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This test was taken on Computer.
Study: I used "Intro to Sp. Ed" by Deborah Deutsch Smith- 5th edition, the TX ARD Guide, I looked up all the terms identified by this community, and downloaded the free exams for both ELA and Sp Ed. I bought the text on Amazon at a reduced price, but it was well worth it because it breaks down all of the content you will need to know for each competency. Know the reasons behind the answers to (both the ELA and Sp Ed) practice tests.
Test: It was easier than I expected. So, I thought I didn't do so well, but I made a 268! Also know: Self advocacy, compensatory education, spina bifida, co-teaching, IFSP - IDEA and know the Public law numbers having to do with them- who does the FBA's, phoneme, overgeneralization in a sentence, behavior theory, know difference between reading levels i.e. independent, instructional, etc.; IEP and measurable goals, study the ELA practice test (about 25 questions on it) don't worry about the math, it was basic math. Take all of the time they provide, it really helps to give you time to look over your answers. Take a break. If you do all of these things, you should pass. Good luck!
Study: I used the TExES Study Guide that you can find at your University Bookstore for around $40. The most valuable information were the Practice Questions, other than that I did not consider it a great resource. I took everyone's comments from this message board and made my own review by searching the internet.
Test: The test was harder than I expected. Even after reading everyone's comments I thought I was well prepared. I studied for about 3 weeks. I don't think there are any tricks to pass, you just have to know your stuff. To pass this test you need to know all about READING development, i cannot emphasize this enough! Know different techniques to teaching children how to read and how to analyze their reading and writing. Also read about phonemic awareness and be familiar with all the terms. I wouldn't focus too much attention on the Math, the math problems were very basic. However, you do need to know the best way to teach Math to different types of students. Know the laws pertaining to Special Education inside and out and the differences between them (IDEA, 504, EHA, ADA). Review the practice problems over and over. I would say the majority of the test is situational. You have to have the mindset of picking the "Best" answer not the "Right" answer. There could be more than one "Right" answer. Take your time through the test, it took me three hours to finish. You need to know about all the different types of disabilities and how to handle specific situations. This is where the practice questions will help. Also use the FREE TExES Manual for the practice questions. Know about Co-Teaching, I did not look over this and was not in the manual. I would not waste too much time memorizing the vocabulary in your Study Guides. Need to understand the whole process of Special Education from Beginning to End (ARD, IEP, Transition Planning, Restraints, BIP, Due Process, etc.). Know about key theorist, not a lot of this on the test but you can probably be sure you will get a question or two.
Study: I went through every one of these posts and made a study guide based around the info people said would be on the test. I then googled all of them and studied the content that way. I was on a tight budget and could do all of that for free and it worked! Do as many practice tests as you can because the format of the questions is the same and it will help I promise. Do not worry about the math its only like 10 questions and its at a very low level. Narrow all the questions down to 2 answers. Then re-read the question and choose from your new 2 answers. I spent 2 weeks studying my study guide I made from the postings here and I made a 262/300 and passed!!!
Test: Do not get overwhemled if you get 3-4 questions in a row you are not sure about just keep going and you can always come back to the harder ones later. Here is a copy and pasted version of my study guide.
• Review IDEA (2004 and 1997) ADA and EHA. Also review Mental Retardation
• Transition Planning for High School Level Students
• ARD Guid (Admissions, Review, and Dismissal)
• "Least Restrictive Environment" answer questions based on this theory
• FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), No Child Left Behind 97,2001, and 2004 what year each addition was made
• Review the laws behind special ed
• "most active teacher" most "student centered", "team collaboration" and "doing it yourself vs going to administration" These are thoughts to have when answering questions you are not sure on
• Make sure you know/review disabilities, inclusion, adaptations, and augmentations.
• LREs (Least Restrictive Environment), IEPs, and ARDs
• Modifications and Accommodations in lesson plans and testing
• Child Find program
• Piaget and Maslow have discovered regarding development
• Asperger syndrome, Autism, Public law 94-142
• Google things like "Texas SpEd Referral process" or "Texas IDEA/504" or "Texas ARD" “Emergent Reader”, “phonology”, “Least Restrictive Environment”, “FAPE”, “ARD Process”
• “Put Reading First” (this is a website that offers good info on ELA and Reading)
• Professional Responsibility - I would definitely have spent more time looking over those laws, especially IDEA and how it changed over the years and who falls under IDEA vs. 504, and where "responsibility lies" for this, that, and the other)
• Speech Problems, Dyslexia and Phonics and Phonemic Awareness, Morphology, Syntax, Pragmatics, and Semantics
• Ex: A student with cerebral palsy how would you modify the environment for them? This means that you have to understand that those with cerebral palsy have problems with fine or gross motor skills etc
• How to teach English language arts - How to teach and analyze reading and writing
• the Methodology of Procedures
• types of disabilities i,e, Usher, Fragile x and Learning Disabilities
• IDEA old legislation and new, NCLB Act
• Autism and the different forms, Fragile X, OCD, ADD/ADHD, behavior conditions, IDEA, FAPE, ARD, Child Find, IEP Know about phoneme awareness and a balanced reading program because there were several questions pertaining to those topics
• Major laws and legal buzz words associated with the laws. Laws on TEA website
• Sp Ed overall is about providing the most opportunities for a child to learn in the same class as a general ed student, every child must be looked at individually, every child needs to be evaluated, etc
• Individual and provided a numerous amount of chanced to do well.
• For math and reading, make sure you understand how different ages begin to learn and how that process works, from the semi-concrete to the concrete
• No negative answers, IQ under 60
• Understand decimal places, division, pictograms, dividing fractions, multiplying decimals, adding decimals, divide large numbers, know definitions of math, lowest common denominator, greatest common denominator
• Make sure you know the history of Sp Ed how it developed. There are lots of ELA/Reading questions and how different ages learn and develop reading skills.
• Different types of disabilities (eg. Autism, Asperger's, Bipolar Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, OCD); Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process role; Kinesthetic learning style; Child Development Theorist-Maslow, Skinner, Piaget; Disorder such as ADD/ADHD, OCD, ODD, CD; IDEA///FAPE///LRE; lots of IEP examples and scenarios;
• Phonological Awareness; Syntax; informal/formal assessments; Transitional planning for high school kids with Learning Disabilities; Mental Retardation; IEP team role; Parental Rights; Early Intervention; Accommodations & Assistive technology; Documentation log; Re-enforcers & Rewards
• Informal testing; Emergent Reader; Anecdotal Records; Ecological Assessments; Portfolio Assessments; Task Analyses, and Functional Assessments; role of TASK; Life-skills; Community Based Resources; etc.
• Competency 008 and 009 IMPORTANT
Study: I used the special ed manual from the Texes Study Sessions. It was basic information and did not cover any of the math or reading. For the math, I just went to the math league website and went over info on fractions and decimals. I also bought the reading manual from Texes Study. Also, the review on the Texas Teachers site from Steve Hamman was very helpful. I would have just studied that review and looked over the reading manual and the math on the website.
Test: The test was much easier than I expected. There was a lot info to study like reading, math, and the special ed topics. Most of the test was reading/math and questions about IEP situations. The questions about IEP were easy to me and you really did not have to study for that. There was 15 math questions. There was a lot of word math problems. The hardest part for me was the reading part. That was all at the beginning of the test. Please study over phonics, phoeneme, and phonological awareness. Study fragile X and Asperberger, IDEA,fetal alcohal, bipolar, manisfestation determination, ARD, section 504, least restricitive environment, decimal places, geometry. Do not worry about the math section as much because there are really easy questions and you can just review on mathleague.com. Just read everything carefully. Much of the test to me seemed like the correct answer was so easy to be seen. It seems like everyone on this site was stating that this was a very difficult test and I beg to differ. If you take the advice that I give you on here then you should be able to pass.
Study: I used XAM for Special Education which was good for the basics but otherwise worthless. I printed off the Texes Prep Manual and then googled a lot of the terms. The night before I read updates to IDEA, 504, and EHA which was a tremendous help and I would suggest to anyone taking the test.
Test: Some questions were incredibly easy and some were very hard. Have background knowledge of each of the 13 eligibility categories and what disabilities/disorders fall into each and why. Most questions were situational. I thought the math would be a lot harder but it was pretty basic computations. My only hint would be that you shouldn't stress because you can miss up to 35 questions and still pass!
This test was taken on Paper.
Study: I used books from the library about special ed. A parent's guide to special education was the best for me. It is clear and concise and up to date. I read some other books after this one and found out they were out of date. This book in particular had the broad overview but had content that really helped me in the test.
Test: I would say get the book above. Don't get bogged down in memorizing every little thing. Just get a clear overview. Read the book above more than once. Study up on mental retardation alot. Find other books that deal with autism, mr, and other common disabilities. Do know all the major laws. Just get the overview and know the majors. But definitely study. I also read alot on the web. I googled everything. I think if you study you will be okay. But you must study. Know the majors. Good luck to you all.
Study: I purchased a study guide from certifyteacher.com and in my opinion it was great. The format of it is similar to the test. The study guide has flash cards (which were very helpful)and practice exams and a big exam similar to the test. This was my second time taking it however; I came up short the first time. I cannot even compare it to the free guide on the TEXES website b/c there is no comparison. What I liked about the practice exam was that it breaks down why the answer is right and wrong.
Test: The trick to taking this test is to take your time and remember what is "best" for the student. I would pay close attention to compentency section 008 & 009, this can make or break you in my opinion. When chosen an answer you will see that there are 2 answer choices that just does not fit right away. I read the question adn eliminated the 2 wrong answers, then read it again and pay close attention to the key terms. One thing I would highly suggest is when reading pay close attention to the description of the student, (ex the age and grade level, and disability. I began studying a month in advance, I made my own note cards based of the study material I had. In closing I can't stress enough how important competency 008 and 009 is. If you don't know them, do not waste your time or money.
Study: I studied using the Certify Teacher software. I feel the software prepared me for the exam. When taking the exam take your time. Don't rush through. It took me almost 5 hours, but I passed!
Test: The test was a little harder than I expected. The legal section was my easiest section because it was straight fact.
Study: I used the TExES #161 state manual and a copy of "The New Teacher Project" manual that a fellow educator loaned me as well as info. from another ACP candidate. (Her course info. broke down the domains/competencies and coorelated all the info for me.)
Test: Don't let the term "Special Education" fool you! This exam is difficult. There is basic reasoning and statistical math on the exam. Make sure you understand ELA and Reading applications! Don't short yourself on the legal info. either. Prepare yourself for "real world" scenerios. Know the acronyms: IEP, FAPE, ARD, etc. Keep in mind you have an endless budget and resourses available.
Study: I printed out and studied the study guide TExES has online. I read the Competencies, then took the practice test. After completing the sample test, I went over the questions I got wrong and reread the Competencies. Then, I studied the competencies I missed.
Test: During the test, relax. You know the information if you studied the material. I was very nervous days before the exam.
The math questions, in my opinion, are very tricky. One word causes the problem to be solved differently. Make sure to read the questions more than once before answering the question. After answering the question, I reread the question again.
After answering all the questions, I had an hour left. I went back and rechecked my answers. I decided to change a few because I found I made a mistake.
Make sure you choose the answer that helps the child, not the school district or parents.
After you pass your test, please post your comments.
Click here to post for: Test # 161: Special Education EC-12
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