TExES Special Education Supplemental (163) Study Guide

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TExES Special Education Supplemental Study Guide

The TExES 163 assesses the standards for special education teachers in early childhood through grade 12. This exam can be taken by any educator who already holds a valid teaching certificate in Texas. Satisfying the requirement for TExES test scores of this exam will allow an applicant to attach the special education endorsement to their base certificate. This TExEs Special Education Supplemental study guide provides candidates with key information about the content on the exam.

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have up to 4 hours and 45 minutes to complete answering the TExES exam questions in this computer-based assessment. On the TExES exam schedule, candidates should be well-versed in the philosophical and legal background of special education, the role of special education teachers, and all aspects of planning for, delivering, and assessing the learning of students with disabilities. The exam also includes questions about transition planning, assistive technology, and collaboration with a team of service providers. This TExES 163 study guide covers the main topics in each section of the exam.

TExES Special Education Supplemental Exam Study Guide (163)
Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs20% (~20 questions)
Promoting Student Learning and Development50% (~50 questions)
Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities30% (~30 questions)
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Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs

This domain assesses standards that relate to the informal and formal assessments that special educators must administer in order to evaluate students with disabilities and plan for instruction. Topics covered in this domain include:

  • Medical, cognitive and developmental differences and their impact on student learning
  • Typical and atypical human development
  • Communication disorders and their impact on student learning and socialization
  • Medical conditions and their impact on the learning environment
  • Sensory differences and their impact on behavior
  • Administration and use of a variety of assessments

Candidates must also answer questions about the use of assessment strategies. Questions will cover tailoring assessments to the unique profile of the individual student and communicating results to students, parents/guardians, and other members of the special education team. Test-takers will also need to understand how to determine eligibility based on assessment data and how to use this data to inform instruction decisions.

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Promoting Student Learning and Development

This domain comprises approximately half of the TExES Special Education Supplemental exam. The TExES competencies for teachers covered in this domain are as follows:

Planning Instruction

Candidates will need to demonstrate understanding of writing Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and adapting materials to support students. Applicants will answer questions about:

  • Developing IEPs with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards
  • Selecting lesson materials and teaching methods for students with disabilities
  • Promoting success in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for a student
  • Using technology to plan and deliver effective instruction
  • Knowing state, local, and federal resources to support students with disabilities

The Learning Environment and Assistive Technology

Applicants will answer questions about creating a supportive learning environment using assistive technology, which can include a variety of tools that support a student's access to the curriculum. This section covers:

  • Effective educational routines and time management strategies
  • Classroom management theories and methods
  • Use of assistive technology
  • Safety considerations for use of positioning and mobility aides

Test-takers will be asked questions about best practices for coordination with related-service providers, which might include speech-language pathologists, social workers, or physical therapists.

Supporting Students in a Variety of Settings

For this competency, test-takers could be asked to consider how their role supports students across various settings and placements. Questions in this section include:

  • Relationships between families and schools regarding beliefs about special education
  • The use of appropriate, research-based instructional materials
  • Knowledge of life-skills instruction
  • Development of skills needed in independent and assisted living situations
  • Community-based instruction and vocational skills
  • Instruction in self-help and self-care skills

Behavioral and Social Skills Instruction

Applicants will be asked questions related to instruction in positive behaviors and pro-social skills. This section covers:

  • The impact of cultural beliefs and biases on behavior
  • Ethical, legal, and procedural considerations for discipline of students with disabilities
  • Theories of behavior problems and appropriate behavior management strategies
  • Social skills curricula and integration across subject areas and settings
  • Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs)
  • Crisis prevention and management

Transition Planning

Candidates will be asked about planning for student transition (e.g.., from one educational setting to another or from education to college, career, or another placement). Questions in this part of the exam include:

  • Development and implementation of effective transition plans
  • Knowledge of transition services available at various levels and in different settings
  • Collaboration with students, families, and local agencies to plan for transitions
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Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities

The final domain of Special Education TExES covers the philosophical, legal, and historical background of special education, and the ethical considerations a special education teacher must understand. Questions in this section will include:

  • Major theories, models, and laws that impact special education
  • Impact of cultural and linguistic background on placement in special education
  • Build and maintain productive relationships between schools and families
  • Decision-making process for student placement across the continuum of services
  • Effective collaboration on an IEP team
  • Communicate confidential and sensitive information appropriately and professionally

Questions about professional roles and responsibilities will also cover local, state, and federal laws and policies that pertain to special education. In particular, candidates should understand the meaning of due process.

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