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By Kaplan Educational Centers
KaplanCopyright © 2004 Kaplan Educational Centers
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Chapter One: Introducing the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES)
How to Pass the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Exam
As you begin this book, we recognize that you want to pass this exam and expect this book to help you with that task. You will undoubtedly turn to the practice exams and think to yourself, "The heck with reading this entire book. I'll just take these practice tests and then I'll pass the real exam." After talking to many students, we recognize that is the way most students think. However, we strongly encourage you to read each chapter and try to get an overview of the TExES exam. By doing that you will build a strong foundation for understanding why the TExES is important, its history, and its components.
State law passed by the Texas 78th legislature in 2003, H.B. 1002, states that failure to acquire full certification voids the educator's employment contract without any need for a termination or non-renewal hearing. The test is required for certification and if you don't pass the exam, the school district where you have a contract may legally void your teaching contract.
The fees for this exam are as follows: one test costs $82, two tests cost $164. In addition, as of October 1, 2003 allfirst-time applicants for an initial credential must be fingerprinted for a national criminal background check for $45. If you are already certified from another state or country and are seeking Texas certification, there are additional fees.
A Brief History of Recent Texas Teacher Examinations
When did all of this begin? In 1981 the Texas Legislature approved legislation to test Texas teachers. The examination used was the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET). It included over 60 different tests for different certifications. Although several of these ExCET exams were discontinued in June 2003, others will be phased out between now and 2006. As the ExCETs are phased out, they are replaced by the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES). How did the TExES come to be?
In 1993, ten thousand Texas educators were surveyed to determine the important proficiencies for all educators to possess for the 21st century. Public school teachers and administrators, as well as university teacher-educators participated in the survey. Almost 95% of the proficiencies on the survey were rated by the participants as of "great importance" or "very great importance." In 1994 the Texas State Board of Education adopted these teacher proficiencies as the foundation for the preparation of all teachers.
The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) was created in 1995 by the 74th Legislature to govern the standards of the education profession in Texas. SBEC approved and adopted proficiencies for teachers, administrators and counselors in 1997. These proficiencies, Learner-Centered Proficiencies for Teachers, are integrated into the educator preparation program approval process. (Source: Learner-Centered Schools for Texas, A Vision of Texas Educators, State Board of Educators Certification, Austin, TX, 1997.) Complete, approved standards are available at: sbec.state.tx.us.
Learner-Centered Proficiencies for Teachers
These proficiencies, which teachers should know and be able to do, are the foundation for Texas teachers. From them, the state has created the standards for new educators, and the TExES (Texas Examination of Educator Standards) tests new teachers on these standards.
1. Learner-Centered Knowledge: The teacher possesses and draws on a rich knowledge of content, pedagogy, and technology to provide relevant and meaningful learning experiences for all students.
The state of Texas is saying that in order to be certified in Texas, teachers must focus on the learner, not on the content. Teachers should be well-versed in the subject matter, how to teach (pedagogy), and technology in order to deliver meaningful instruction to each learner at the appropriate instructional level.
2. Learner-Centered Instruction: To create a learner-centered community, the teacher collaboratively identifies needs and plans, implements and assesses instruction using technology and other resources.
Teachers in Texas are expected to collaborate with other professionals and use technology and other resources to create an environment that is focused on each learner. Assessment is necessary in order to plan appropriate instruction for each learner. Once the appropriate level of instruction is determined, teachers in Texas must know how to deliver meaningful instruction in ways other than "stand and deliver." The state wants classrooms to use methods of learning, such as cooperative and inquiry learning, as well as direct instruction, to actively involved students in constructing new knowledge.
3. Equity in Excellence for All Learners: The teacher responds appropriately to diverse groups of learners.
As the demographics of Texas change, so do the demographics of the school. Teachers must learn about all students and strive to provide a quality education to all, regardless of the differences. These differences include, but are not limited to, language, ethnicity, learning ability, and gender.
4. Learner-Centered Communication: While acting as an advocate for all students and the school, the teacher demonstrates effective professional and interpersonal communication skills.
The teacher communicates well when speaking and writing. The teacher is aware of verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Teachers are expected to communicate clearly when teaching students, working with the school districts, and interacting with families of students.
5. Learner-Centered Professional Development: The teacher, as a reflective practitioner dedicated to all students' success, demonstrates a commitment to learn, to improve the profession, and to maintain professional ethics and personal integrity.
Texas teachers are expected to continue to learn after graduation from college. In addition to professional development provided by the school district, teachers should reflect on their teaching and strive to find ways to become a better teacher and improve the teaching profession in general. At all times, teachers are bound by the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators [see Appendix B] which includes professional ethical conduct, practices and performance, ethical conduct toward professional colleagues, and ethical conduct toward students.
What is the TExES (Texas Examination of Educator Standards)?
The Texas Education Code 21.048 requires successful performance on educator certification examinations in order to become a certified teacher in Texas. Since 1997, SBEC has developed specific standards that specify what educators should know and be able to do. These standards are based on the state-required curriculum, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), for kindergarten through grade 12. The TEKS for all grade levels are available at tea.state.tx.us/teks/. If you are not familiar with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), we suggest that you go the website above and learn about the state curriculum.
The content of the TExES Examinations is based on the TEKS. This state-required curriculum and the related standards for new educators provide vertical alignment for kindergarten through college. This alignment of kindergarten through grade 16 is an effort to provide newly certified teachers with the essential knowledge and skills to teach the appropriate TEKS for their assigned classrooms. See the appendix for a listing of all the TExES exams that are currently offered in Texas and the dates for future tests that are being developed.
All the TExES Exams are organized the same way. The framework of each exam is organized around the broad areas of content covered called domains. Each domain contains competencies that define the domain in more detail. Each competency is composed of two parts. First, the competency statement broadly explains what an entry-level educator should know and be able to do. Following the competency statement are the descriptive statements explaining in greater detail the knowledge and skills that may be tested. Specific domains, competencies, and descriptive statements will be discussed in detail in later chapters.
This particular study guide is limited to the TExES exam that measures educators' entry-level knowledge and skills about how to teach -- the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam. Other TExES exams cover specific subject matter content.
Kaplan Tip: This test does not test your knowledge of content or subject matter. It covers only pedagogy, classroom management, the role of assessment, diversity, working with families, and professional development. For this reason, by taking any of the four practice tests you will be practicing pedagogogical concepts that are the same at all teaching levels.
Who takes the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR)?
Everyone seeking an initial certificate in Texas must pass a pedagogy test (PPR) and content-area requirements. There are four different pedagogy tests in the new TExES. The grade level of pedagogy must correspond to the grade level of the initial content-area certificate sought. The content-area test, not the pedagogy test, determines the certificate and its levels. See the table below.
What is a passing score and what happens if I fail?
For all TExES tests, the scaled score range is 100-300. The minimum passing scaled score is 240. Students not passing a test may retake the test at any subsequent test administration date.
When are the tests given?
The TExES is typically given multiple times each year. As of the publication of this text, the TExES tests will be given six times in 2004 and 2005. These administrations are in October, December, February, May, and limited-sites in April and June. The current registration brochure will provide you with current dates for tests, registration deadlines, and test locations. Additionally, the EC-4 PPR and the Generalist EC-4 may be taken on computers at specially equipped computer test centers across the state. These computer administered tests are appropriately named TExES Computer-Administered Tests (TExES CAT). The TExES CAT costs $82 for each test plus a $28 computer administration fee.
Where can I find information about registering for the TExES?
Current registration information is available at texes.nesinc.com or by calling 1-800-523-7088.
Why is it important to study for the TExES?
Teacher assessments must ensure that teachers can demonstrate higher-order thinking; that the purposes of instruction relate to real-world outcomes; and that the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum, rather than isolated skills and knowledge, is the focus of instruction. Teachers must be prepared to use new technologies so that students will be prepared to enter a high-tech world as they leave the school system. Today's teachers must demonstrate flexibility and creativity in solving the problems they face in their classrooms. The teaching role has expanded to communicating within the larger school organization and local community. To this end, the TExES tests measure an individual's preparedness to deal with changing roles and expectations that teachers face in Texas public schools.
As previously discussed, the TExES tests are based on broad domains and specific competencies that are tied to the TEKS and current standards. The state is interested in determining if entry-level teachers know how to teach and know subject matter content. For this reason, it is important to realize that the test is biased. The state is saying, "If you remove all obstacles and excuses, will this teacher know best practice?" This means that you must not let prior experiences or current opinions interfere with knowing what is "best practice." Your teacher training may have covered all the domains and competencies; however, our experience from previous test-takers indicates that reviewing the domains and important concepts improve test scores. For example, many of the test questions have two answers that seem correct. Those students who study for the test are better informed of what competencies the state values and which "buzz word" will assist you in finding the correct response. Chapter 2 will provide you with specific strategies for choosing that correct response.
How will I find out how I did on the TExES?
You will receive your official test results by mail approximately four weeks after taking the exam. Unofficial scores are reported on the Internet by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on the day official scores are mailed.
About the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) Tests
There are four PPR tests offered in the TExES. They are EC- 4 (Early Childhood through 4th grade), EC 4-8 (4th grade through 8th grade), EC 8-12 (8th grade through 12th grade), and EC-12 (Early Childhood through 12th grade). Each test covers the same domains and competencies. Each test is composed of 80 multiple-choice questions and about 10 questions that are on the test for field-testing to use on future exams. Our practice tests in this book contain 80 multiple-choice questions that reflect the balance of the domains as they would appear on the real test.
Each test is a criterion-referenced test, which means that the test measures your performance against specific criteria rather than comparing your score to others taking the test. For example, your score report will indicate your performance in each domain as well as your proficiency in answering each question based on the competencies. It should be noted that Domain I and Domain III each comprise 31% of the exam for all four tests. Domain IV is 23% of the test and Domain II is 15%. These percentages will not change from test to test, but the weight of each competency within the domains will. For example, the 4-8 test may have 9 questions about a particular competency while the 8-12 test may have only 5 questions about the same compentency.
How the PPR is scored
There is not a penalty for guessing on the TExES exams. You should answer every question.
How Do I Register?
Be sure to refer to the appropriate text or web site to find current information about the TExES dates, times and deadlines. Copyright © 2004 by Kaplan, Inc.
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