100 TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC - 4 Exam:
The TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC - 4 Exam is a certification examination that is designed to determine whether or not an individual possesses a basic understanding of the teaching methods and responsibilities associated with becoming an entry-level educator in the Texas public school system. This exam specifically focuses on the teaching methods and responsibilities for educators at the elementary school level and the exam is required in order for an individual to become a certified elementary school educator within the state of Texas. The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions, 80 of which are scored and 10 that are not scored, that are related to the following areas:
- Planning Instruction and Assessments around Developmental Needs
- Planning Instruction and Assessments around Diverse Student Backgrounds and Needs
- Designing Instruction to Meet Learning Goals and Objectives
- Factors that Impact Student Learning and Planning Instruction around these Factors
- Promoting a Fair, Ethical, and Effective Learning Environment
- Methods for Creating and Maintaining an Effective and Organized Learning Environment and Methods for Handling Behavioral Problems
- Methods for Effective Communication
- Methods for Actively Engaging Students in the Learning Process
- Effective use of Technology in the Classroom
- Assessment of Student Performance
- Family Communication and Involvement
- Professional Development, Responsibility, and Communication
- Legal and Ethical Requirements in the State of Texas
The exam-taker will have two and ½ hours to complete the exam and the exam is scored on a scale of 100 - 300 with 240 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. The registration fee for the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC - 4 Exam is $82 and the individual may choose to take the exam in either a paper-based or computerized format. However, there are usually other exams and fees that are required in addition to this exam in order to become certified as an entry-level elementary school educator within the state of Texas.
Sample Study Notes
1. Discuss the major developmental skills of childhood.
When children start school (about age five), they begin moving away from the known world of home and family to the new world of academia. They learn to manipulate signs and symbols and how to make things and use tools. If feedback is constructive and instructive, they develop competence and increase self-esteem. However, if a child is consistently unsuccessful and doesn't learn to appreciate the learning process, he can feel inadequate and develop feelings of inferiority that can stay with him the rest of his life.
When children reach adolescence (about age eleven), they begin to explore new ideas, test established limits, and try to cope with and understand all the physical, hormonal and emotional changes they are experiencing. Adolescents try on different roles, personas and behaviors as they figure out which identity to embrace. It is a confusing time, but a necessary and critical step in developing a positive sense of self. Parents, family, friends, teachers, mentors and peers all have an influence, positive or negative, on an adolescent's choices.
2. Discuss self-regulated learning as a way to help students meet goals and objectives.
Studies have shown people remember 20-30% of what they learned in school for as long as ten years, and the greater mastery of a subject, the longer the retention time. Self-regulated learning is based on the concept that students who are active participants in the learning process absorb more information, retain the data longer and use it more effectively inside and outside the classroom.
Based on their age and abilities, these students set goals and devise strategies to reach those goals; analyze complex tasks and divide them into manageable parts; and monitor themselves on how well they understand the information presented to them. Self-regulated students work to achieve their goals in order to: increase their knowledge and skills (mastery); earn higher grades and demonstrate their abilities (performance approach); or avoid feeling like a failure (performance avoidance). Factors that contribute to their success or failure include interactions with adults in school and at home, relationships with peers academically and socially, their motivation to learn, and how much they believe in their ability to succeed.
3. Explain how diversity can promote a fair and effective learning environment.
One of the goals of education is to develop critical thinking skills. When students are taught using the values and traditions of many ethnic groups, it enables them to function more effectively in a multicultural society. Students need to understand the historical experiences of every cultural group in order to appreciate how past actions affect present circumstances. An educational environment that embraces and respects diversity explores and uses differences to teach universal concepts. Integrating information about and studying the impact of all cultures greatly enhances students' ability to understand, appreciate, and get along with different racial, ethnic and gender groups.
The adolescent's cultural identity plays a major role in the development of self-esteem. This can be a challenge because minority groups often carry negative stereotypes. This bias can cause problems when a student is a member of a certain cultural group. On the positive side, he may use negative expectations as an incentive to help change negative stereotypes. An involved, compassionate teacher can have an enormous influence on the choice he makes and the path he follows.
4. Discuss the impact cultural influences have on students' ability and readiness to learn.
Study after study has shown that a student's culture has a direct impact on learning. Since most educational standards are based on white, middle class cultural identification, students who don't fall into that demographic face challenges every day. It's not that these students are incapable of learning; they just judge what's important and how they express that importance differently. Sometimes it is difficult for them to understand and relate to curriculum content, teaching methods and social skills required because their culture does things differently, emphasizing different choices and rewarding different behavior. Children identify with their culture; they become what they know. If teachers ignore cultural differences, it causes communication issues, inhibits learning and increases the potential for behavior problems. As long as a child has no physical or mental health issues, he is capable of learning. He just needs the information presented and examples used to be relevant to his life experiences; that is the only way it makes sense to him.
5. List some ways to handle behavior problems.
Behavior management is an essential key to creating a positive learning environment. If students are misbehaving, they are not paying attention and they can't learn. It is important to establish written expectations, review them as needed and enforce them when necessary. Explain the rules clearly, consider the circumstances before taking action and apply the rules fairly and consistently. Look at situations from the students' perspective and try to be objective rather than judgmental. Address problems and issues immediately, so they don't escalate or reappear. A teacher should be willing to admit mistakes; it shows students it is okay to make a mistake as long as one admits it and learns from it. Collaborate with the students, ask for their opinions and offer choices. When students are active participants and believe they are heard, behavior issues are minimized. Teachers need to be consistent, patient with themselves and the students, keep situations in perspective, have a sense of humor and know when to ask for help.
6. Define and discuss the need for a discipline plan.
Most students respect rules if they are clear, if the consequences are understood and explained ahead of time, and if they are consistently and fairly enforced. Teachers have a responsibility to set parameters and enforce rules. Disruptions and interruptions need to be dealt with immediately to prevent an escalation of the situation. A discipline plan is a written description of acceptable behavior. It provides a framework in which to assess situations, address issues and make changes. It won't stop or prevent unacceptable behavior, but it does provide a means to identify and deal with it. The plan can be imposed by the teacher or developed with input from the students. Whatever method is used, the plan must be understood by students and parents. Critical elements include:
- RULES are written as positive statements.
- THE INCENTIVE PLAN is clearly defined, easy to understand, fair to everyone.
- POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES are explained and may vary with each rule.
- LIMIT-SETTING ACTS (taken before the next step is invoked) are established.
- NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES are hierarchal steps taken to address unacceptable behavior.
7. Discuss classroom communication methods.
Teachers need to remember that not all students are comfortable speaking in front of a group. Therefore, it is important to recognize that the goal is to foster an environment that encourages participation and no one is inhibited or prevented from participating because of teaching methods. Participation is predicated on teacher and student expectations, instructional strategies, and classroom atmosphere. It is important to develop class rules for discussions, provide frequent feedback, and ask for student input to ensure teaching practices are in line with student perceptions.
Calling on a student can be either motivating or intimidating, depending upon the student and the situation. When a question is asked, a problem posed, or a solution required, students need time to think about the information and formulate a response. A teacher should require different students to summarize the lesson, pose a prepared question from assigned material, or describe something they learned. Acknowledging every contribution encourages additional participation.
8. Discuss content standards, performance standards and technical quality as they relate to student assessment.
CONTENT STANDARDS define specific areas of knowledge students need to learn in English, math, science, social studies, music, art and drama; some include general concepts and interdisciplinary studies. Some reflect grade level and content; others combine grade levels and integrate content across disciplines.
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, as defined by The Goals 2000: Educate America Act, are "concrete examples and explicit definitions of what students have to know and be able to do to demonstrate proficiency in the skills and knowledge framed by content standards." They must be appropriate for the age, feasible to administer, and useful for evaluating progress.
TECHNICAL QUALITY criteria suggested by The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing:
- Cognitive Complexity tests problem-solving, critical thinking, reasoning ability.
- Content Quality demonstrates subject knowledge.
- Meaningfulness of tasks is clear.
- Appropriate Language is used.
- Transfer and Generalization indicates ability to complete similar tasks; results permit valid generalization about learning capabilities.
- Fairness of performance measurements and scoring.
- Reliability means data agrees to background knowledge.
- Consequences reflect desired effect on students, teachers, and educational system.
9. Discuss reasons for assessing children's academic growth.
Parents and teachers want and need to know how children are progressing in learning age-appropriate tasks and acquiring age-appropriate skills. If problems are diagnosed early, they can be addressed and, many times, corrected before they become serious roadblocks in development. Determining children's progress helps placement and promotion decisions, aids in the design of curriculum and other programs, and can lead to improvements in instructional methods and classroom management. Young children develop at different rates, so their performance is variable. They should be assessed on general age-appropriate knowledge gained and skills attained, how much progress they made learning to control their behavior, and their overall improvement in social interactions.
Children should be encouraged to evaluate their own progress. Most children this age are realistic about their progress and will ask for help when they need it. Adding any observations made during informal work and play situations helps minimize possible errors inherent in evaluating young children. Assessments should include a balance between standardized evaluations and specific progress made by individual students.
10. Explain ethical requirements for teachers in the state of Texas.
Historically, helping form the moral character of society's children was considered the duty of the older generation, particularly parents and teachers. Passing on moral values is much more effective if those values are lived, not just spoken. Educators who take that sacred trust seriously provide excellent instruction, communicate regularly with parents, and cooperate with colleagues and administrators. They also exhibit pride, professionalism and commitment to education. They are part of the solution, not the problem.
Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 247, Rule 247.2 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) is the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators. It is a comprehensive explanation of the "standard practices and ethical conduct" required by all teachers certified to teach in the state. It is composed of three parts: professional ethical conduct, practices, and performance; ethical conduct toward professional colleagues; and ethical conduct toward students. Each part has several specific requirements that must be honored. The State Board for Educator Certification is charged with ensuring that teachers "maintain the dignity of the profession, respect and obey the law, demonstrate personal integrity, and exemplify honesty."
Last Updated: 02/21/2013