basis for special education evaluations and recognize the purpose of evaluation procedures and their relationship to educational programming.
  2. Apply knowledge of state and federal laws, rules, and regulations related to the roles and activities of the educational diagnostician, including the assessment and evaluation of individuals with educational needs and compliance with local, state, and federal monitoring and evaluation requirements.
  3. Apply knowledge of issues, assurances, and due process rights related to evaluation, eligibility, and placement within a continuum of services (e.g., least restrictive environment) and of effective communication with parents/guardians on these issues.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD)/Individualized Education Program (IEP) processes, rules, and procedures as determined by state and federal regulations.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of parents/guardians, schools, students, teachers, and other professionals in relation to students' individual learning needs.
  6. Apply knowledge of professional ethical practices (e.g., in relation to confidentiality, informed consent, placement, and state accountability measures).
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of qualifications necessary to administer and interpret various assessment instruments and procedures for consistent use of these instruments across instructional settings.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of organizations and publications relevant to the field of educational diagnosis and recognize the importance of engaging in activities that foster professional competence and benefit individuals with exceptional learning needs, their families, and/or colleagues.


Domain IV—Analysis and Response

Competency 008—(Analysis and Response): In a written response, analyze qualitative and quantitative data to identify a given student's strengths and needs, provide a thorough evaluation, and determine evidence- and research-based recommendations for meeting the student's educational needs.

For example:

  1. Analyze and interpret assessment information on a given student, including qualitative and quantitative assessment data (e.g., anecdotal notes, student work samples, parent/guardian checklists) from a variety of formal and informal assessments (e.g., cognitive, academic, communicative, social, physical, functional, adaptive, emotional) to identify the student's strengths and needs, including the presence or absence of a disability according to state and federal eligibility criteria.
  2. Synthesize data and information on the individual student to generate one recommendation for evidence-based instruction and/or intervention.
  3. Describe how a teacher would implement and monitor the progress of the recommendation.

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