TExES Special Education EC-12 (161) Study Guide

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TExES Special Education EC-12 Study Guide

The TExES exam required for all entry-level special education teachers will be examined in-depth in this TExES Special Education EC-12 study guide. The TExES 161 exam ensures that all special education teachers in Texas meet state-mandated education requirements for the field, which for the purposes of this test are divided into domains. The computer-administered test is comprised of 150 selected-response questions. On the TExES exam schedule, all of the TExES exam questions shoulder be answered in 5 hours.

The TExES Special Education EC-12 is designed to measure the test taker's comprehension of certain areas such as professional understanding of the role, knowledge of assessments, classroom policies and practices, and how best to elevate specific students to their highest potential. This TExES 161 study guide will further address the following domains, giving valuable insights on how to achieve the requirements for TExES test scores.

TExES Special Education Study Guide (161)
Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs13% (~20 questions)
Promoting Student Learning and Development33% (~50 questions)
Promoting Student Achievement in English Language Arts and Reading and in Mathematics33% (~50 questions)
Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities20% (~30 questions)
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Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs

The first area covers knowledge of various disabilities and the practices to perform assessments for different disabilities. Candidates must possess an understanding of general methods in which students of all types learn equally. The effective test-taker should be aware that disabilities can exist in tandem with different severity levels depending on the individual. Candidates must know how to create an effective lesson plan to aid a student depending on their disability and severity. This TExES EC-12 Special Education study guide highlights the content covered in this domain:

  • Understanding basic human development to better support students with disabilities.
  • Knowing an array of treatments for medical conditions and any potential complications.
  • Showing knowledge of all possible factors in a student's development.
  • Recognizing various physical and cultural influences that might require different approaches.
  • Gathering important information on a student's disability from the family and fellow professionals.
  • Having insight into conventions for a variety of qualifications for programs.

Candidates will learn diverse methods for assessment including their professional limitations and any possible ethical issues that may arise. In addition to mastering types of assessments, a test-taker must also recognize how to interpret and communicate the findings of an assessment, then create an effective individual program based on the assessment and measure progress within that program. There are a variety of communication styles covered in this domain, including non-verbal communication and how to best assist students with delayed or disordered communication.

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Promoting Student Learning and Development

This domain revolves around the classroom. Candidates explore important information about classroom instruction, classroom management, classroom achievement, and classroom procedures. Test-takers need to learn the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and how best to use those to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that will inform a student's lesson plans and objectives. The IEP should also be used to develop a curriculum that considers a student's cultural factors, development needs, and individual learning objectives. Candidates should also consider the student's age, needs, and development as well as how to best motivate individual students. The following elements of this domain are covered in the study guide for TExES Special Education test 161:

  • Understanding how to create procedures that promote a positive learning environment.
  • Knowing theories of classroom management and effective implementation of them.
  • Capability to productively manage other personnel and integrate them into the classroom.
  • Acknowledging potential personal bias and how this might influence interactions with a student.
  • Grasping all possible theories and actions as they relate to problematic student behavior.
  • Recognizing theories of behavior management.

Candidates should familiarize themselves with assorted assistive technologies, their utility in a classroom setting, and their usefulness to the students. A test-taker should also be aware of the need for a special education teacher to occasionally act as a resource for family, other teachers, and administrators when it comes to the needs of an individual student.

Test-takers need to be aware of the impacts of learning on a student not just at school, but in the outside world as well. Candidates learn various methods to aid a student in social and behavioral skills and encourage the students to be productive in society. Through the creation of individualized lessons and personal understanding, test-takers will help a student in interactions outside of school and guide them in life skills, vocational skills, social skills, and cognitive skills.

Candidates will understand that several resources are available to students not only in a school-based setting but also in the community. Furthermore, they should demonstrate knowledge of local, state, and federal resources, as well as technical resources and how these could benefit a student. Finally, test-takers will learn the best methods for a student to plan for transitions throughout their lifetime, including family involvement.

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Promoting Student Achievement in English Language Arts and Reading and in Mathematics

This area of the study guide for TExES Special Education certification is a critical area that encompasses promoting student performance in traditional areas of education. Candidates should know how to create individual learning plans that reflect a student's needs and focus on specific learning areas.

English Language Arts and Reading include literacy development, phonetics, alphabetic knowledge, and word analysis. Test-takers need to understand how to increase a student's reading fluency in combination with the student's comprehension of the material. Candidates should also focus on instruction in written communication and understanding. These skills all inform a student's ability to learn and study via interpretation, analysis, and evaluation.

In the area of Mathematics, providing instruction based on an individual student's needs is paramount. Candidates need to know a wide variety of mathematics skills and the best way to express these in a manner appropriate for a student's developmental level. This requires test-takers to understand how mathematical skills are learned by a student as well as how to survey a student's improvements. Candidates should also be able to teach students to mathematically reason and problem solve while making sure they can carry these skills over into other areas of their life.

Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities

In this domain, candidates explore the ethical foundations of the job, including how it has changed over time. This area requires test-takers to have knowledge of major historical contributions to different approaches and methodologies that contribute to the current occupation of special education teachers. Test-takers should also be aware of current trends in special education including terminology and identification as well as cultural and linguistic effects on a student. Some of the profession's specific roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • Maintaining professional integrity in all settings.
  • Keeping up with professional advancements through various media.
  • Knowing the legal rights of the students and professional responsibilities as a special education teacher.
  • Understanding federal, state, and local regulations as well as the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators and the Council for Exceptional Children Preparation Standards.
  • Maintaining an awareness of personal biases and methods to keep those from interfering with the position.

It is important for test-takers to understand that collaboration and communication have the most powerful impact on a student. Candidates must be able to facilitate relationships between the family and the school that are respectful; they must also address familial concerns about the student. Test-takers should cooperatively work with other teachers, paraprofessionals, and other personnel in the most beneficial manner for a student's advancement. They must also be prepared to potentially be called on to be a resource for families and other school employees on the subject of students with disabilities.

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