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TExES Special Education EC-12 Exam (161)

Preparing for the Certification Exam
As required by the Texas Education Code 21.048, successful performance on educator certification examinations is mandatory for the issuance of a Texas educator certificate. The purpose of the TExES Special Education EC-12 assessment is to determine whether or not the applicant has the necessary skills and knowledge to become a special education teacher for students in early childhood to grade 12. It is a computer administered 5 hour exam containing 150 multiple-choice questions that are based on the Special Education EC–12 test framework and cover grades EC–12. The tests include both individual, or stand-alone, test items (questions) and items that are arranged in clustered sets based on real-world situations faced by educators.
Practice Exams Training and Support

The Domains

Domain Domain Title Approx. Percentage of Test Standards Assessed
I. Understanding Individuals with Disabilities and Evaluating their Needs 13%
Special Education
EC-12: IV - V
II. Promoting Student Learning and Development 33%
Special Education
EC-12: VI - X
III. Promoting Student Achievement in English Language Arts and Reading and in Mathematics 33%
Special Education
EC-12: XI - XII
IV. Foundations and Professional Roles and Responsibilities 20%
Special Education
EC-12: I - III

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Domain 1 Domain 2
Domain 3 Domain 4
The links below provide details specific to procedures such as registration, eligibility, and qualifications for passing. The last section titled, "Retaking the Exam", demonstrates how to read and interpret a non-passing score after a completed exam to produce a more streamlined focus of study, as well as specifics on exam attempts and timelines.
In the Memorandum to State Directors of Special Education 81  IDELF 287 (OSEP 2022), additional guidance was provided regarding requirements related to personnel qualifications and alternate certifications under part B of IDEA.  
Specifically, the letter states that each person employed as a public-school special education teacher in elementary, middle, or high school:
(1) has obtained full State certification as a special education teacher (including certification obtained through an alternate route to certification as a special educator); or
(2) passed the State special education teacher licensing examination and holds a license in the State as a special education teacher (excluding charter schools).
Alternative certifications must:
•    receive high-quality professional development that is sustained, intensive, and classroom-focused in order to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction, before and while teaching;
•    participate in a program of intensive supervision that consists of structured guidance and regular ongoing support for teachers or a teacher mentoring program;
•    assume the functions as a teacher only for a specified period of time not to exceed three years; and
•    demonstrate satisfactory progress toward full certification as prescribed by the State.
It further clarifies that public school special education teachers may not have special education certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and must hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Before you can register for the test, you will first need to meet the eligibility criteria to take the exam. You must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have completed or will soon complete an educator preparation program that is approved by the State Board of Educator Certification. This includes university initial, university post baccalaureate, university alternative certification, and alternative certification programs. In this case, you must get approval to test through your program.
  • You have a previous certification in special education at the EC-12 level in another state or country and are seeking to become certified in Texas. In this case, you must seek approval to test from the Texas Education Agency.
  • You have a bachelor’s degree and are certified to teach in Texas public schools but wish to become certified in special education. In this case, you do not need an approval to test. You simply need to register for the exam through the Texas Education Agency website.
Passing Standards
The test may contain questions that do not count toward the score. Your final scaled score will be based only on scored questions. Your results will fall somewhere on a scale of 100 to 300. In order to become certified in the state of Texas, you need to get a score of at least 240.

An individual will have five attempts to take a certification examination. The five attempts include the first attempt to pass the examination and four retakes. If an individual fails an examination, the individual must wait 30 days before retaking the same examination.
If the individual is unable to successfully pass the examination after five attempts, the individual will not be allowed to take the examination again unless the SBEC waives the limitation for good cause.

Evaluate your exam results to determine competencies to focus on, review the example below.

Sample Score Report

In the example above, 6 ELAR Competencies have been identified for focused review.  Utilize the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website and view the preparation resources to zoom in on specific topics within a competency for further review.