TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12 (231) Ultimate Guide and Practice Test
Preparing to take the TExES ELAR 7-12 exam?
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TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12
TExES ELAR 7-12 Quick Facts
The exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge of the given subject in order to prove their competence to teach the subject. The TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12 exam focuses on the areas of literature, written and oral communication, and more.
The exam is a computer-based test with 100 multiple choice questions and 2 constructed response questions; one covers literary analysis and the other is a three-part writing assessment. The allotted time to finish the exam is five hours.
The exam costs $116 to be paid using a credit or debit card.
The minimum scaled score to pass is a 240.
In order to pass the TExES ELAR 7-12 assessment, the amount of time needed to study will vary from person to person. Be sure to give yourself at least two months time to adequately prepare.
What test takers wish they would’ve known:
- Review all test-taking policies well in advance of arriving to the testing center
- Assure you’ve brought needed materials, including required identification
- Research routes and traffic patterns and allow yourself plenty of time to travel to the testing center
- Dress in layers
- Find your confidence and take the test with a positive attitude!
Information and screenshots obtained from the Pearson website.
Domain I: Integrated Language Arts, Diverse Learners, and the Study of English
Domain I has about 15 questions which accounts for about 15% of the entire test.
This domain contains 3 competencies:
- Integrating ELA Instruction
- Instructing Diverse Students
- Understanding the Structure and Development of English
So, let’s talk about Integrating ELA Instruction first.
Integrating ELA Instruction
This competency tests your knowledge of integrating ELA instruction.
Take a look at these concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
It is important to understand the continuum of language arts skills and expectations for students in grades 7-12, as specified in the TEKS.
Let’s look at how a specific skill, using print or digital resources, expands across the grade levels:
Writing and Math
Integrating writing in math class allows for a student to communicate what they know about math concepts and problem solving. If a student can communicate their learning in writing then that student truly understands what has been taught. There are two levels of integrating writing in a math class. The first level is writing without revision which can easily be integrated in a math classroom and the second level is writing with revision (which will take more time). The complete writing process should be present in the math classroom.
Instructing Diverse Students
This competency tests your knowledge of instructing diverse students.
Let’s talk about some super important concepts.
ELPS-TELPAS Proficiency Level Descriptors
The four domains for ELPS are reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students who are labeled as ELs (English learners) or LEP (limited English proficient) will take the TELPAS assessment every year and be graded on each one of these domains. The levels that a student can achieve are beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high. Each domain has different criteria in order for a student to meet the requirements for their level. The link below connects you to a guide with each domain and descriptors for each level. You will be required to recall the descriptors on the exam.
A modification describes changes in the curriculum. This may include altering the standards or a given assessment. Within a classroom modifications could be shortening assignments or providing lower level text to read. This is done for students with cognitive impairments or language barriers due to their inability to learn all material or particular portions of the material presented.
An accommodation alters how a student learns. This does not change what a student is expected to learn. An accommodation may be providing extra time to complete assignments, breaks during instruction, and using large print books and worksheets.
Understanding the Structure and Development of English
This competency tests your knowledge of understanding the structure and development of English.
Be sure to understand the following concepts.
Homonyms are words that are spelt the same way or pronounced the same way but have different meanings or origins. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same way but have different spelling and a different meaning. For example, break is the motion of slowing down and break is to separate into pieces. A homograph are words spelt the same but have different word meanings. For example, tear is to rip or a drop of water from the eye. It is important to teach students the relationships among words so that they can understand what word or definition they should be using in the context that is appropriate.
The most basic parts of any sentence are the subject and the predicate. The subject is the person, place, or thing that is performing the action, while the predicate is what the subject is doing. There are four different kinds of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.
- One independent clause: one subject and one verb
- Cannot have any subordinate clauses
- Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey host talk shows.
- Joe Jonas waited for the bus.
- Two or more independent clauses
- Clauses can be joined using coordinating conjunction: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
- Clauses can be joined using semicolon
- Cannot have any subordinate clauses
- I really need to go to work, but I am too sick to drive.
- The waves were crashing on the shore; it was a lovely sight.
- One independent clause and at least one dependent clause
- Use subordinating conjunctions to link ideas
- Parallel lines never meet until you bend one of them.
- Many dead animals of the past changed to oil while others preferred to be gas.
- At least two independent clauses and one dependent clause
- Dependent clause can be part of independent clause
- When the heat comes, the lakes dry up, and farmers know the crops will fail.
- I planned to drive to work, but I couldn’t until the mechanic repaired my car.
Check out Khan Academy for ways to help teach sentence structure.
And that’s some basic info about the first domain.
Domain II: Literature, Reading Processes, and Skills for Reading Literary and Nonliterary Texts
Domain II has about 40 questions which accounts for about 40% of the entire test.
This domain contains 4 competencies:
- Teaching Reading Processes
- Teaching Strategies for Reading Nonliterary Texts
- Understanding Literary Texts
- Teaching Strategies for Reading and Responding to Literary Texts
So, let’s talk about Teaching Reading Processes first.
Teaching Reading Processes
This competency tests your knowledge of teaching reading processes.
Take a look at these concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Fluency and Comprehension
Fluency is the ability to read like you speak. It’s accurate reading of the text at a conversational rate with appropriate expression. The three components of reading fluency are accuracy, automaticity, and prosody. Accuracy refers to reading words correctly. Automaticity means recognizing words automatically. Prosody refers to reading with intonation, phrasing, and emotion. Fluency enables students to increase their level of comprehension, expand their vocabulary, and complete reading tasks effectively. Middle school and high school fluent readers are more proficient at complex literary processes that require deep comprehension skills.
Instructional Strategies to Enhance Fluency:
- Student-Recorded Passages: (Hudson, et al., 2005) Once students understand what good reading sounds like, the next step toward fluency is for the students to listen to themselves read. Many students at the middle and high school levels have never listened to themselves read text aloud. In other words, if they’re not paying attention to how they sound, they won’t actually know how they sound. A student-teacher conference that includes listening to the tape-recording, discussion of the student’s reflection, and analysis of his strengths and weaknesses in fluency can serve as a goal-setting opportunity during which the teacher can be explicit about the different components of fluency. This first recording can also be saved to demonstrate improvement in fluency over time.
- Choral Reading: (Rasinski, 2003) Choral reading is an activity in which students (whole class or small groups) read the same text aloud and in unison. Dependent on the level of complexity of the text, as the teacher reads along with the students, s/he may read more or less loudly to serve as a model for the students to use as they read. The only additional requirement is that each of the students has access to the text that is being read. Each student can have a personal copy of the text or the teacher can write the text on chart paper / overhead transparency where each student can see it. For middle school and high school students, choral reading is particularly appropriate with complex text that students are not yet ready to read independently.
- Paired Reading: (Fountas & Pinnell, 2006; Rasinski, 2003) Typically, this is an activity in which partners read aloud to or along with one another. If the pair of students shares the same reading level, they should have text that is at their independent level. They can choose to choral read, echo read, or take turns reading the designated passage. Be sure they stop and discuss their fluency along the way. Another way to pair students is to place an “expert” with a less fluent reader. The less fluent reader chooses the text and the expert adjusts his pace to that of the less fluent reader. If an error is made, the expert provides the correct pronunciation quickly, so as not to disrupt fluency. The expert or tutor can be a parent, an adult volunteer, the teacher, or even another student.
Comprehension Types and Strategies
Check out the five types of reading comprehension here.
Teaching Strategies for Reading Nonliterary Texts
This competency tests your knowledge of teaching strategies for nonliterary text.
Check out the following concepts.
Nonliterary Text Structure
Vocabulary in Nonliterary Texts
A graphic organizer is one of the best strategies to use in order to increase student knowledge of specialized vocabulary in nonliterary text. The link below will detail the purpose and process of three different types of graphic organizers:
Understanding Literary Texts
This competency tests your knowledge of understanding literary text.
Be sure to understand the following concepts, as they are likely to appear on the test, too.
Major Genres and Their Characteristics
American Literary Periods
The Colonial and Early National Period (17th century to 1830)
- Consisted of mostly of practical nonfiction
- Written by British settlers who populated the colonies, focusing on the future
- Once U.S. declared independence the writing addressed the country’s future
- Poetry and fiction was modeled after what was being published in Great Britain and much of what American readers consumed also came from Great Britain.
- Short stories and novels published from 1800-1820s depicted American society
The Romantic Period (1830 to 1870)
- Edgar Allen Poe depicted the role of the Romantic individual, always struggling against convention
- In New England, different groups of writers emerged, exploring the experiences of individuals in different segments of American society
- Nathan Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman published novels, short stories, and poetry that became some of the most enduring works of American literature
- As America headed toward the Civil War, more and more stories were written about enslaved and free African Americans
- Emily Dickinson was one of the only women who published work during this time
Realism and Naturalism (1870 to 1910)
- At the age of 27 Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain, writing with a combination of humor and realism
- Drew inspiration from French authors seeking to depict the reality that they saw around them
The Modernist Period (1910 to 1945)
- American modernist fiction portrays a sense of disillusionment and loss
- Drama was introduced for the first time in the United States in the early 20th century
The Contemporary Period (1945 to present)
- Black writers working from the 1950s through the 1970s wrestled with the desire to escape an unjust society and change it
- After World War II different forms of writings emerged: realist, metafictional, postmodern, absurdist, autobiographical
- The Beat movement was short-lived but had a lasting influence on American poetry
- By the 1970s the face of American drama had begun to change and it continued to diversify into the 21st century
Teaching Strategies for Reading and Responding to Literary Texts
This competency tests your knowledge of teaching strategies for reading and responding to literary texts.
Take a look at these concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Motivating Students to Read Literature
Build Students’ Self-Confidence
- When learners believe they can achieve, they do achieve
- Establish specific, short-term reading goals. Goals should be challenging but attainable
- Introduce a variety of graphic organizers or note-taking strategies to help students better understand what they are learning
- Allow students to make choices using choice boards, flexible grading, self-determined due dates
Spark New Learning
- Use a variety of instructional practices that embrace multiple forms of literacy
- Students’ interests should be the starting point for reading instruction
- Make a connection between a student’s personal life and their school life by addressing topics relevant to the subject and to the students’ reality
Go Beyond the Print
- Encourage students to make connections to popular movies based on literature
- Explore ways to promote reading through different technology sources
Incorporate a Variety of Texts
- Include a variety of appropriate, authentic young literature including graphic novels, newspapers, and magazines
Expand Choices and Options
- Give students a choice as to what to read
- Include all literary genres and vary reading levels
- Each student will have a slightly different experience based on the literature selected which will promote lively discussions and writings increasing reading motivation
- Provide purposeful opportunities for students to talk about books enhances their engagement
Responding to Literature
There are various ways that students can respond to literature that range from vocabulary building to writing their own piece. Below are a couple of different examples as well as a link to many more.
10 Words: write 10 words from the reading that you do not know. Define them, use them in a sentence you created, and write the sentence in which you found the word
Make Connections: make connections with your own experience as you read. Ask questions like: do the characters remind you of anyone in your life? Do the conflicts the characters face relate to problems you have experienced?
Choose a “Truth”: decide a “truth” that you believe this author holds to be true. Write a persuasive essay in which you agree or disagree with that “truth.”
And that’s some basic info about Domain II.
Domain III: Written Communication
Domain III has about 30 questions which accounts for about 30% of the entire test.
This domain contains 2 competencies:
- Developing Competent Writers
- Teaching Effective Writing
So, let’s talk about Developing Competent Writers first.
Developing Competent Writers
This competency tests your knowledge of developing competent writers.
Here are a couple of specific concepts you need to know.
A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is improperly placed in a sentence. A misplaced modifier can make a sentence sound awkward, confusing, and sometimes illogical.
Misplaced Modifier: On her way home, Jan found a gold man’s watch.
Correct Sentence: On her way home, Jan found a man’s gold watch.
Misplaced Modifier: The child ate a cold dish of cereal for breakfast this morning.
Correct Sentence: The child ate a dish of cold cereal for breakfast this morning.
Misplaced Modifier: We ate the lunch that we had brought slowly.
Correct Sentence: We slowly ate the lunch that we had brought.
Misplaced Modifier: The dealer sold the Cadillac to the buyer with the leather seats.
Correct Sentence: The dealer sold the Cadillac with the leather seats to the buyer.
Misplaced Modifier: The waiter served a dinner roll to the woman that was well buttered.
Correct Sentence: The waiter served a dinner roll that was well buttered to the woman.
Teachers have the option to assess students’ writing on a variety of concepts including ideas, voice, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. This can be done formally or informally. It is imperative that a teacher establishes the focus of the writing and what the student will be assessed on prior to students starting their writing. Here is a resource that provides rubrics and different ideas on how to assess students on their writing.
Teaching Effective Writing
This competency tests your knowledge of teaching effective writing.
Let’s talk about two concepts that you will more than likely see on the test.
Types of Phrases
Teachers can use sentence imitation, poetry with phrases, skeleton stories, shape sentences, and unscrambling and expansion to help teach students to include a variety of phrases in their writing.
Literary Devices in Writing
Check out this article that outlines ways teachers can encourage the use of literary devices in writing.
And that’s some basic info about Domain III.
Domain IV: Oral Communication and Media Literacy
Domain IV has about 15 questions which accounts for about 15% of the entire test.
This domain contains 2 competencies:
- Promoting Listening and Speaking Skills
- Teaching Media Literacy
So, let’s talk about Promoting Listening and Speaking Skills first.
Promoting Listening and Speaking Skills
This competency tests your knowledge of promoting listening and speaking skills.
Let’s discuss a couple of concepts.
The Role of Cultural Factors in Oral Communication
Cultural factors impact oral communication greatly. For example, some cultures rely heavily on electronic technology and use written messages over oral or face-to-face communication. However there are nations that have this access to the latest technology, but prefer face-to-face communication.
Culture factor also influence the type of agreements that are binding as formal contracts. High-context cultures like Latin American, African, and Asian leave much of the message to be interpreted through context, nonverbal cues, and between the lines interpretation of what is actually said. In contrast, low-context cultures like German and English expect messages to be specific and explicit.
How Culture Impacts Oral Communication within the English Language:
Indians and Japanese tend to use more nouns which make the language heavy and cumbersome; native users of the language, on the other hand, use more verbs which make the language more direct and dynamic.
Japanese: The police conducted an investigation into the murder.
English: The police investigated the murder.
Native users of English prefer the active voice whereas Asian users tend to use the passive voice more. This directly relates to how they communicate in their own language.
Asian: Allow the bill to be paid by me.
English: Let me pay. I’ll pay.
Japanese and Indians find it more difficult to say “no” directly. It can sound rude or “in your face”. They would rather imply a negative than say it out loud. This can cause misunderstandings as westerners sometimes might assume a deal is done and dusted, whereas there was never a “yes” implied.
Active listening is when you make a conscious effort to hear the words that someone is saying and understand the complete message being communicated. This is important because it impacts job effectiveness and the quality of relationships with others. Teachers can model and encourage the use of active listening by focusing on their students when they are speaking through a couple of different ways.
Examples of How to be an Active Listener:
- Pay Attention: look at students in the eye, put aside distracting thoughts, avoid environmental distractions
- Show That You’re Listening: nod, smile, keep posture showing speaker you are interested and engaged
- Provide Feedback: reflect on what was said by paraphrasing, ask questions to clarify, summarize comments periodically
- Respond Appropriately: be open and honest, assert your opinions, treat the other person the same way you want to be treated
Teaching Media Literacy
This competency tests your knowledge of teaching media literacy.
Check out the following important concepts.
Types and Purposes of Media
Fair use is brief excerpts of copyright material that may be directly quoted without the need of permission from the copyright holder. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the framework for determining when something is fair use and identifies the type of use including news reporting, teaching, and research. Although teaching is one of the types of uses covered under fair use, teachers do need to consider it when they are planning and during their instruction. Before a teacher uses copyright information in their planning and instruction they must consider whether it is for strictly nonprofit educational purposes, the nature of the copyright work, the amount of the copyright work being used, and the effect of the use of the potential market.
And that’s some basic info about Domain IV.