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TExES Math/Science 4-8 Ultimate Guide2021-08-06T01:30:28+00:00

TExES Math/Science 4-8 (114) Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

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TExES Math/Science 4-8 (114) Quick Facts

This test is designed to assess the knowledge and skills of a teacher seeking to teach intermediate science and math.




This test is scored on a scale from 100-300 with 240 as the minimum passing score. There are a few field questions on the exam that do not count toward the final score.

Study time: 

This test covers many topics so spend time studying each topic and know how to teach the concepts. Science, mathematics and pedagogy are weighted equally on the test so study time should reflect that as well. 

What test takers wish they would’ve known: 

  • A formula sheet and calculator are provided on the computer. Practice using an online calculator.
  • The testing center provides scratch paper and a pencil for personal use. 
  • Testing centers tend to be cold so dress comfortably and in layers.
  • Any question that you are unsure of can be flagged. To do so, click the button that says, “Review.” At the end of the test, all answers are shown on a single page and any question can be revisited before submission. Questions marked with “Review” will be noted.
  • Breaks are allowed, but the test time does not stop. Any snack or restroom breaks occur outside the room but also count toward the test time. 

Information and screenshots obtained from NES/Pearson.

Domain I: Number Concepts


The Number Concepts domain has about 10 questions, accounting for 8% of the test. There are three competencies within this domain. The main concepts covered in these competencies include:

  • Systems and Magnitude
  • Operations

Let’s explore a few important specific topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Scientific Notation

Scientific notation is a method for writing very large or very small numbers. The number is rewritten as a number between 1 and 10, raised to a power of 10.  For example, 3,906,279 written in scientific notation is 3.906279 x 10 and 0.01045 is 1.045 x 10⁻²

Important points:

  • The initial number must be greater than 1 and less than 10
  • The second number is always 10 raised to a number
  • 10 raised to a positive power makes a larger number
  • 10 raised to a negative power makes a number less than 1

Prime Factorization and Greatest Common Divisor

Prime factorization involves breaking down a number into its prime factors that, when multiplied together, equal the original number. An easy way to find the prime factorization is with a factor tree. Begin with the number at the top, finding and listing two factors below it. Find the factors of these numbers until only prime numbers remain. Circling prime numbers on the tree can be a helpful way to keep track of them.

The greatest common divisor (GCD) is the largest number that can be evenly divided into two numbers. It can be found using prime factorization. For example, the GCD of 12 and 8 is 4. Both numbers can be divided by 2 and 4, and the largest number is 4. For known factors this is easy, but if the numbers are larger, use prime factorization. 

For example, what is the GCD of 450 and 315?

The prime factorization of 450 is 2 x 3² x 5² as determined above. The prime factorization of 315 is 3² x 5 x 7. The common factors among the two numbers are 3, 3, and 5, so the GCD is 3 x 3 x 5 = 45.

Domain II: Patterns and Algebra


The Patterns and Algebra domain has about 13 questions, accounting for 11% of the test. There are four competencies within this domain. Concepts covered within these competencies include:

  • Patterns
  • Functions
  • Advanced Functions
  • Calculus Connections

Let’s explore a few important specific topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Solving Systems of Linear Inequalities

A linear inequality is similar to a linear equation, except it lacks an equal sign. It represents a line and contains both x and y values and a symbol of inequality – >, <, ≥, ≤. The correct answer is not a straight line, but a section of the graph above or below the line. 

For example, solve this system of linear inequalities:

Solution: The filled-in area underneath the lines is the solution. Any coordinate point in this area will satisfy all 3 inequalities. Note: The lines stop at the y-axis because the last inequality shows x > 0.

Check the work, using a point in the shaded area such as (4, -2)

3x + 4y < 16
3x – 2y > 8
x > 0

First equation: 3(4) + 4(-2) < 16 simplifies to 12 + -8 < 16 or 4 < 16
Second equation: 3(4) – 2(-2) > 8 simplifies to 12 + 4 > 8 or 16 > 8
Third Equation: 4 > 0

Basic Characteristics of Quadratic Functions

A quadratic function is an equation written as ax² + bx + c = y . When graphed, it forms a parabola, or “U” shape. A parabola is a symmetrical shape that points upward if the value of a is positive and downward if a is negative. Important features of a parabola can be found using the equation, such as the roots, vertex, and the axis of symmetry. 

The roots are the points where the parabola intersects the x-axis. To find the roots of a quadratic function, set y = 0. Then solve for x.

Another feature of a parabola is the vertex, which is the bottom point of an upward-facing parabola or the top point of a downward-facing parabola. The formula to find the vertex is to find point (-b/2a, a(-b / 2a)² + b(-b / 2a) + c). 

Another option is to find x by using -b/2a, and then substituting the value of x into the original formula to solve for y. 

The axis of symmetry is an imaginary line that divides the parabola into congruent halves. The formula for the axis of symmetry is x = -b / 2a because it is a vertical line.

Example: If given the equation 3x² + 2x – 8 = y, identify the roots, vertex, and axis of symmetry. 

Identifying the roots:

Set y = 0:  3x² + 2x – 8 = 0
Factor the equation:  (3x – 4)(x + 2) = 0
Set each part equal to 0:  3x – 4 = 0 and x + 2 = 0
Solve: x = 4/3 and x = -2
The roots are 4/3 and -2

Identifying the vertex:

Use the formula:  (-b/2a, a(-b / 2a)² + b(-b / 2a) + c)
Find the
x value by substituting the formula -b/2a:  -2/2(3)
x = -⅓
Find the
y value by substituting for x:  3(-⅓)² + 2(⅓) – 8 = y
Simplify:  3(⅑) + ⅔ – 8 = y
Simplify:  ⅓ + ⅔ – 8 = y
Simplify:  1 – 8 = y
The vertex is (-⅓, -7)

Identifying the axis of symmetry:

Using the information from the vertex: -b/2a = -⅓
The axis of symmetry is x = -⅓

Rate of Change

There are two types of rate of change to know – average and instantaneous. The average rate of change is the slope of a curved line over a given interval. It is identified by a secant line, one that intersects the curve at least twice. Instantaneous rate of change is the change at a specific point and is identified by the tangent line, one that touches a curve at a point without crossing over it.

This is one of several concepts that can be introduced and related to calculus in middle school to build a foundation for advanced mathematics. Students learn how to identify the slope of a straight line and interact with curved lines. These concepts can be connected to calculus by teaching about the secant and tangent line. Students may not understand how to create these lines, but if they can identify them on a diagram and find their slope, this prepares them to connect the concepts to calculus later on.

Domain III: Geometry and Measurement


The Geometry and Measurement domain has 13 questions, accounting for about 11% of the test. There are four competencies within this domain. These competencies include the following concepts:

  • Measurement
  • Geometric Operations
  • Geometric Lines and Shapes

Let’s explore a few important topics that should appear on the test.

Absolute and Relative Error

Most measurements are inexact and include at least a small degree of error. There are three types of errors: absolute, relative, and percentage. Absolute error is the difference between an imprecise measurement and the exact actual value. The answer is the absolute value of the number so it is always positive. The formula is written as Δx = x₀ – x, where x₀ is the measured value and x is the actual value.

Relative error compares the absolute error to the measurement being taken. It provides information about the size of the error relative to the size of the sample. Percent error is the relative error as a percentage, or the relative number multiplied by 100.  

For example, a group of students measures a basketball court and finds it to be 48 feet long. The actual length of the court is 50 feet. The absolute error is 2 because 50 – 48 = 2. The relative error is 2 ÷ 50 = 1/25. The percent error is 1/25 x 100 = 4 or 4%.

Types of Angles from Line Relationships

Use this image to identify and discuss:

  • Transversal – the line labeled t that crosses the parallel lines in the picture above
  • Alternate interior angles – these angles are inside the parallel lines and on opposite sides of the transversal. Alternate interior angles are congruent. ∠3 and ∠6 are alternate interior angles, as are ∠5 and ∠4.
  • Same-side interior angles – these angles sit both inside the parallel lines and on the same side of the transversal. Same-side interior angles are supplementary. ∠4 and ∠6 are alternate interior angles, as are ∠3 and ∠5.
  • Alternate exterior angles – these angles are located outside the parallel lines and on opposite sides of the transversal. Alternate exterior angles are congruent. ∠1 and ∠8 are alternate exterior angles, as are ∠2 and ∠7.
  • Corresponding angles – these angles sit in the same place on each quadrant. The corresponding angles in this diagram are ∠1 and ∠5, ∠2 and ∠6, ∠3 and ∠7, and ∠4 and ∠8.

Unit Circle

A unit circle is drawn on a coordinate plane with the origin (0, 0) at the center. The radius of the circle extends 1 unit from the center. At any point on the circle, the x value equals the cosine of the angle and the y value equals the sine of the angle. The tangent is determined by dividing sine by cosine or multiplying sine by cosecant, or inverse of cosine. Sine and cosine show the relationship between the legs of a right triangle formed when a line is drawn from the point on the unit circle to the x-axis.

Domain IV: Probability and Statistics


The Probability and Statistics domain has about 10 questions, accounting for 8% of the test. There are three competencies within this domain. These competencies include:

  • Statistics
  • Probability

Let’s explore a few important specific topics likely to appear on the test.

Describing Data Patterns

Data can be organized and displayed in several different ways, and often conforms to specific patterns. The center of the data represents the most frequent or typical response, where there is the most data. It is not always in the center of a range. In the image below, the center is shifted right in the negative skew and left in the positive skew. The spread of the data, or range, shows how dispersed the data is. Clusters are areas on the graph where the data gathers around a specific point, clustering rather than being spread out. The data outliers are points that extend out from the rest of the data. They can skew the data when calculating the range and mean.

Combinations, Permutations, and Geometric Probability

Probability can be determined based on combinations and permutations. Combinations disregard the order of the numbers, whereas permutations are dependent on order. The code to unlock your phone is an example of a permutation and the different placement of toppings on a hamburger is a combination. 

To solve a permutation that allows repetition, the formula is nʳ, where n is the number of options and r is the number of positions or slots to fill. If your phone requires a 4-digit passcode using the numbers 0-9, then there are 9⁴ options or 6,561 different codes to lock and unlock your phone. 

To solve a permutation without repetition or where order matters, then the formula is:

where n is the number of options and r is the number of positions or slots to fill. The exclamation point (representing the factorial) means that the number is multiplied by each number below it until 1 is reached. In other words, 4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1. In the example above, if your phone does not allow you to repeat a number, then the formula is:

which equals 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 = 3,024. There are fewer choices because order matters.

To solve a combination, the formula is:

where n is the number of options and r is the number of positions or slots to fill. If there are 9 options for hamburger toppings and you have a coupon for 3 free toppings, how many different combinations can you order? Remember order does not matter because ketchup and mustard are the same as mustard and ketchup. The formula would be:

which simplifies to:

This equals 504 / 6 = 84. There are 84 topping combinations you can order.

Geometric probability can be measured when considering two shapes where one is inside the other. For example, if a dartboard is a circle with a 12-inch radius, and the bullseye has a 1-inch radius, what is the probability of hitting the bullseye? First, find the area of the two circles in terms of π, using the formula A = πr². The dartboard is 144π in² and the bullseye is 1π in². The probability of hitting a bullseye is:

Random Sampling

Random samples are collected without order to help avoid bias. A sample can be chosen using a number generator, where each choice is assigned a unique number. The sample is taken from a larger group, or population. For example, to survey elementary schools in Texas about the math curriculum they use, the population would include all of the elementary schools. From that list, each school would be assigned a number and samples could be selected using a number generator. This method avoids bias or selecting certain schools to affect the data, such as choosing specific locations, test scores, or student populations.

Domain V: Mathematical Processes and Perspectives


The Mathematical Processes and Perspectives domain has about 6 questions, accounting for 5% of the test. There are two competencies within this domain, covering concepts such as: 

  • Reasoning Skills
  • Teaching Strategies for Math
  • Instruction and Assessment

Let’s explore a few important topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Inductive vs Deductive Reasoning

A conjecture is a guess based on incomplete facts. To reach a more accurate conclusion, people can use inductive or deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning uses prior knowledge of a subject to help draws a conclusion and deductive reasoning uses the conclusion to help shape an assumption about what caused it. For example, if you begin a new job and notice that all the employees wear jeans on Friday, inductive reasoning may help you conclude that casual clothes are allowed on Fridays. Deductive reasoning would lead you to believe that if your boss says that Fridays are casual, it is appropriate to wear jeans to work that day.

Different Types of Taxes

Define and discuss:

  • US income tax – Income tax imposed by the federal government on workers, companies, and trusts that helps pay for the country’s infrastructure.
  • State income tax – Income tax imposed by the state government on workers, companies, and trusts that pays for the state’s infrastructure. Not all states collect income tax (Texas does not impose a state income tax)
  • Property tax – Tax on property, generally real estate, by the local, state, or federal government (Texas has higher property taxes to make up for the revenue deficit from no income tax)
  • Sales tax – A tax levied on all goods bought or sold and on services provided collected by local, county and state governments.

The best way to teach financial literacy is through real-life examples. Providing students with sample salaries or properties and demonstrating how to calculate tax helps them grasp these concepts. Analyzing receipts for sales tax can also help them understand taxes.

Domain VI: Mathematical Learning, Instruction and Assessment


The Mathematical Learning, Instruction and Assessment domain has about 10 questions, accounting for about 8% of the test. There are three competencies within this domain. A few important concepts include: 

  • Teaching Strategies for Math
  • Instruction and Assessment

Let’s explore a few topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Progressing Students Through Stages of Learning Math

Teachers should plan to progress from concrete to abstract when introducing new concepts to students. Beginning with a concrete approach often involves using manipulatives that students can interact with to gain a basic understanding of the concept. For example, if students are learning about equivalent fractions,  giving out fraction strips or creating a paper pizza to divide into fractions allows students to mentally connect the object to the concept. Other concrete concepts could include discussing fractions they have encountered before in recipes or looking at a four square recess game. All of the learning occurs through hands-on objects and activities. 

Students can then move into a semi-concrete or representational phase. Using the manipulative, they may draw a picture to help visualize what they are learning. By the end of the stage, students should be able to draw a picture based on the mental connection they have made. For equivalent fractions, the student could draw a square divided in half with one part shaded, showing equality to a square divided into four parts with two parts shaded.

Once students have mastered symbolic understanding, they can move on to understand the concept abstractly. In the continued example fractions would only be written as numerical concepts, without additional pictures or symbols. The most advanced students will be able to write the fractions using variables to represent part or all of the fraction.

Formative vs Summative Assessment

Students need to be frequently assessed to ensure mastery of concepts and effectiveness of teaching. The two types of assessments frequently used are formative and summative. Formative assessments help inform instruction. Examples include pre-unit assessments, brainstorms, and exit tickets. A pre-unit assessment or a brainstorm session allows the teacher to discover what prior knowledge the students have on any given topic. Exit tickets are given at the end of a period and have 1-2 questions students answer. The teacher uses the answers to gauge the level of learning that has occurred that day. Summative assessments are generally given at the end of a unit and assess overall mastery of that unit. Examples include teacher-created tests, benchmark tests, and state-mandated tests.

Domain VII: Scientific Inquiry and Processes


The Scientific Inquiry and Processes domain has about 13 questions, accounting for about 11% of the test. There are five competencies within this domain.  Overarching concepts covered within these competencies include:

  • Scientific Behavior
  • Scientific Communication
  • Effects of Science
  • Unifying Framework

Let’s explore a few important topics that may appear on the test.

Scientific Investigations

The primary types of scientific investigations are descriptive studies, controlled experiments, and comparative data analyses. Descriptive studies describe characteristics or phenomena but do not analyze why these occur. This could include taking students on a nature walk to observe weather or creating a graph of their favorite snacks. Controlled experiments test a single variable and seek to explain why a characteristic or phenomena occur. Testing what liquid helps a specific type of plant grow most quickly is an example. Comparative data analysis looks at similar data for two groups. A comparative analysis could be completed using the example above. Students could test the same liquids on two different types of plants and compare the data collected in the experiment.

Natural Resources

Resources are categorized as either renewable or non-renewable. 

Renewable resources:

  • Wind – Mechanical energy is captured by turbines that power generators to create electricity 
  • Solar – Light energy from the sun is captured and converted to electricity
  • Biomass – Any reproducible organic material that can be burned to release energy
  • Geothermal – Heat from within the earth creates steam, which is harnessed to generate electricity 
  • Hydropower – Water is used to generate electricity through turbines 

Non-renewable resources:

  • Oil – Extracted from underground and burned to release energy
  • Coal – Mined from the earth and burned to release energy
  • Natural gas – Extracted from the earth and burned to release energy
  • Nuclear – Atoms from a non-renewable material – such as uranium – are divided to release energy

Renewable resources tend to be more costly than non-renewable resources to produce and use, but they have a smaller environmental impact. Humans use energy throughout their day, primarily utilizing non-renewable resources. As these resources are taken from sources that could eventually run out, they are not replenished. Non-renewable energy can also cause more pollution.

Form and Function

In science, the relationship between form and function is often explored, specifically, how the shape of an object or organism relates to the function it serves. For example, a bird’s beak is shaped a specific way to best find food. A bird that eats nuts and seeds has a short, strong beak to crack open the food’s shell. Birds that eat insects living inside a tree trunk have long thin beaks to reach inside and extract the food. In physics, students consider how a car’s shape can increase its performance. Form and function extend across all areas of science and allow students to develop a deeper understanding of concepts.

Domain VIII: Physical Science


The Physical Science domain has about 13 questions, accounting for about 11% of the test. There are five competencies within this domain. Overarching concepts covered within these competencies include:

  • Forces and Motion
  • Chemical and Physical Properties and Changes
  • Chemistry
  • Energy
  • Waves

Let’s explore a few important topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Physical Properties of Substances

All substances have various physical properties: 

  • Density – the amount of matter in the object. Density defines how much space an object takes up in relation to its mass
  • Boiling point – the temperature at which a substance begins to evaporate and changes from liquid to gas. For water, the boiling point is 100℃ or 212℉.
  • Melting point – the temperature at which the substance begins to change from a solid to a liquid. For water, the melting point is 0℃ or 32℉.
  • Solubility – how easily a substance dissolves into a solvent. Salt has high solubility in water.
  • Thermal and electrical conductivity – how well a substance allows heat or electricity to pass through it. Metals tend to have high conductivity.
  • Luster – another word for shininess. Metals have high luster as most are naturally shiny.
  • Malleability – how easily a substance can be formed into a thin sheet. Aluminum is highly malleable as it is used for cooking foil.

Elements, Compounds, Mixtures, and Solutions

All matter is made up of elements. Elements are found on the periodic table and are considered pure substances. Commonly known elements include oxygen, nitrogen, gold, and helium. Elements can be chemically combined to form compounds. Compounds are made of two or more different types of atomic elements. Water, which is made of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom, is a compound. An oxygen molecule consisting of two oxygen atoms is not considered a compound because the atoms are the same type.

Matter can be combined to form mixtures and solutions. A mixture includes two or more different substances that are mixed together but not chemically combined. Sand and gravel combined in a terrarium are considered a mixture, as is a soda. The liquid from the soda and gas from the carbon dioxide is a mixture because they are different phases of matter combined in one container. A mixture with the same distribution of particles throughout is considered a solution. Salt water is one example of a solution. Remember, all solutions are mixtures, but not all mixtures are solutions.


Waves are important as they allow sound, light, and water to travel. There are easily identifiable characteristics of waves, such as wavelength, amplitude, and frequency. The wavelength is the distance from the crest, or highest point, of one wave to the crest of the next wave. The amplitude is the height of the wave measured from the equilibrium line. The wave’s frequency is the number of waves that pass a set point in one second and is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Domain IX: Life Science


The Life Science domain has about 13 questions, accounting for about 11% of the test. There are five competencies within this domain. Overarching concepts covered within these competencies include:

  • Ecology
  • Energy Flow
  • Genetics
  • Evolution

Let’s explore a few important topics that may appear on the test.

How Organisms Use Energy and Matter

All living organisms must use energy, but how they obtain it varies. Producers make their own energy using sunlight and materials from the soil, performing photosynthesis. Producers are primarily plants, but there are a few animals that operate that way. Consumers eat producers or other consumers. When organisms die, decomposers break down their remains. The materials are returned to the soil where producers utilize them for food and the cycle continues.

At each level, the organism gets 10% of the energy from the organism it eats. The other 90% is used for growth and survival. A plant is always the base of a food pyramid or the beginning of a food chain. If the next organism is an antelope or other herbivore, then it receives 10% of the plant’s energy. The plant used the other 90% to grow and perform photosynthesis. The lion or other carnivore that eats the antelope gets 10% of energy from the antelope, or 1% of the plant’s energy. The antelope used the remaining energy to grow, escape predators, and obtain energy.

Dominant and Recessive Traits

Traits are the visible characteristics of an organism, such as eye color, hair color, height, and dimples. Each trait has two genes, or alleles, that code for each trait, one from the female parent and one from the male parent. These genes are described as either dominant or recessive. A dominant trait shows up and masks a recessive trait. In eye color, brown is dominant and blue is recessive. If a person receives one blue gene and one brown, they will have brown eyes. To have blue eyes, a person must receive two alleles for blue eyes.

To predict traits, geneticists use a Punnett Square. It crosses the parents’ alleles to predict children’s potential. The parents’ genes are listed on the outside of the square and the possible combinations are on the inside. If the dominant alleles are noted by capital letters and recessive alleles by lowercase letters. For example, if both parents have brown eyes, their genotype is BB or Bb. They either have two alleles for brown eyes (B) or one brown (B) and one blue (b). Let’s say both parents are hybrid or heterogeneous for brown eyes. This means they have one allele for both brown and blue eyes. The Punnett Square would be set up like this:

Then each square is filled in based on the letters above and to the left.

The children have a 25% chance of being pure, or homogeneous, for brown eyes (BB). They have a 50% chance of being hybrid, or heterogeneous, for brown eyes (Bb). They also have a 25% chance of being pure, or homogeneous, for blue eyes (bb).

Maintaining Stable Internal Conditions

All organisms must maintain homeostasis, or stable internal conditions. There are various ways to do this: sweating, yawning, and eating are just a few of the ways animals maintain homeostasis. When the body sweats, it releases extra water, allowing the skin to be cooled when air passes on it. This helps regulate body temperature. When the brain recognizes that it needs more oxygen, it causes the being to yawn, bringing in extra oxygen. When an animal is hungry, the body is signaled so it can begin making a plan to get food. These feedback mechanisms help an organism maintain stability.

Domain X: Earth and Space Science


The Earth and Space Science domain has about 13 questions, accounting for about 11% of the test. There are five competencies within this domain. Concepts covered within these competencies include:

  • Earth Systems and History
  • Earth Cycles
  • Climate and Weather
  • Space Science
  • Earth-Moon-Sun System

Let’s explore a few topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Energy Transfer

Energy can be transferred in three main ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction transfers heat through direct contact, such as a pot sitting on a stovetop burner. Convection transfers heat through motion by hotter material moving into cooler spaces. Convection ovens cook food by blowing or circulating hot air. Radiation transfers heat through electromagnetic waves, such as when the sun warms your face.

Earth-Moon-Sun System

The Earth is a complex planet that rotates completely every 24 hours on a tilted axis as it travels around the sun, making one full revolution every 365 ¼ days. Day and night are created by the Earth’s rotation, and its tilted axis allows the planet to experience seasons as it revolves around the sun. The hemisphere tilted toward the sun experiences summer while the hemisphere tilted away is in winter. During fall and spring, the northern and southern hemispheres are both equidistant from the sun.

The moon orbits around the Earth in a synchronous rotation, or at the same rate. This means that the same side of the moon is always facing the Earth. The amount of light from the sun that the moon reflects varies and creates the lunar phases. These eight phases of the moon allow different portions of it to be visible throughout the 28 days the full cycle takes.

The sun, moon, and Earth occasionally align and can create an eclipse by moving into the shadow of one another. An eclipse is named for the light being blocked. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking sunlight, and can only occur during a new moon. A lunar eclipse only occurs during a full moon and is caused by the Earth’s shadow on the moon, preventing it from reflecting light.

Earth’s Origin

The main theories about Earth’s origin are the Big Bang Theory and Creationism. The Big Bang Theory is based on a singularity that expanded and grew until it became the universe we know today. Creationism assumes the existence of a God that created Earth and all living things on it. 

While the true beginning of Earth has not been discovered, Earth’s geologic history has been extensively studied. Scientists evaluate and measure isotopes in rocks on Earth to trace evolutionary processes and establish when different eras occurred. Fossils, fossil fuels, and rock formations provide information about the Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history.

Domain XI: Science Learning, Instruction and Assessment


The Science Learning, Instruction and Assessment domain has about 7 questions, accounting for 6% of the test. There are three competencies within this domain. Overarching concepts covered include:

  • Teaching Strategies
  • Scientific Behavior
  • Scientific Communication

Let’s explore a few topics that are likely to appear on the test.

Questioning Strategies

Applying questioning strategies is a wonderful way for teachers to increase classroom thinking and understanding. When students have questions, they can be shared with the class to develop an answer as a group rather than being addressed by the teacher. Lab investigations also allow students to make connections and discover answers for themselves. Asking students to talk about ethical dilemmas or scientific theories also provides opportunities to practice higher-level thinking.

Formal and Informal Assessments

Assessments in science are important to inform instruction and allow the teacher to understand what level of understanding students have for the concepts being taught. Formal assessments include quizzes, instructor-created tests, and standardized tests. Informal assessments should occur frequently and inform ongoing instruction. An exit ticket, cloze activities (fill-in-the-blank), and questions that the entire classroom answers can serve as informal assessments. These strategies allow a teacher to gather data on what students understand.

And that’s some basic information about the test.