TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental (164) Practice Test and Prep

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Welcome to our TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental Practice Test and Prep page. On this page, we outline the competencies for the exam. It is a free resource we provide so you can see how prepared you are to take the official exam.

While this free guide outlines the competencies found on the exam, our paid TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental study guide covers EVERY concept you need to know and is set up to ensure your success! Our online TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental study guide provides test-aligned study material using interactive aids, videos, flash cards, quizzes and practice tests.

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In this article, we will cover:

TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental Information

TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental


The TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental (164) test is designed to assess whether a test-taker has the appropriate knowledge and skills that an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools must possess.

The 80 multiple-choice questions are based on the Bilingual Education Supplemental test framework. The test may contain questions that do not count toward the score. Your final scaled score will be based only on scored questions.




You need a score of at least 240 to pass.

Study time: 

In order to pass the test, you will need to determine how comfortable you are with the content. No matter your comfort level, this prep page is a fantastic tool to use when preparing to take the Bilingual Education Supplemental test. You should allow ample time to cover the competencies in-depth multiple times, so that on the test day you feel confident.

Bilingual education supplemental Timing

What test-takers wish they would’ve known:

Prior to the day of the test be sure to:

  • Know the structure of the test
  • Know the competencies inside and out

The day of the test:

  • Arrive early
  • Be sure to have the appropriate documents/forms of ID
  • Rest well the night before
  • Be confident in yourself

Information and screenshots obtained from the TExES and NES website.

TExES Bilingual Education


Basically, this competency tests your knowledge of the foundations and background of bilingual education, big concepts like bilingualism and biculturalism, and how to create a positive, effective classroom environment for students based on your knowledge of bilingual education.

Let’s explore some specific topics within this competency.

Types of Bilingual Programs

There are several bilingual programs in Texas. Our main focus should be what the goal of each program is and what instruction looks like in the different programs. There are a few that are most popular and are likely to come up on the test, so let’s take a more in-depth look at those:

Lau v Nichols

Lau v Nichols was brought before the US Supreme court in December 1973 and a decision was issued in January of 1974. Kinney Lau brought a case against the San Francisco School District because Chinese students were being taught in English, without supplemental materials to learn English. Lau proposed that failing to provide supplemental English language instruction violated students’ Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as the Civil Rights Act and the court agreed unanimously.

Under Lau, public school districts must provide supplemental English instruction to English Language Learners, but did not specify what that had to look like. The case did benefit students whose first language was not English, but due to the lack of defined standards, this case opened the door to other federal cases that attempted to define a school’s responsibility even further.

Acculturation v Assimilation

Acculturation happens when students adopt values and customs from their new culture, but still maintain their own native customs and practicesAssimilation occurs to any student or person who moves to a new country and replaces their native culture with the values and/or beliefs of their new culture.

Research shows that when acculturation is encouraged instead of assimilation, ELLs are more successful. It is important for teachers to use an ELL’s native customs and values as tools to support L2 (second language) acquisition.

Here’s an example of acculturation:

A teacher asks an ELL student to share (in English) their favorite holiday customs, foods, traditions, etc. While the teacher is still supporting English development, the student is allowed to speak about something that is very familiar and important to them.

Here’s an example of assimilation:

A teacher asks a student who has recently moved from Germany to explain the Fourth of July and why it is celebrated in the United States. The German student would most likely be more comfortable describing a German holiday or tradition instead of one he/she doesn’t know as well.

Best Practices for Bilingual Instruction

Let’s discuss some best practices for bilingual instruction. This includes:

  • cooperative learning
    • Students acquire L2 much quicker when given the opportunity to discuss learning with peers.
  • placing value on ELLs’ native language instruction
    • The longer instruction takes place in the native language, the better students achieve L2.
  • using comprehensible input
    • Providing input to students at one level beyond their output level helps aid L2 acquisition.
  • playing language games
    • Games are great ways to make learning fun!
  • role-playing
    • Providing students the opportunity to use vocabulary they are learning in a fun way.
  • relating learning to students’ lives as much as possible
    • Tie learning and vocabulary to students’ everyday lives as much as possible so that stronger connections are formed.
  • focusing on developing students’ CALP
    • More on this is below, but being intentional about developing students’ academic vocabulary is essential.

TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental Competency 002


This competency is all about first- and second-language acquisition.

Here are some concepts from this competency that are likely to pop up on the test.

L1 and L2 (Interrelatedness and Interference)

Learners use L1 knowledge to learn L2. This can be helpful, referred to as interrelatedness, or harmful, referred to as interference. L1 and L2 are related in many ways, but one of the most important connections is that a better understanding and cognitive development in L1 leads to a better acquisition of L2. Receptive language skills (listening and reading) and productive language skills (writing and speaking) have similarities across all languages, so the strength of a student in L1 is a good predictor of how well that student will acquire L2.

L1 can also negatively impact how a student acquires L2 through interference. L1 interference most commonly affects pronunciation, grammar, structures, and vocabulary.

For example, there are no irregular plural nouns in Spanish, so a native Spanish-speaker might say:

“The other childs got lost” instead of, “The other children got lost.”

Another example of Spanish interference happens because in Spanish, adjectives agree with the nouns they modify. A native Spanish-speaker might say:

“Look at these beautifuls flowers!” instead of “Look at these beautiful flowers!”

Because the noun being modified is plural, a native Spanish-speaker might also make the adjective plural.

Language Acquisition Theories

There is more than one language acquisition theory. Let’s talk about two that are likely to come up on the test – behavioral and cognitive.

The Behavioral Theory was developed by B.F. Skinner and can be applied to many aspects of learning. Skinner’s behavioral theory centers around the idea that children are shaped by their environment and the reinforcement of their communication. Those who believe in this theory believe that language is developed through imitation, reinforcement of language, and copying adults. Skinner believed that language was not determined by experimentation, but by reinforcements from family members.

The Behavioral Theory focuses on how external factors shape a child’s language.

The Cognitive Development Theory (Jean Piaget) views L2 as a conscious and reasoned process that involves explicit strategies to enhance comprehension and retention of language. This theory contrasts Skinner’s theory which sees L2 acquisition as unconscious and automatic.

The Cognitive Development Theory focuses on explicit teaching and practice to shape a child’s language.

In the classroom, these theories would be applied very differently. For example, using the Behavioral Theory students would listen and speak to one another while the teacher reinforced the desired language through modeling and reinforcement. However, applying the Cognitive Theory a teacher might use vocabulary cards, scaffolding instruction, and discuss the language explicitly.


Morphology is the study of the structure of words. To understand morphology we must first be able to define a word. A word is the smallest independent unit of language. Words are composed of morphemes, the smallest meaning-bearing units of language. Basically, a morpheme is not a word, but some words are morphemes. This distinction depends on whether the morpheme or word can stand independently. Words can stand on their own, morphemes can not.

Bound morphemes can be attached to free morphemes to form words – the best example of which are prefixes or suffixes applied to roots.

Here are some common prefixes attached to roots:

Anti- meaning against (antibiotic is an agent that works against germs)
De- meaning to separate or change (departmentalize means to divide into departments)
Dis- meaning to reverse or move away (disbelief is to not believe)

Here are some common suffixes attached to roots:

-ness (a state of being)
-ship (a position held)
-wise (in relation to)

Morphology is important to bilingual education because students’ understanding of morphology helps them acquire English faster. ELL students who understand how prefixes, suffixes, and roots are linked and build on one another spell better, understand vocabulary more fluently by using known prefixes and suffixes effectively, and have better pronunciation of known and unknown words.

Sheltered English Instructional Strategy

Sheltered English Instruction is a bilingual teaching strategy where ELLs learn content and language simultaneously; this engages ELLs above their comfort level. Teachers in sheltered English classes use direct, clear, and simple English and a variety of scaffolding to communicate input in each content area. Teachers will also make sure to connect new content to students’ prior knowledge (a technique called spiraling), but still present the material on the grade level English-speaking students are learning on. Even though teachers in a sheltered classroom are delivering content in English that could be above the ELLs’ proficiency level, they make sure to adapt as much of the lesson as possible so that ELL students are still able to understand.

SIOP, or Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, has been successfully used in the US for more than 15 years and it outlines the 30 most important elements of sheltered instruction that are in eight categories:

  1. Lesson Preparation (having a clear learning objective)
  2. Building Background (connecting to prior knowledge)
  3. Comprehensible Input (teaching just above the ELL’s comfort level)
  4. Strategies
  5. Interaction
  6. Practice/Application
  7. Lesson Delivery
  8. Review and Assessment

Effective Sheltered Instruction teachers use some of the following classroom strategies:

  • provide many opportunities for students to interact using English
  • provide ELLs with meaningful tasks and homework
  • integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing into every lesson
  • provide ELLs with many opportunities to apply new knowledge
  • engage students while paying attention to their pace so that all students understand each concept

TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental Competency 003


This competency is all about L1 and L2 literacy.

Check out these topics that are important to know.

Stages of Literacy Development

Children go through five stages of literacy development between birth and 5th grade (approximately):

L1 Literacy Assessment

All students who enroll in a public school must have a home language survey on file. If the survey finds that the student’s English language proficiency needs further evaluation then more testing will be done. L1 literacy can be assessed formally and informally.

L1 literacy is assessed informally by:

Checking to see if a student understands concepts of print.

  • Asking students to rhyme words.
  • Asking students to identify beginning sounds of words.
  • Asking students to blend words.
  • Completing a running record.

L1 literacy is assessed formally by:

  • Formal/standardized testing. There are many options for this, but formal assessments should be given to students by trained professionals who are familiar with that student’s language and culture. These assessments are completed in a formal/school setting, and are assigned a score based on proficiency.

Comprehensible Input

Comprehensible input is part of Krashen’s Theory of Second Language Acquisition and explains the language input an ELL student can understand even though all of the words or structures being used are not known. Comprehensible input is one level above the student’s current level and can be comprehended, but not spoken. Using comprehensible input is beneficial for ELLs because it helps them acquire English more quickly and naturally. To effectively use comprehensible input, teachers must first know each ELL’s learning level.

An example of comprehensible input:

A teacher selects a text for intermediate level learners from a more advanced book. The teacher believes that reading the higher-level book aloud to intermediate ELL students will give them comprehensible input since there is a high enough percentage of understood vocabulary in it. Using the advanced text will help students acquire more language.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize, understand, and manipulate individual sounds in language. Developing readers should learn how to identify phonemes (or sounds) of spoken words because this skill is essential to reading success. Phonemic awareness develops over time.

A student developing phonemic awareness will:

  1. Recognize the difference between sounds
  2. Blend words when prompted (cow + boy becomes cowboy)
  3. Blend one-syllable words when prompted (blend /c-a-t/ into cat)
  4. Identify similar sounds (/sh/ in shy and /sh/ in sheet)
  5. Identify sounds in single-syllable words (segment cat into /c-a-t/)
  6. Isolate the beginning sound of a word (/c/ as the first sound in cat)
  7. Change the beginning sound of a word to make a new word (change cat into bat, rat, sat)
  8. Isolate the final sound of a word (identify /t/ as the ending sound in cat)
  9. Change the ending sound to form new words (change hat into had)
  10. Isolate the middle vowel sound (identify /o/ as the middle sound in row)
  11. Blend two-syllable words (blend /r-o-c-k-e-t/ into rocket
  12. Rhyme one-syllable words (cat, sat, rat, pat, fat)

Receptive and Productive Skills

Receptive and productive language skills are very important to fluency.

Receptive skills explain how a person receives language such as in reading or listening. Receptive skills are sometimes referred to as passive skills. Productive language skills include all the necessary skills a student needs to produce language such as those used in speaking and writing. Productive skills are sometimes referred to as active skills.

Receptive and productive skills are equally important for an ELL student to become proficient in English and both should be taught together. For example, a student should have the opportunity to use his/her receptive skills while reading about and discussing a topic, and then use productive skills to write or speak about the topic.

TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental Competency 004


This competency is all about content-area (math, science, social studies, etc.) instruction in the bilingual classroom.

The following concepts are important to know for the test.


CALP, or Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency, refers to the language skills needed for students and teachers to communicate using academic language. Academic language is language used primarily in the classroom and it is usually mastered later than social language. It is very important that teachers provide authentic and purposeful learning activities in L1 and L2 to promote students’ development of CALP. Many factors will affect how well an ELL develops CALP in English, such as mastery and academic proficiency in L1 as well as student motivation.

Here are some strategies to promote students’ development of CALP:

  • use as many pictures as possible when introducing new vocabulary
  • demonstrate/model as much as possible
  • use graphic organizers (see more on this below!)
  • use nonverbal cues
  • provide hands-on learning opportunities
  • use cooperative learning/partners

CALP can be assessed using a rubric. Teachers may use a specific rubric depending on the students’ grade level. For example, a first-grade teacher is going to look for different skill levels when assessing a student’s CALP than an eighth-grade teacher would.  A secondary rubric might look like this.


Metacognition is easily defined as “thinking about thinking”. The idea was introduced by Flavell, who said that a person has the ability to control thinking processes through strategies such as organizing, monitoring, and adapting. It also includes the ability to reflect on learning.

Metacognition is an essential part of the learning process because it is foundational to a student’s problem-solving skills.

Here are some strategies to help students develop metacognitive skills:

  • help students recognize when they don’t understand something (and reiterate that it is OK!)
  • allow students to reflect on their work
  • require students to keep journals
  • remind students about good listening skills before each lesson
  • offer short-response questions over multiple-choice questions when possible
  • encourage and facilitate academic discussion between students

The more students are able to think about what they are learning (no matter the content) the more deeply they will apply what they learn to their lives. Students need to be able to problem-solve not only in math, but also in reading, social studies, and science. Metacognitive skills are essential throughout life and can be developed in the classroom.

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams and T Charts are great tools to use when teaching ELLs. Graphic organizers help ELLs better understand important vocabulary and can be very effective when used in small groups. Using graphic organizers in small groups (no matter the subject area) helps teachers identify any student misconceptions, and also allow students to work cooperatively.

Venn diagrams are great to use to demonstrate the relationship between two words or concepts and provide students with examples and non-examples. This can be used in math, when discussing multiplication and division; reading, when discussing setting and characters; science, when discussing complete and incomplete metamorphosis, etc.

Venn diagram example:

venn diagram

Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal teaching refers to the strategy where students take on a teaching role in a small-group setting. Reciprocal teaching begins with the teacher modeling, then helping students learn to guide small-group discussion using:

  • summarizing
  • question-generating
  • clarifying
  • predicting

Students in the small group will take turns leading the discussion.

Reciprocal teaching is beneficial for students because:

  • It teaches students to ask questions and process what they are learning.
  • It requires students to actively learn and monitor their learning while in their small group.
  • It encourages students to think about their thinking (metacognition) and problem-solve.

And that’s some basic information about the TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental exam.

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