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.