Read an Excerpt
Passing the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC–12 (160) Test
Congratulations! By taking the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) EC–12 (160) test, you are on your way to a rewarding teaching career. Our book and the online tools that come with it give you everything you need to succeed on this important exam, bringing you one step closer to being certified to teach in Texas.
Our TExES PPR Book + Online Prep package includes:
• Complete overview of the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC–12 (160) test
• Comprehensive review of all four domains and 13 competencies
• Online diagnostic test to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and focus your study
• Two full-length practice tests, both in the book and online, with powerful diagnostic tools to help you personalize your prep
• Detailed answer explanations that not only identify correct answers, but also explain why the other answer choices are incorrect
There are many different ways to prepare for the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC–12 exam. What’s best for you depends on how much time you have to study and how comfortable you are with the subject matter. Our book and online tests give you the tools you need to customize your prep so you can make the most of your study time.
How to Use This Book + Online Prep
About Our Review
The review chapters in this book are designed to help you sharpen your command of pedagogical skills so you can pass the TExES PPR. Whether you’re a recent graduate of a traditional teacher education program or you’ve gone the alternate route, our review will reinforce what you’ve learned and show you how to relate the information you have acquired to the specific competencies on the exam.
Our targeted review chapters are grouped by domain, and cover what you need to know to succeed on the exam. Each chapter outlines a specific competency and includes must-know terminology, practical classroom examples, and end-of-chapter review questions modeled after actual PPR exams. After studying our review, you will have an excellent grasp of the subject matter and a solid foundation for passing the exam.
About the REA Study Center
We know your time is valuable and you want an efficient study experience. At the online REA Study Center (www.rea.com/studycenter), you will get feedback right from the start on what you know and what you don’t know to help make the most of your study time.
Here is what you will find at the REA Study Center:
■ Diagnostic Test—Before you review with the book, take our online diagnostic test. Your score report will pinpoint topics where you need the most review, to help you focus your study.
■ 2 Full-Length Practice Tests—These practice tests give you the most complete picture of your strengths and weaknesses. After you’ve studied with the book, test what you’ve learned by taking the first of two online practice exams. Review your score report, then go back and study any topics you missed. Take the second practice test to ensure you’ve mastered the material and are ready for test day.
Each online test comes with:
■ Automatic Scoring—Find out how you did on your test, instantly.
■ Diagnostic Score Reports—Get a specific score on each competency, so you can focus on the areas that challenge you the most.
■ Detailed Answer Explanations—See why the correct answer is right, and why the other answer choices are incorrect.
■ Timed Testing—Learn to manage your time as you practice, so you’ll feel confident on test day.
All TExES tests, with the exception of Braille (183), are given only as computer-administered tests (CATs), so we recommend you take the online versions of our practice tests to simulate test-day conditions.
Before you work through this book, we strongly recommend that you download a copy of the Preparation Manual 160 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC–12 from the official Texas Education Agency (TEA) website: http://texes.ets.org. Our review is presented in accordance with this guide and, for best results, we advise using the two guides in conjunction with each other.
At the TEA website you’ll also find the most current information on the exams, including registration information, testing sites, testing format, test-day advice, registration cost, and TEA-developed test preparation materials.
An Overview of the Test
What is Tested on the TExES PPR EC–12 Test?
The TExES PPR EC–12 (160) test ensures that you have the essential knowledge and skills to teach the state-required curriculum, known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS.
Whether you are a student, a graduate from a Texas state-approved teacher preparation program, or an educator who has received certification in another state, you should consult the requirements for pedagogy and professional responsibilities provided at the official TEA website.
The TExES PPR is a required component of full certification in teacher preparation programs in Texas. The PPR focuses on knowledge and skills relevant to teaching, classroom practices, student characteristics, and professional responsibilities that an entry-level educator should have. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions (90 of which are scored) based on the four domains and 13 competencies as outlined in the TExES Preparation Manual (available for download at www. texes.ets.org).
The competencies represent the knowledge that teams of teachers, administrators, subject-area specialists, and others have determined to be important for beginning teachers who work in the state’s public schools. Each competency is further divided into descriptive statements, which articulate the specific ways in which the competency is manifested in teaching situations. These descriptive statements offer the best indication of the type of items that will be on the test because each test item is a direct measurement of a specific descriptor in a specific competency.
In addition, the descriptive statements include very specific terms that help define the parameters of each competency. Frequently, the specific terms appear as parenthetical lists that illustrate the concept presented in that particular descriptive statement—and which may be reflected in a test-item stem.
Here is the approximate percentage of the total exam devoted to each domain, as outlined by the TEA:
Domains: Approximate Percentage of Exam
Domain I Designing Instruction and Assessment to Promote Student Learning 34%
Domain II Creating a Positive, Productive Classroom Environment 13%
Domain III Implementing Effective, Responsive Instruction and Assessment 33%
Domain IV Fulfilling Professional Roles and Responsibilities 20%
What Is the Format of the TExES PPR EC–12 Test?
The multiple-choice questions on the TExES PPR are designed to assess your knowledge of the competencies and the related skills required to become a teacher in Texas. In general, the multiple-choice questions require critical thinking—mirroring the classroom imperative to promote exactly this among your future students. You are expected to demonstrate more than an ability to recall factual information; you may be asked to evaluate the information, comparing it with knowledge you have, or you may be asked to evaluate information in a scenario or to make a judgment about a teaching situation.
Each question has four choices, labeled A, B, C, and D. The items, or questions, are of two general types: single items (which you can think of as “stand-alone” items, meaning that no other items are connected to them) and grouped items. In grouped items, a scenario, teaching situation, or stimulus (a student-produced artifact or an illustration) connects several items. Note that ETS refers to grouped items as Questions with Stimulus Material, Clustered Questions, or Decision Sets. We’ll help you attack them all.
The TExES Preparation Manual 160 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 includes a detailed description with examples and explanations of the various types of items included on the exam. You should study those pages carefully. Additionally, you should acquaint yourself with the number of items you can expect on the test, the minimum passing score, and score reporting details.
The TExES PPR is scored based on the number of questions you answer correctly, and no points are deducted for wrong answers. Therefore, do not leave any item unanswered, since you will not be penalized for guessing, and you have at least a one in four chance of getting it right.
You are given five hours to complete the test—which may seem like a lot—but be aware of the amount of time you are spending on each question so you allow yourself time to complete the whole test. Five hours is 300 minutes, which averages out to just three minutes per question, so pace yourself. You may be able to read and answer some questions quickly, perhaps in a matter of seconds. Other questions will require slow, careful consideration of the scenario because you will be asked to make decisions about the teaching situation presented in the items.
Taking our online practice tests with timed testing conditions at the REA Study Center will help you use your time efficiently. However, if you choose to take the printed versions of the tests in the book, be sure to time yourself. According to the Texas Education Agency, all TExES exams are developed following a specific, systematic approach:
1. Review of relevant portions of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills— TEKS—the state-mandated curriculum for each grade level in each content area.
2. Creation of educator standards based on TEKS that reflect knowledge and skills a beginning educator should have in order to promote students’ achievement of expectations delineated in TEKS.
3. Identification of broad domains and competencies that reflect educator standards. TExES test items are designed to measure performance in these competencies.
TExES PPR Study Strategies
To prepare effectively for the PPR exam, you need a well-conceived study plan that enables you to proceed logically and purposefully toward the exam date—and toward success on the exam. The following basic study strategies should be part of your plan.
Study Strategy 1
1. Assemble some study “tools.” Get a spiral notebook or a ring binder for your notes, and use it to take notes as you study from this test prep and your other PPR materials (including your textbook, class notes, and so on). Alternatively, you may prefer to take notes electronically, but whatever method you use, be sure to organize your notes according to the PPR competencies. You might consider creating a folder for each competency.
2. Make flashcards to help you learn the PPR competencies and core concepts in the descriptive statements. The review chapters include a list of core concepts for each competency compiled by analyzing the descriptive statements. To learn the competencies, you need to know what core concepts define each competency.
Study Strategy 2
Download all the TEA and ETS documents relevant to the PPR test from the official website. You should have the following documents at hand (preferably in print form so you can annotate them as you work through this book):
1. Preparation Manual 160 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC–12 (available at http://texes.ets.org). This manual is the official TEA preparation booklet. Although it includes basic information on test format and a short sample test, it does not include discussion or definition of concepts or terms in the competencies. That’s why you need a resource like this test prep.
2. The TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) EC–12 (160) Test at a Glance (available at http://texes.ets.org). This document presents a thumbnail view of the test (including the time limit for the exam, the number of items, the competencies measured on the test, and the percentages allotted to each competency on the test).
3. The PPR Educator Standards EC–12 (accessible on the TEA webpage titled Approved Educator Standards—www.tea.state.tx.us). Educator standards are presented in two columns: one column lists knowledge statements (k) and the other lists corresponding skills statements (s) that collectively present what beginning teachers should know and be able to do. You will find these helpful in interpreting the PPR competencies and descriptive statements.
4. The Technology Applications Standards for All Teachers, which are integrated into the PPR exam (accessible on the TEA webpage titled “Approved Educator Standards”—www.tea.state.tx.us). The PPR Preparation Manual explains where these technology application standards are integrated into the test framework.
Study Strategy 3
Review your content-area TEKS. If you have taken your content-area exam, you are familiar with the TEKS relevant to your subject. The PPR exam will not include content specific items; however, your content-area TEKS stipulate knowledge and skills that students are expected to have at the end of each grade. Thus, by reviewing TEKS, you can infer the types of knowledge that teachers should have in order to help students meet those expectations.
Study Strategy 4
Read the PPR competencies and educator standards carefully. To perform well on the exam, you need to understand the rationale behind the test items. Knowing the competencies and the educator standards will give you a context for every item. Furthermore, if you juxtapose the PPR competencies and the PPR educator standards, you will notice quite a bit of redundancy. So, the TEA documents related to the PPR exam do not represent distinct sets of material you need to learn. Instead, TEKS, PPR educator standards and PPR competencies are interrelated and complementary.
An important early step in your test preparation is to learn the PPR competencies so that you can recognize the terms and concepts associated with each competency when you are looking at the exam items on the practice tests and the actual test.
Although our study plan is designed to be used in the six weeks before your exam, if necessary, it can be condensed to three weeks by combining each two-week period into one. Be sure to set aside enough time—at least two hours each day—to study. The more time you spend studying, the more prepared and relaxed you will feel on the day of the exam.
When you take the online practice tests at the REA Study Center, simulate the conditions of the test as closely as possible. Turn your television and radio off, and sit down at a quiet table free from distraction.
As you complete each test, review your score reports, study the diagnostic feedback, and review the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly. Concentrate on one problem area at a time by reading the question and explanation, and by studying our review until you are confident that you have mastered the material. Give extra attention to the review chapters that cover your areas of difficulty, as this will build your skills in those areas.
Official TExES PPR Practice Test
If you want even more practice before exam day, take the free full-length interactive PPR practice test available on the TEA/ETS website. As you take the TEA/ETS PPR practice test, jot down terms you do not know, and make sure you look them up prior to taking the actual exam.
Make sure you follow all instructions provided by ETS regarding your exam day, time, and all other test-day requirements (see registration bulletin). The instructions include information about what you are required to bring (types of ID), what materials are restricted in the test area, and what time you are expected to arrive.
If you are not familiar with the test center, you should take a practice drive to the site to ensure you know where it is, to anticipate potential traffic problems, and to estimate the time it takes to get there. The rules for administering the exam are non-negotiable; if you arrive late, you will not be allowed to take the exam. You must also have your exam admission ticket, which you can print from the official website. The website also provides details about your score access and availability.
During the test, procedures will be followed to maintain test security. Once you enter the test center, follow all of the rules and instructions given by the test supervisor. If you do not, you risk being dismissed from the test and having your scores canceled. Make sure you ask about breaks during the test so that you do not violate testing procedures.
When you finish your test, hand in your materials and you will be dismissed. Then, go home and relax—you deserve it!
Good luck on the TExES PPR!