TExES Special Education EC-12 Exam

The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) Special Education EC-12 (161) exam is used to evaluate and determine if a teacher candidate has the necessary skills required by the state of Texas to teach Special Education in grades EC through 12 in the public school system.

Test design

The Special Education exam is a five-hour computer-administered test (CAT) consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions.  20 questions are not scored and are used for validation and testing as possible questions for future examinations. Questions are developed in line with ten standards established by the Texas Education Agency and the U.S. Department of Education. The content is organized by domain with each domain further divided into required competencies.

Information may be presented utilizing various question format including graphs, tables, passages, maps, and video or audio clips. The computer delivery method uses technology to provide an interactive testing experience that is better at evaluating a candidate’s skill and knowledge. Throughout the exam, you are asked to show your ability to think critically, analyze, and make judgments about the information presented to determine the most appropriate response.

An on-screen calculator is provided for your use as needed.

The exam consists of four domains:

  • Domain I: Understanding individuals with disabilities and evaluating their needs – 13%

As a special education instructor, you apply your knowledge of the characteristics and needs of students with disabilities to provide formal and informal assessments and evaluations to make instructional decisions on student competencies.

  • Domain II: Promoting student learning and development – 33%

A special education instructor applies their knowledge and understanding to plan and manage instruction plans for individuals with disabilities and manages the teaching and learning environment, including the use of assisted technology.

In a variety of settings and situations, the special education teacher knows how to promote the students’ educational performance, classroom behavior, and social skills while maintaining a student-centered environment across the lifespan.

  • Domain III: Promoting student achievement in English Language Arts, Reading, and Mathematics – 33%

Using your skills as a special education instructor, you promote each student’s performance in English language arts, reading, and mathematics.

  • Domain IV: Foundations and professional roles and responsibilities – 20%

You understand the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education. In a team environment, you communicate and collaborate with colleagues and peers in a variety of professional settings. On a daily basis, you apply your knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of the profession and adhere to legal and ethical requirements.


Registration, scheduling the exam, and cost

Before you can register for the Special Education EC-12 exam, you need to establish an account with the testing provider, Pearson Education. This account is separate from your Texas Education Agency (TEA) account. Once your account is created, you can register for your exam.

The test is offered by appointment, year-round, on a first-come, first served basis at testing centers throughout Texas and nationwide. The registration fee for the exam is $116.00, and once you have registered, you have 170 days to schedule your examination. Most test centers have appointments Monday through Friday, with some centers offering Saturday appointments.

The registration fee can be paid by credit/debit card (MasterCard or Visa) only.

Test Day

After you register for the Special Education EC-12 exam, a confirmation is emailed to you. The confirmation provides information on your testing center, its location, and the time of your exam. You are asked to arrive at the testing center 15 minutes before your exam time. While your total exam period includes time for pre-test activities, the extra time will ensure you have the time you need to complete the paperwork and get situated at your testing station.

When you check in, you present two forms of identification, and your photograph will be taken. A palm scan may be taken as well. After you complete the pre-test activities, you are escorted to your testing station. You are provided a notebook and pencil/pen to use during the exam. Before your exam begins, you have the opportunity to take a short tutorial and become familiar with the testing platform. When you have completed the tutorial, your exam will begin.

If time remains when you are finished, use the time to check your answers. Once you are content with your responses, submit your exam for scoring.

Exam scoring and results

You receive one point for each correct answer. There is no penalty for incorrect responses. Your raw score is converted to a scaled score. The passing score for the Special Education EC-12 exam is 240.

An official report is emailed to you by 10:00 p.m., Central, on the test reporting date for your test window. Your report will indicate passed/not passed with information on your performance in major content areas provided. Your results are transmitted to TEA and your Educator Preparation Program (EPP), if applicable.

How Can I Prepare for the TExES Special Education EC-12 Exam?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023