TExES Special Education EC-12: Practice Test and Prep

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Special Education EC-12 Practice Test

Welcome to our TExES Special Education EC-12 (161) practice test and prep page. On this page, we outline the domains and key concepts for the Special Education EC-12 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 TExES  Special Education EC-12 study guide covers EVERY concept you need to know and is set up to ensure your success! Our online TExES Special Education EC-12 study guide provides test-aligned study material using interactive aids, videos, flash cards, quizzes and practice tests.

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TExES Special Education EC-12 Information

TExES Special Education EC-12 Pin


The purpose of the TExES Special Education EC-12 assessment is to determine whether or not the test taker has the needed skills and knowledge to become a special education educator for early childhood to grade 12.
The four domains of the test truly focus on the areas that future special education educators need to be proficient in. It’s not only important for a special education educator to have knowledge about English and math but to also be able to know how to help their students succeed and make progress (all while following the many, specific laws pertaining to special education).

test format, test code, number of questions


This assessment will cost $116. The TExES Special Education EC-12 assessment can be taken anytime during the year. In order to register for this assessment, you will need to go to the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program and click “Register Now” at the bottom of the page.


The score range for this assessment is 100 to 300.
In order to pass this test, you will need to score a 240 or higher.

Study time:

In order to pass the TExES Special Education EC-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. For a trusted, thorough study guide with tons of practice questions and materials, check out 240 Tutoring’s TExES Special Education EC-12 study guide.

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 National Evaluation Series website.


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TExES Special Education EC-12 Domain 1- Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating Their Needs


Domain 1 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test has about 20 multiple-choice questions. These questions account for 13% of the entire exam.
This Domain can be neatly divided into 2 competencies.

  • Characteristics and Needs
  • Assessment and Evaluation

So, let’s talk about them.

Characteristics & Needs

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This section tests your knowledge of the human development process and how the special educator can use this knowledge to provide appropriate instruction to meet students’ different needs.
Let’s talk about some concepts that you will more than likely see on the test.

Behavioral Disorders

When a child is exhibiting a variety of negative behaviors (i.e. blurting, lack of attention, hyperactivity, problems interacting with peers and adults appropriately, self-harm, harm to others and things, etc.) for a minimum of six months and these behaviors cause problems for the student at home, school, and in the community, the child is considered to have a behavioral disorder. In order for the child to become officially diagnosed, assessments by a certified psychologist or psychiatrist need to be completed.
Many people automatically think of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) when they hear the term behavioral disorders. “Behavioral disorders” is an umbrella term that covers and diagnoses a wide array of behaviors that can negatively impact the child and his/her life. In addition to ADHD and ADD, there are additional behavioral disorders that a child can be diagnosed with.

  • Emotional Behavior Disorder is a disorder in which a child struggles with the ability to be happy, interact appropriately with others, and focus.
  • Defiant Disorder is a disorder in which a child struggles with dealing with authority, following directions, and complying with what is asked of him/her, etc.
  • Anxiety is another common disorder in which a child feels extremely nervous in different situations (social, test-taking, general) to the point where he/she is unable to cope, complete the task (i.e. take a test), etc.
  • OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disorder in which a child will repetitively complete tasks in a certain manner in order to deal with stress.

These are just a few examples of common behavioral disorders.

Communication Patterns

There are three different types of communication patterns:

  • Normal
  • Delayed
  • Disordered (including non-symbolic communication or communication that does not use symbols)

Normal communication patternsstrong begin at birth when a child is listening to the parents’ voices and begins to make different sounds. Then when the child is around twelve months old, he/she will begin to say one-word words (i.e. mama, dada, go, dog). As the child gets older, he/she will begin to form simple sentences to convey wants and needs. This progression will continue as the child grows and develops, communicating with others in social and educational settings, as well as in the home.
Delayed communication patterns occur when a child has developed communication skills, but beyond the “normal” timeline. The important thing to remember is that with delayed communication patterns, the child will develop the same communication as their peers, just at a later time.
Disordered communication patterns are when a child has a difficult time with the following:
expressing (expressive communication) verbally, nonverbally, and through symbols
receiving (receptive communication) information, as well as comprehending and processing information that is communicated
Children with speech and language disabilities can be impacted in different ways. If the child has an expressive language disorder (difficult time communicating with others out loud verbally or with symbols; sign language, braille, etc.), this can cause great problems in how the child socially interacts with peers, adults, and family members. It can also be extremely frustrating to the child to not be able to convey his/her wants and needs to others. If the child is unable to process or comprehend what is being communicated to him/her, this can cause difficulties with academics and daily living skills.

Assessment and Evaluation

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This section tests how you would use your knowledge of a student’s background to develop instruction that meets the student’s needs and assessments that measure the student’s progress. Both are needed to create a learning environment for every student to learn and thrive.
Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Ethical Concerns

According to the Council for Exceptional Children (an organization that provides information, resources, and professional development to special educators), there are several ethical concerns relating to the assessment and evaluation of individuals with disabilities. Practicing professional ethics in regards to following laws, regulation policies, etc. is very important for all special educators to do. This means that special educators need to make sure that assessments are completed in an honest and consistent manner that truly measure and identify the needs of each student. It is also important that the data from evaluations and assessments are shared with parents and other members of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team.
It is important that an unbiased evaluation is conducted. An unbiased evaluation is conducted by an evaluator with a completely open mind. Many different types of psychometric instruments and instructional assessments can be used to identify the student’s needs and help develop, implement, and monitor the different goals written in the IEP.
A psychometric instrument is an assessment used to measure a student’s knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits and is usually conducted to identify the student’s special needs, as well as to complete three-year evaluations. There are many different examples of psychometric instruments that can be used to evaluate a student with special needs including the following:

  • Assessment (by the school psychologist) to assess a student’s behaviors and adaptive functioning skills
  • Educational Assessment (by the special educator) to assess academic skills
  • Sociocultural Assessment (by a social worker at the student’s home) to assess adaptive behavior and the home environment
  • Developmental Assessment (by the special educator) to assess children ages five and under in early skill knowledge, adaptive behaviors, communication, and fine motor skills
  • Specific Specialty Area Testing to assess speech and language by a Speech and Language Therapist, fine motor skills by an Occupational Therapist, and gross motor skills by a Physical Therapist.
  • Instructional assessments measure students’ progress for each Individualized Education Plan goal. These types of assessments, like curriculum-based measurement (CBM), are utilized based on the frequency that the IEP team agreed on for progress monitoring (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). This data allows the special educator to determine whether or not the student is making progress on his/her goals. If not, the instruction might need to change or the goal may need to be amended and, therefore, changed. If the student is consistently making progress, the IEP team may decide to either discontinue services in that area or write a new goal.

Assessment Design

Ecological assessments, portfolio assessments, task analysis, and functional assessments (including behavioral, social, and communication) are examples of different assessment designs that can be used to identify, provide, and monitor the services and goals that are provided to students with special needs.

assessment design table

And that’s some basic info about Domain 1 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test.

TExES Special Education EC-12 Domain 2- Promoting Student Learning and Development


Domain 2 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test has about 50 multiple-choice questions. These questions account for 33% of the entire exam.

This Domain can be neatly divided into 5 competencies.

  • Planning Instruction
  • Environment
  • Promoting Performance
  • Behavior and Social Skills
  • Transition

So, let’s discuss them.

Planning Instruction

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This section tests your knowledge of whether or not you understand the procedures to make appropriate instructional plans for students with special needs.

Let’s talk about some concepts that you will more than likely see on the test.


There are many skills that can be identified and addressed when developing a student’s IEP, monitoring the student’s progress, and conducting three-year evaluations. Cognitive, academic, social, language, affective, motor, functional, transition, and career life skills can be addressed in the student’s Individualized Education Plan.

  • Cognitive skills are the main skills that your brain uses in order to think, learn, remember focus, and reason.
  • Academic skills focus on core subjects such as reading, writing, math, social studies, science, etc.
  • Language skills are skills in which a student can comprehend what is being told to them verbally (or through symbols) and express verbally (or through symbols) to others. The four main language skills are listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Affective skills look at the student’s interests, attitudes, and feelings.
  • Motor skills involve the small muscles (fine motor skills), as well as the larger muscles (gross motor skills). The small muscles of the fingers, hands, and forearms can affect a student’s writing and daily living skills (dressing, eating, cleaning, etc.). The large muscles of the arms, legs, and torso can affect the student’s mobility.
  • Functional skills are skills that a student needs to know in order to live as independently as possible (i.e cooking, cleaning, dressing, grooming, accessing transportation, etc.).
  • Transition skills assist the student from going from one activity to another, as well as with transitions in life (i.e. transition from preschool to elementary school, transition from elementary school to junior high, etc.).
  • Care>er life skills are skills that a student needs in order to apply for a job, participate in an interview, complete tasks in a job, etc.


IEP is an acronym for Individualized Education Plan. A student’s IEP is developed by his or her IEP team (i.e parents, special educator, general educator, principal, service providers, student, etc.). The IEP addresses:

  • the student’s strengths
  • areas that the student needs additional services for
  • where the student is currently at in those areas through collection of assessment data
  • goals for each of the areas that the student qualifies for (i.e. reading, writing, math, social skills, speech, mobility, occupational skills, vocational skills, etc)
  • who will provide the service and how often
  • what adaptations and modifications will be provided
  • whether or not the student will participate in regular Physical Education (P.E.) and district-wide assessments.
  • In some cases, an IEP might specify that the student needs special transportation to and from school, as well as a health plan to address different medical needs and services.

An IEP is an excellent resource for special educators who will be responsible for providing and managing services, progress monitoring for each goal, and providing accommodations and modifications for the student. A student’s IEP addresses all of these and more for the special educator and general educator (if the student is in general education classes).

It is important to note that IEP goals can be changed. If the child has mastered the goal or is not making progress towards a goal, the special educator can decide what needs to be done next (i.e. change instructional methods, omit the goal completely, rewrite the goal, write a new goal, etc.). This would be done with the IEP team’s assistance.


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This section tests your knowledge of providing a learning environment that is safe and positive, utilizing classroom time properly, developing effective routines, implementing effective classroom management, and utilizing appropriate assistive technology devices with students.

Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Classroom Management

Classroom management is important for all educators to consider and plan for in order for students to learn and thrive. It is important for students to know the following:

  • Rules
  • Expectations
  • Grading procedures
  • Consequences for poor choices

Another component of classroom management to consider is the classroom setup itself.

Are there too many distractions such as posters, bulletin boards, etc.?

Where will students sit and how will the seating be set up (for both individualized and whole group instruction)?  

Which students need to sit near the front of the classroom (for various reasons)?  

It is important to know in advance what your students’ needs are and to be proactive when setting up the classroom. After the first couple of days of getting to know your students, you may need to make adjustments. It is crucial as a special educator to be flexible.

Assistive Technology

According to the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. There are two types of assistive technology:

  • high tech assistive technology
  • low tech assistive technology

High tech assistive technology devices, according to Tools for Life, are the most complex devices or equipment that:

  • have digital or electronic components
  • require training
  • cost the most money

Some examples of high tech assistive technology are:

  • electronic augmentative communication devices (technology for children who are nonverbal)
  • hearing aids
  • electric wheelchairs
  • computers
  • different computer features (text to speech, voice recognition, word prediction, etc.)

Low tech assistive technology, according to Tools for Life, are devices or equipment that:

  • do not require much training
  • are less expensive
  • do not have complex features

Some examples of low tech assistive technology are:

  • large font worksheets
  • audiobooks
  • sandpaper (to place underwriting paper to receive sensory input while writing)
  • pencil grips
  • raised lined paper or highlighted paper
  • graphic organizers
  • reading guide highlighter strips
  • highlighter tape (to assist with note-taking)
  • colored transparencies (to use for reading)
  • grid paper (assists children in making sure their numbers are in neat rows in math)
  • kitchen timers
  • visual schedules
  • velcro (that can be used for folder activities, visual schedules, etc.)

Assistive technology, whether low or high technology, can provide tools and easier access to learning for students with special needs.

Promoting Performance

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This section tests your knowledge of how to provide resources to families and applicable staff (i.e. individuals that are part of the student’s IEP team), utilize assessments for progress monitoring, implement the knowledge gained from assessments to provide effective instruction to students, motivate students, identify different learning styles, provide instruction to help students gain and learn life skills, and utilize different types of technology within the classroom.

Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.


Special education teachers can serve as a resource for families, general education teachers, administrators, and other personnel in many ways. One way to do this is to make sure that there is open communication through face-to-face interactions, phone calls, emails, etc. A special educator needs to make sure that families and school personnel believe that they can express their concerns or ask questions of them at any time.

Another way that a special educator can serve as a resource to families and school personnel is to make sure to share, with all IEP team members, students’ progress, as well as areas that need to be improved upon.

Finally, a special educator can serve as a resource by providing information about other resources in the community, school, etc., that could provide additional opportunities and assistance to students’ families.

Modifying Instruction

Students learn in many different ways. Listed below are the four main learning styles, as well as how to incorporate them into your classroom:

learning style table

Here are some other terms you should know:

  • Instructional materials are any material such as workbooks, dry erase boards, computers, reading books, iPads, etc., that can be used to teach any skill.
  • Compensatory skills/materials are the usage of strategies, techniques, and adapted materials for students with visual impairments. Some examples of compensatory skills are teaching how to read and write braille, reading large print (if applicable), using voice output technology (i.e. voice-to-text tool on the computer), etc.
  • Enrichment activities are activities that a teacher can have students do in addition to what was originally assigned. For example, if the class is learning about fractions, the teacher can provide an enrichment activity of using a recipe to bake cookies. Some other examples of enrichment activities are field trips, speakers coming to the classroom, arts and craft projects, etc.
  • Remedial methods are methods that the special educator uses to reteach and assist students who are struggling with a specific skill or concept. For example, if a student is struggling with reading simple sentences, the special educator may need to reteach how to read sight words.

Behavior and Social Skills

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This section tests your knowledge of appropriately identifying, assessing, and teaching appropriate behavior and social skills to students with special needs.

Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Behavior Management Techniques

There are many different types of behavior management techniques that a special educator can implement within the classroom. Let’s take a look at a few.

behavioral management table

Learning Environments

Modifying students’ learning environment is a proactive way to promote appropriate behaviors. It is important that students know what the classroom rules and expectations are on the first day of school. Some additional ways to modify students’ environment is by providing a routine (i.e. a schedule with visuals), teaching organizational skills (i.e. where to place assignments, school supplies, books, backpacks, etc.), and letting students know in advance (if possible) if there will be any schedule changes. Many students thrive on predictability. If predictability and routine do not exist, there is an increased chance of students exhibiting negative behaviors.

For physical arrangements of the classroom, it is important to decide in advance where to place tables, desks, and chairs for desk work and small group work. It is beneficial to place tables that will be used for small group instruction away from windows and the classroom door.

In addition to modifying the learning environment in the classroom, it is just as important to incorporate instructional arrangements.  Instructional arrangements is a code used by school districts to document the instructional setting for students with special needs who may be in a special education setting full-time or part-time. When a special needs student is receiving instruction in a general education setting, even for a short amount of time, it is important to communicate with the general educator about the student’s needs and accommodations. This is also true if a paraeducator is assigned to a student in special education and/or general education setting. Communication is key!


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This section tests your knowledge of how transition impacts students with special needs and how to assist students with a wide array of transitions, not only at school but also in life.

Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Programs and Services

There are many different programs and services available to assist students and families in planning for transition. The transition from preschool to kindergarten, elementary to middle, and middle to high school, can be done with the school personnel from both sides working together with families, students, and any additional staff members from the students’ Individualized Education Plan team.

When a student with special needs is ready for the big transition from high school to postsecondary plans, additional resources need to be shared with families and students. Some resources that are available are Special Education Information CenterPartners Resource NetworkTexas Health and Human ServicesTexas Project FIRST, etc.

Coping Skills

There are many skills that students need to learn in order to cope with the transition. First, they need to know what different transitions look like. Next, they need to know what is expected of them during transitions and how to handle them. Finally, they need to be taught how to handle unexpected transitions (i.e. fire drill, tornado drill, transitioning from class to a school-wide program, etc.). These skills can be taught in a variety of ways. Some methods of teaching coping skills include:

  • using social stories
  • having students act out different situations (and helping them problem-solve)
  • the special educator modeling how to use those skills while using the think-aloud method   

And that’s some basic info about Domain 2 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test.

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TExES Special Education EC-12 Domain 3- Promoting Student Achievement in English Language Arts and Reading and in Mathematics


Domain 3 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test has about 50 multiple-choice questions. These questions account for 33% of the entire exam.

This Domain can be neatly divided into 2 competencies:

  • English Language Arts and Reading
  • Mathematics

So, let’s talk about them.

English Language Arts and Reading


This section tests your knowledge of how to teach and assess students with special needs in the area of English (reading, writing, spelling, and grammar).

Let’s talk about some concepts that you will more than likely see on the test.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize and work with the sounds of verbal language.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and work with phonemes (individual sounds) in spoken words.

There are several strategies to promote both phonological and phonemic awareness for students with disabilities:

  • play word and sound games
  • connect visuals (drawn or sign language) to specific sounds, words, etc.
  • write the sounds or words that the student hears (if writing is difficult, the student can type them on the computer)
  • read books with the student at his/her instructional level
  • provide an audiobook with the actual book (student can hear and see the sounds, words, etc.)
  • teach specific phonological and/or phonemic skills that the student is struggling with

Fluency and Comprehension

Reading fluency is how fast and accurate a student can read. Fluency affects reading comprehension because a student needs to read fluently in order to understand what he/she is reading. If the student reads too fast, he/she may miss important information and details. If the student reads too slow, then he/she is more likely to forget what was read at the beginning of the story or passage.

There are several strategies that special education teachers can use to promote fluency and comprehension for students with learning disabilities. The first important thing to do is to assess where the student is performing at in reading fluency and comprehension. This will help you identify what the student is struggling with. Once this is determined, decide which of the following strategies will work for the student:

  • provide direct instruction (review previous skill, teach a new skill, work with student one-on-one on a new skill, let student practice the new skill independently, assess the student on that skill)
  • teach word attack skills
  • provide additional instruction in decoding and phonemic awareness
  • provide opportunities to practice skills at the student’s instructional level
  • utilize advanced organizers or story maps to develop comprehension
  • ask questions while reading the passage or story
  • teach the student how to think aloud while reading


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This section tests your knowledge of how to teach and assess students with special needs in the area of math (i.e. number recognition, number systems, operations, algebra, geometry, etc.).

Here is a concept that is likely to appear on the test.

Reasoning and Problem Solving

Reasoning and problem solving can be very challenging for students with disabilities. With both, it is important that the student understands the problem (i.e. What are they solving for? What are the important details? What details are not important? Is it a multi-step problem?), creates a plan to understand the problem, creates a plan to solve the problem, and checks the answer (i.e. Does the answer make sense? Did I answer the question?).

There are several tools and strategies that can be used to help students understand the problem:

  • SQR (Survey, Question, Read)
  • mnemonic devices
  • graphic organizers
  • paraphrasing
  • visualization (draw pictures to help the student visualize the problem)
  • analyze information from the problem itself

There are also several strategies available to help students devise a plan to solve a problem:

  • hypothesize and estimate
  • look for a pattern
  • use a formula
  • work backward

It is also important to consider students’ learning styles. If you have a visual learner, you might need to use graphic organizers, pictures, etc. If you have a kinesthetic learner, however, you can use counting blocks or physical items that are small and can be easily moved. For an auditory learner, you can use songs, acronyms, audiobooks, etc. It is important to note that students might need more than one strategy to use, especially for more complex math problems.

And that’s some basic info about Domain 3 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test.

TExES Special Education EC-12 Domain 4- Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities


Domain 4 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test has about 30 multiple-choice questions. These questions account for 20% of the entire exam.

This Domain can be neatly divided into 3 competencies:

  • Foundations
  • Requirements
  • Communication and Collaboration

So, let’s talk about them.


competency 010

This section tests your knowledge of the history, legalities, and philosophies related to special education.

Let’s talk about some concepts that you will more than likely see on the test.

Educational Terminology

There is very specific terminology related to the field of special education. Check out the terms below:

  • Learning disability: A disability that can cause difficulty in acquiring knowledge and skills at the same rate as peers. The three main learning disabilities are Dyslexia (reading), Dysgraphia (writing), and Dyscalculia (math).
  • Intellectual disability: A disability that causes limitations with reasoning, learning, problem solving, social skills, and life skills.
  • Emotional disturbance: A disability in which a child exhibits one or more of the following characteristics that also affects his/her educational performance:
  • Inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health reasons
  • Unable to build and maintain appropriate relationships with peers and teachers
  • Displays inappropriate behaviors in normal situations
  • Exhibits unhappiness or depression
  • Develop physical symptoms or fears related to personal or school problems
  • Health impairment: According to the IDEA, it is an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or temporary, that can affect a child’s educational performance, but not included under the definition of deafness.
  • Speech and language disabilities: A disability in communication (i.e. stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, voice impairment) that affects a child’s educational performance.


IDEA, or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is a federal law that requires schools to provide educational services to eligible students with disabilities. The purpose of IDEA is to make sure that schools provide a free, appropriate public education or FAPE (provide services to eligible students with special needs at no cost to their parents) and give parents an opportunity to have an active role in their child’s education (i.e. advocate for child’s educational needs, receive rights and protection through procedural safeguards, etc.).

It is important to know that in order for a child to be eligible to receive services at school under IDEA, the student must have a disability and, because of that disability, need special education services to make progress at school. There are thirteen disability categories that a child can be diagnosed with to receive services:

  • autism
  • deaf-blindness
  • deafness
  • emotional disturbance
  • hearing impairment
  • intellectual disability
  • multiple disabilities
  • orthopedic impairment
  • other health impairment
  • specific learning disability (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, etc.)
  • speech and/or language impairment
  • traumatic brain injury
  • visual impairment


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This section tests your knowledge of understanding the roles and responsibilities of a special educator, as well as the laws related to the special education field and providing services.

Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Least Restrictive Environment

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), according to IDEA, states that children should receive special education services in an environment that they can receive the needed resources (as stated in their Individualized Education Plans) while being in settings with typical peers as much as possible.

Special educators should be an advocate for their students and support their educational needs in the Least Restrictive Environment. There are many ways that special educators can achieve this. Special educators need to advocate for their students at IEP meetings and share ways that they can provide support to the student while still receiving services in a Least Restrictive Environment.

Another way to achieve this is through open communication with general educators that have special education students in their classrooms. A special educator needs to share information regarding the student (in confidentiality) that states and explains the instructional levels of the students, accommodations needed, health concerns, behavior plans, etc. It is also important to check-in with the general education teacher frequently if a student is in a general education setting for any amount of time. This is a great way to be proactive and handle problems that may come up.

Another way for special educators to advocate for LRE is by co-teaching (i.e. teaching a subject area with a general educator). This would allow the special educator to provide immediate assistance to the student and general educator as needed.


Procedural safeguards are procedures that ensure that children with special needs (and their parents) are protected; they are established in clear steps that are used to address problems and disagreements. The Notice of Procedural Safeguards is given to parents/guardians of students once a year. It can also be given to parents/guardians at the following times:

  • initial referral or the request by parents for an evaluation
  • at the beginning of an Individualized Education Plan meeting
  • when a special education complaint is filed by parents
  • the first due process hearing complaint
  • when a decision has been made to take disciplinary action to move a student to a different placement for educational services
  • whenever a parent/guardian requests one

In addition to procedural safeguards, special educators need to understand their role in safeguarding the confidentiality of data and information regarding students with disabilities. According to IDEA Part B, confidentiality is required and applied to students’ records that are collected or maintained once they begin receiving services. In addition to this, any personal, identifiable data, information, and records collected or maintained by local educational agencies, as addressed in Part B of IDEA, must be kept confidential.

Communication and Collaboration

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This section tests your knowledge of how to communicate and work well with others in a variety of settings.

Here are some concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Family Concerns

Families of individuals with disabilities will have many concerns. These concerns will vary depending on students’ needs. These concerns may include the following

  • understanding the child’s disability and its impact on friendships
  • how they can help with making progress at school
  • whether or not the accommodations are appropriate for the child’s needs
  • whether or not the child is truly in the least restrictive environment and receiving needed services
  • the rights that they (the parents) have
  • how they can advocate for their child

These concerns can be addressed by:

  • listening to parents’ concerns
  • answering questions that they have
  • providing resources in the school and in the community
  • developing programs to help students with special needs have interactions with typical peers (i.e. Special Olympics, Best Buddies, etc.)
  • sharing ideas and strategies that can be used at home by parents to assist their children
  • sharing progress with families (i.e. emails, phone calls, charts to show progress for each goal, etc.)
  • informing parents about the Individualized Education Plan and their role in it
  • discussing their rights as stated in the Procedural Safeguards


ARD, or Admission, Review, and Dismissal is a process in which special educators and support staff, as well as the parents of children with special needs, meet together to discuss children’s needs, abilities, desires, and expectations.

An ARD meeting for a child, who is eligible for services and accommodations through the IEP, can be held for the following reasons:

  • the student has begun school
  • a new diagnosis and/or assessments have been completed
  • the student is new to the school district
  • time for annual review
  • special education teacher is requesting changes in the IEP
  • the student is transitioning from academic to post-secondary skills (i.e. job skills, life-skills, daily living skills, etc.)
  • the student is transitioning out of special education services or out of public school completely
  • the student is exhibiting behavior challenges that is impacting his/her education
  • the student has either mastered or is not making progress on IEP goals

Prior to the ARD meeting, parents have the right to ask any questions. At the actual ARD meeting, the following individuals may be in attendance:

  • child’s parents/guardians
  • child (must attend at age 18, but can attend at any age)
  • child’s regular education teacher
  • special education teacher
  • at least one school district representative
  • anyone else who is invited by the parents/guardians or the school district

This group of individuals is also known as the ARD committee or ARD team. The following items may be discussed at this meeting:

  • whether or not the child is eligible for special education services
  • the child’s progress on each goal, as well as whether or not the goal will be continued or changed
  • types of services and accommodations that the child needs
  • scores from the child’s recent statewide testing

After all of these items have been addressed, an IEP will be created and passed around for everyone to sign. When each member receives it, he/she can state whether he/she accepts it. If a member does not agree, that member can write down the areas that he/she does not agree with. Each member still has the option, including parents/guardians, to not sign the IEP, ask for more time before he/she signs it, or ask for another meeting to discuss the areas that were not agreed upon.

The ARD committee meeting must meet:

  • within 30 calendar days of the completion of a student’s Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE)
  • annually to review and update the IEP
  • when services or goals need to be changed or removed

And that’s some basic info about Domain 4 of the TExES Special Education EC-12 test.

Take the Special Education EC-12 Practice Test