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TExES ESL Supplemental (154) Practice Test and Prep

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Welcome to our TExES ESL Supplemental practice test and prep page. On this page, we outline the domains and key concepts for the TExES English as a Second Language Supplemental 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 and domains found on the exam, our paid study guide covers EVERY concept you need to know and is set up to ensure your success! If you’re looking to get your ESL certification in Texas, the study guide is the way to go. It provides test-aligned study material using interactive aids, videos, flash cards, quizzes, and practice tests.

Will I pass using this free article? Will I pass using your paid study guide?

If you use this guide and research the key concepts on the TExES ESL Supplemental on your own, it’s possible you will pass, but why take that chance? With our paid study guide, we guarantee you will pass.

Not ready to start studying for your ESL certification yet? That’s OK. Keep reading, and when you’re ready, take our free ESL Supplemental practice test, which includes ESL questions similar to what you will find on the original test.

In this article, we will cover:

Preview Our TExES (ESL) Supplemental Study Guide. Know what to expect.

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ESL Supplemental Information

TExES ESL Supplemental Practice Test - Certification Texas


The TExES ESL Supplemental tests the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively instruct English Language Learners in the classroom. It is not a state-mandated requirement to be ESL certified. However, many school districts require ESL certification in Texas, and with the high population of non-English speakers in the classroom, having this certification makes you a much stronger teaching candidate and often means a higher salary.


It is a Computer-administered test (CAT) made up of 80 selected-response questions, which cover three domains:

DomainApproximate Percentage of Exam
  1. Language Concepts and Language Acquisition 
  1. ESL Instruction and Assessment 
  1. Foundations of ESL Education, Cultural Awareness and Family and Community Involvement




The score range is 100 to 300; in other words, the best score you can get is a 300, while the lowest score is a 100. A score of 240 is needed to pass.

Study time:

Allow plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the test format and assure that you feel confident about the content covered in each domain. While the specific amount of needed study time will vary from test-taker to test-taker, you should allow yourself several weeks to prepare so you do not feel overwhelmed or rushed. Our TExES ESL Supplemental practice test can help.

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.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different types of test questions by taking our practice test.
  • Never leave an answer choice blank, it is better to guess. You are not penalized for incorrect answers.
  • Find your confidence and take the test with a positive attitude!

Information and screenshots obtained from the National Evaluation Series website.

texes esl supplemental format chart

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ESL Supplemental Domain I: Language Concepts and Language Acquisition


Domain I accounts for about 25% of the entire TExES ESL Supplemental exam.

This domain has two competencies:

  • Fundamental Language Concepts and Structure/Conventions
  • L1 and L2 Acquisition

So, let’s start with Fundamental Language Concepts and Structure/Conventions.

Fundamental Language Concepts and Structure/Conventions

This competency tests your knowledge of the foundational concepts of language and its functions in regard to listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Let’s take a look at some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.


Phonology is a division of linguistics focused on the system of sounds in a language. It is the study of how speech sounds are cognitively organized and used meaningfully through speech.


A lexicon is a vocabulary set specific to a person, language, or subject. It is the knowledge a speaker has about words and phrases in a language, including meaning, usage, relationships, and categorical organization.

Language Registers

A language register is the degree of formality with which one speaks. People speak in a formal register in academic and professional situations. For example, in job interviews, people use the standard conventions of their language when speaking. People speak in an informal register in social and family situations.
For example, at gatherings with close friends, people typically speak more casually with less adherence to the standard conventions of their language.

Word Formation

Word formation is the production of new words.

  • Compounding makes a word out of two or more morphemes. The result is a compound word. Examples:

rainbow, football, mailbox, something, butterfly

  • Blending is joining parts of two or more words to make a new word. The meaning is usually a combination of the words that were blended together. Examples:

brunch, motel, smog, skort, carjacking

  • Derivation is the creation of a new word from another word, typically by a base word with an affix. Examples:

helpful, quickly, speaker, national, happiness

  • An acronym is a word made by pronouncing the initials of a phrase as its own word. Examples:

PIN- personal identification number

AWOL- absent without leave

  • calque is an expression that becomes part of a language by translating it word-by-word from another language. Examples:

“point of view” in English translates from “point de vue” in French

“beer garden” in English translates from “biergarten” in German

  • neologism is a newly used word or phrase that is not yet formally accepted into a language. Neologisms often reflect current cultural trends. Examples:

staycation, chillax, crowdsourcing

  • Back-formation is the creation of a new word by removing an affix. Examples:

edit from original word editorbeg from original word beggardonate from original word donation

L1 and L2 Acquisition

This competency tests your knowledge of how individuals acquire a first and second language and how to use this knowledge to effectively teach ESL students.

Here are some concepts that may appear on the test.

Cognitive Processes

Cognitive processes are ways in which individuals mentally process information. Cognitive processes include memorization, categorization, generalization, and metacognition.

  • Memorization is the process of committing information to memory to the point it is easily recalled. For example, students who have the vowels of the alphabet memorized can recite them with automaticity.
  • Categorization is the series of steps taken to identify, differentiate, and classify objects and ideas. For example, sorting words by part of speech, such as nouns and adjectives, requires these categorization skills.
  • Generalization is the transfer of knowledge or skill from one context to another. For example, one of the purposes of teaching students grammar skills in isolation is so they generalize these skills into their own writing.
  • Metacognition is the process of thinking about your thinking. For example, many high-level reading comprehension skills, such as inferring, require readers to understand the mental process they went through to draw their conclusion.

Idiomatic Expressions

An idiomatic expression is an expression in which the figurative meaning differs from the literal meaning. An example is, “Hold your horses!” This idiomatic expression means to be patient, not to actually put horses in your hand. Teachers can help ESL students overcome this common difficulty by teaching them directly, with visual aids and in context as much as possible. Teachers can facilitate role-play scenarios in which students practice using them in informal conversation.

And that’s some basic info about Domain I of the TExES ESL Supplemental exam.

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ESL Supplemental Domain II: ESL Instruction and Assessment


Domain II accounts for about 45% of the entire TExES ESL Supplemental exam.

This domain has five competencies:

  • Planning and Implementing Instruction
  • Communicative Language Development
  • Literacy Development
  • Content-Area Learning and Academic Language Development
  • Assessment

So, let’s start with Planning and Implementing Instruction.

Planning and Implementing Instruction

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This competency tests your knowledge of effectively planning and implementing instruction based on the TEKS and ELPS to meet the needs of ESL learners.

Let’s talk about some concepts that may pop up on the test.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

The TEKS are the learning objectives and standards that educators in Texas’ public schools are required to teach throughout the school year. They are broken down by grade level and content area. The English Language Arts and Reading TEKS include listening, speaking, reading, and writing standards. Use the TEKS as the starting point of lesson design. You must know the learning goal and objective to be able to work backwards to plan the rest of the lesson cycle, including initial engagement, guided practice, independent practice, assessment, and needed resources and materials.

English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS)

The ELPS are second-language acquisition standards used to guide instruction (in addition to the TEKS) for English Language Learners. They support ELLs in acquiring the English language skills necessary for meaningful learning across all subject areas. Teachers should use the ELPS along with the TEKS to plan lessons in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Content-Based ESL Instruction

Content-based ESL instruction is centered around the content students will acquire instead of direct language instruction. Students learn language through learning other academic content as opposed to the other way around. For content-based ESL instruction to be effective, the teacher must be very knowledgeable in the content area as well as prepared to assist students with language skills. Appropriate materials and resources must be selected for students with limited English proficiency.

Communicative Language Development

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This competency tests your knowledge of developing ESL students’ oral language skills.

Here are some concepts that may appear on the test.

Oral Language Proficiency

Oral language proficiency is the ability to verbally communicate and understand verbal communication. There are different goals of high oral proficiency.

Being comfortable speaking in any situation means oral language is effectively used in a variety of settings to a variety of people. Speakers are comfortable delivering an oral report to an audience or a teacher and classmates, as well as conversing at a party.

Listening and understanding the message of most speakers means oral communication is generally received and comprehended. Listeners should understand what their teachers are saying, as well as a server at a restaurant.

Generally speaking with accurate grammar means appropriate subject-verb agreement, verb tense, etc. are typically used. Teachers can help ELLs achieve high oral proficiency by conversing with them frequently and in a variety of contexts. Teachers can model appropriate grammar in their own speech and repeat what ELL students say correctly back to them if a grammar misstep occurs.

Ways to Adjust Instructional Delivery for ELLs

Teachers can use different strategies to adjust instructional delivery for ELLs. They can slow down the rate in which instruction is delivered. Teachers should check for understanding before moving on, especially when vocabulary words that could be unfamiliar are used. Teachers can also use visual supports in their lessons by showing pictures that correspond to the content. Providing pictures to support language is an effective strategy for ELLs. Teachers can also use gestures to clarify certain actions mentioned in their instruction. Gestures and facial expressions are often universal and can be understood across languages.

Creating a Rich Language Environment

Teachers can create rich language environments by meaningfully exposing students to interactive language experiences routinely. Teachers can read aloud daily using engaging, high-quality literature and maintain a classroom library to meet the needs and interests of a variety of learners. They can also post word walls and anchor charts on the wall for students to use as spelling and vocabulary resources. Teachers can also facilitate games that encourage language development and word play, such as games based on rhyming, the alphabet, or word categories. Teachers can also encourage class discussions and engage in conversation with students.

Literacy Development

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This competency tests your knowledge of promoting literacy development for ESL students with attention to strategies specific to English language acquisition and factors unique to second language learners.

Let’s talk about some concepts that may pop up on the test.

Common English Phonograms

A phonogram is a letter or combination of letters that produce a certain sound. All consonants have their own sound (sometimes more than one like c, g, s, x, and y) and vowels have a long sound (sounds like the letter name) and a short sound.

Combination phonograms can make consonant sounds. Examples:

sh, th, ch, wh, ph, wr, kn, gn, qu, ck, dge

Combination phonograms may be a combination of consonants and vowels. Examples:

er, ir, or, ur, ar, ed, augh, ough

Combination phonograms can make vowel sounds. Examples:

ai, ay, au, aw, igh, ie, ew, ee, ea, oa, oe, oi, oy, ow, ui

Helping ESL students understand that there are more sounds in the English language than the 26 letters that comprise the alphabet can aid in developing their knowledge of phonograms. Students should be directly taught the phonograms and provided with lots of examples of seeing them in written text.

Phonetically Irregular Words

Phonetically irregular words are words that do not follow the standard rules of sound-letter association. Examples:

two, sure, busy, door, done, answer, people, beautiful

Phonetically irregular words should be introduced in a logical order (starting with words students will see frequently) and reviewed in a cumulative way. Teachers should preview text to be used in instruction for phonetically irregular words and pre-teach them to prepare students for success in recognizing them in context.

High-Frequency Words

High-frequency words are words that appear often in written language. They may or may not follow standard rules of sound-letter association. Examples:

the, was, of, to, see, can, like, not, he, she, we, were, they

Since some of these words can be decoded and some cannot, students should be taught to know them by sight. ESL students should be exposed to them in a variety of ways. High-frequency word walls and lists for students to use as a resource can be provided, as well as the words written on flashcards for automaticity practice. Teachers should make sure to point them out during read alouds and in shared text.

Text Structures

Text structure refers to how information is organized within a text. Examples include:

  • cause and effect
  • problem and solution
  • chronological order
  • compare and contrast
  • opinion with support

Readers must understand how an author organized a writing piece to comprehend and make meaning of it. Strategies to use to develop ESL students’ comprehension include predicting, summarizing, and discussing. Teachers can think aloud to model metacognition about the author’s purpose of writing the text and how the text structure lent itself to this purpose.

L1 Literacy

Students’ literacy skills in their first language must be taken into account for designing and implementing literacy instruction in their second language. Students who have literacy deficits in L1 may have more difficulty acquiring literacy skills in L2. Care and attention must be taken to fill in any gaps necessary to move forward in literacy development.

Content-Area Learning and Academic Language Development

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This competency tests your knowledge of strategies that promote academic achievement for ESL students across the content areas.

Here are some concepts that may appear on the test.

Front-Loading Vocabulary

Front-loading vocabulary means to pre-teach words and meanings that are key to certain concepts before teaching the concept itself. This is important for ESL instruction because it provides opportunity for students to comprehend meaning of a new vocabulary word before being expected to understand it in the context of the new academic concept. For example, before studying the life cycle of a chicken in science class, an ESL teacher can front-load vocabulary words such as “chick,” “adult,” “hatch,” and “egg” to prepare students to learn about the phases of the life cycle.


Realia is the use of real objects in the classroom for instructional purposes. For example, when teaching ESL students common kitchen items vocabulary, a teacher may bring actual dishes and utensils into the classroom instead of just showing pictures of them. Realia is important in ESL instruction so ESL students learn vocabulary in a hands-on, authentic way.

Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are visual ways to represent information. They are important to use for ESL instruction because visual representations provide opportunity for ELLs to comprehend the content while they are in the process of learning key vocabulary.


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This competency tests your knowledge of using assessment to monitor and adjust instructional practices to best promote academic achievement for ESL students.

Let’s talk about some concepts that may pop up on the test.

Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC)

An LPAC is a school committee with the shared responsibility of making decisions to support an ESL student’s educational future through review of the progress made throughout the school year. LPACs are generally comprised of a campus administrator, ESL teacher, and parent of the student. LPACs make decisions about ESL students’ participation in assessments such as STAAR, ratings in the TELPAS domains, and need for continuation in different programs or services.

Informal Assessments

Informal assessments monitor the ongoing progress of students throughout the school year. They allow teachers to track students’ learning regularly so appropriate adjustments can be made to instruction. Teachers can use informal assessments such as story retelling, role play, class discussion, and participation in games and group activities to assess ELLs.

Diagnostic Assessments

Diagnostic assessments pre-assess students’ skills and knowledge in a particular area before instruction begins. They are used to analyze strengths and weaknesses to guide lesson design and instruction.

Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS)

TELPAS is an assessment system used to monitor the progress of students learning the English language. ELLs are rated annually until the LPAC determines the student has met exit criteria by demonstrating proficiency in the English language.

TELPAS raters holistically rate kindergarten and first grade students in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing through observation. Students in grades 2-12 take multiple-choice reading tests, listening and speaking tests, and submit writing samples. Each of the areas of speaking, listening, reading, and writing are reported as beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high based on PLDs (proficiency level descriptors).

And that’s some basic info about Domain II.

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ESL Supplemental Domain III: Foundations of ESL Education, Cultural Awareness and Family and Community Involvement


Domain III accounts for about 30% of the entire TExES ESL Supplemental exam.

This domain has three competencies:

  • Foundations of ESL Education and ESL Programs
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Family and Community Involvement

So, let’s start with Foundations of ESL Education and ESL Programs.

Foundations of ESL Education and ESL Programs

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This competency tests your knowledge of the foundations of ESL education, types of ESL programs, and how to use this knowledge to make the best instructional decisions for ESL students.

Let’s talk about some concepts that may pop up on the test.

Chapter 89.BB Special Populations

The state commissioner’s rules concerning the state’s plan for the education of English Language Learners are found in this state code. This code assures that ELLs are to be afforded the opportunity to master the TEKS as they are educated by appropriately qualified teachers in a bilingual or ESL program in which they qualify.


Immersion is the teaching of English through content as opposed to direct ESL instruction. Its goal is to immerse students in the English language so they acquire it quickly and authentically.

Lau v. Nichols in 1974

This court case is relevant to ESL instruction, because it determined that denying students with limited English language proficiency access to supplemental language instruction violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision was followed by the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 which mandated school districts to provide equal opportunities for all students. Funding was increased for bilingual education, and additional English instruction for LEP students became required in all school districts.

Cultural Awareness

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Acculturation is a process an individual or group goes through when adopting parts of a new culture while maintaining some elements of the original culture. For example, a family that immigrated from Mexico to the United States may participate in the American tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween while also celebrating the Day of the Dead in the traditional Mexican way.


Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s culture is superior to another or all others. For example, ethnocentric people don’t just appreciate and enjoy their own cultural beliefs and practices, they think others’ are wrong and have a negative mentality about them.


Assimilation is the adjustment into a new culture. It is the process in which an individual or group’s culture begins to appear as another. For example, a family who immigrated to America may start to wear clothes purchased in American stores as part of their assimilation to the culture.

Family and Community Involvement

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This competency tests your knowledge of advocating for ESL students, encouraging community involvement, and communicating effectively with their families.

Here are some concepts that may appear on the test.
TExES ESL Supplemental Pin

Family Involvement

It is important for families to be involved in the education of ESL students for the same reason it is important for families to be involved in the education of all students-it increases student motivation and achievement! Students are more likely to value education if it is valued by their families. Teachers can facilitate participation by not allowing language barriers to stand in the way. Written communication should be sent in a language families can read and understand.

Communicating with Stakeholders

Teachers should create environments that feel comfortable and not intimidating to parents of ESL students. Teachers should make it clear to parents that they have a strong, shared interest in the student’s education.

Community Involvement

Community members can positively affect student learning in the ESL program by facilitating programs and events that make it clear these students are valued members of the community. Helpful resources can be available for ESL students and their families, such as appropriately leveled English language texts and technology in a library.

And that’s some basic info about Domain III of the TExES ESL Supplemental test.

ESL Supplemental Questions & Practice Test