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T exas H igher E ducation A ssessment. Blueprint for Test Success Presentation provided by UTPB West Texas Literacy Center an HSI funded program. HSI is a federally funded program granted by the Department of Education Title V programs. Developed by: Ana Miller, M.A.. Ed., Reading Specialist.

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t exas h igher e ducation a ssessment

Texas Higher Education Assessment

Blueprint for Test Success

Presentation provided by UTPB West Texas Literacy Center an HSI funded program. HSI is a federally funded program granted by the Department of Education Title V programs.

Developed by: Ana Miller, M.A.. Ed., Reading Specialist

  • Purpose -To assess reading, mathematics, and writing skills that entering freshmen-level students should have if they are to perform effectively in undergraduate certificate or degree programs in Texas public colleges and universities.
  • Developed in place of TASP
  • Determines placement in developmental courses
who should take the thea
  • Students entering a Texas public college or university before enrolling in any college-level coursework
  • Texas high school students planning to enroll in college courses that count for both high school and college credit under dual credit/concurrent enrollment programs
  • Students seeking admission to an Educator Preparation program
thea format three sections
THEA FORMAT- Three Sections
  • Reading
    • Approximately 40 multiple-choice questions
    • About seven reading passages of 300-750 words each
    • Covers six reading components
    • Passing standard scale – 230/260 for Education Program
  • Math
    • Approximately 50 multiple-choice questions
    • Covers four math components
    • Passing standard score - 230
  • Writing
    • Approximately 40 multiple-choice questions and a 300-600 word essay
    • Covers two writing components
    • Passing standard score – 220 with a score of 6 or above on writing sample
reading selection descriptions
  • General Description
    • Represent a variety of subject areas
    • Similar to first year college text
    • Several questions about each reading selection
skill description 1
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases
    • Use of context clues to determine meaning of words and phrases that
      • Are multiple meaning words – words with more than one meaning
      • Are unfamiliar and uncommon – such as content area terms
      • Contain figurative expressions – language that is not meant to understood word for word
      • Contain affixes – prefixes and suffixes
figurative language
  • Similes – Comparing unlike people, objects, or ideas, using like or as
    • Ex.- Our classroom felt like a freezer.

The runner was as nimble as a deer.

  • Metaphors –Comparing unlike people, objects, or ideas without using like or as
    • Ex. – The bride’s eyes were diamonds as she glided

down the aisle.

figurative language8
  • Hyperbole – An exaggeration
    • Ex. – We had to wait in line forever.
  • Personification – Giving an animal or object human characteristics
    • Ex. – The moon quietly peeked into the window to watch the sleeping children.
skill description 2
  • Understand the main idea and supporting details in text
    • Identifying explicit (stated) and implicit (implied) main ideas
    • Recognizing ideas that support, illustrate, or elaborate the main idea
skill description 3
  • Identify a writer’s purpose, point of view, and intended meaning
    • Recognize a writer’s expressed or implied purpose for writing
    • Evaluating the appropriateness of written material for a specific purpose or audience
    • Recognizing the likely effect that a writer’s choice of words would have on an audience
    • Using the content, word choice, and phrasing of a passage to determine a writer’s opinion or point of view
skill description 4
  • Analyze the relationship among ideas in text
    • Identify sequence of events or steps in a process
    • Identify cause-effect relationships
    • Compare and contrast – Analyze similarities and differences
    • Identify problem and solution relationships
    • Draw conclusions inductively and deductively from stated or implied information
inductive reasoning
Specific observations to broader generalizations and theories


Conclusion or Theory

Therefore, Socrates ate fish.


Most Greeks eat fish.

Observation, Pattern

Socrates was Greek.


4. Develop general conclusions or theory

3. Formulate tentative


2. Detect patterns

1. Specific observation

Inductive Reasoning
deductive reasoning
More general to the more specific


All men are mortal.

Socrates was a man.

Therefore, Socrates was


“Top down” approach

1. Formulate a theory

2. Make a hypothesis

3. Observation

4. Confirmation based on evidence

Deductive Reasoning
skill description 5
  • Use critical reasoning skills to evaluate text
    • Evaluate the validity of the writer’s stated and implied assumptions and arguments
    • Judge the relevance or importance of facts, examples, or graphic data presented to support the writer’s argument
    • Evaluate the logic of the writer’s argument
    • Distinguish between facts and opinions
    • Assess the writer’s or a source’s credibility or objectivity
    • Evaluate the validity of analogies
  • A statement in which two pairs of things are compared, because they have something in common.

Example: slice : bread :: log : ______

Read slice is to bread as log is to _____

  • The key to solving an analogy is to determine the relationship between the complete pair.
  • The same relationship should exist between the incomplete pair.
most common types of analogies
Most Common Types of Analogies
  • Antonyms – insipid : flavorful :: fictitious: ___
  • Synonyms - succumb: expire :: valiant : ____
  • Part to Whole – arm : ____ :: brick : wall
  • Item to Category – milk : _______ ::

professor: faculty

  • Descriptive – candle : wax :: dress :: _____
  • There are other types of analogies – the key is to determine the relationship of the complete pair.
skill description 6
  • Apply study skills to reading assignments
    • Organize and summarize information for study purposes
    • Follow written instructions or directions
    • Interpret information presented in charts, graphs, or tables
test taking preparation
  • Gain access to a THEA study guide.
  • Take the diagnostic test.
  • Note your weak areas.
  • Start reviewing for the test well ahead (6-8 weeks) of your scheduled test date, depending on your diagnostic test results.
  • This reviewing is intended to refresh your memory of the skills you have already been exposed to over the years.
  • Avoid cramming – Cramming two or three days before the exam will probably not help your test performance. The tested skills represent those that you have learned over many years.
general test taking strategies
  • Follow directions carefully.
  • Raise your hand and ask questions if you do not understand any part of the directions.
  • Pace yourself – you have five hours.
    • You may take all three sections during one test administration –approximately 135 multiple-choice questions and one writing sample.
    • Most examinees should set aside at least one hour to complete the writing sample.
    • You may take one, two, or three sections of the test at one test administration.
general test taking strategies20
  • Make a mark in your test booklet by the questions you skip so that you can return to them later.
  • Be sure to leave a blank space on your answer document for any questions that you skipped.
  • Read all test questions and choices carefully. Select the most reasonable answer.
  • If you change an answer, erase your previous answer completely.
  • Do not make any stray marks on your answer document.
general test taking strategies21
  • Make notes and marks in your test booklet.
  • Guess wisely – Eliminate responses that are clearly incorrect to increase your odds of selecting the correct response.
  • Use any time left at the end of the session to check the accuracy of your answers and your answer document.
  • All answers and writing sample must be written in your answer document.
four step approach
  • Step 1 - Preview
    • Take about 30 seconds to preview the passage to provide a purpose for reading.
      • Read the first sentence of each paragraph, the concluding sentence of the passage, and the questions, but NOT the choices.
four step approach23
  • Step 2 – Read Actively
    • Be an engaged reader
      • Underline important words, topic sentences, main ideas, and words denoting the tone (author’s attitude) of the passage.
      • Make notes in the margin of the passages to remind you of key points.
      • As you read ask yourself:
        • What is the overall goal or objective of the writing?
        • Is the writer trying to persuade by proving or using facts to make a case? (P)
        • Is the writer trying only to inform and enlighten me about an idea or event? (I)
        • Is the writer trying to amuse or entertain? (E)

Circle signal words or phrases such as although, on the other hand, but, or, except, however, which can point out comparisons.

Underline definitions of words when they are defined within the text.

four step approach24
  • Step 3 – Review the Passage
    • Take 30 seconds to look over the main ideas and topic sentences that you have marked and the key words and phrases to place them in your recall memory.
  • Step 4 – Answer the Questions
    • In step 2 you gathered information from the passage to answer questions dealing with the main idea, purpose, supporting details , facts vs. opinions, text organization, and summarization. Now use this information to help you answer the questions.
math skills
  • Fundamental Mathematics
    • Solve word problems involving integers, fractions, decimals, percents, ratios and proportions, and units of measurement and conversions (including scientific notation)
    • Solve problems involving data interpretation and analysis
math skills26
  • Algebra
    • Graph numbers or number relationships
    • Solve one and two variable equations
    • Solve word problems
    • Solve quadratic equations
    • Solve quadratic models
    • Solve operations with algebraic expressions and functional notation
math skills27
  • Geometry
    • Solve problems with geometric figures
    • Solve problems with geometric concepts
  • Problem Solving
    • Apply reasoning skills
    • Solve applied problems with a combination of skills
writing skills
  • Elements of Composition
    • Recognize purpose and audience
    • Recognize unity, focus, and development
    • Recognize effective organization
  • Sentence Structure, Usage, and Mechanics
  • Writing Sample
  • Prepare well in advance
  • Write a study plan
  • Choose a place to study
  • Select a time for studying
  • Use a study guide
  • Concentrate when you study
  • Take notes
  • Plan to practice
  • Plan to review
  • Don’t make excuses
  • Choose a realistic test date
  • Get enough sleep 2-3 days before the exam
  • Be sure you’ve eaten before the exam
  • McCune, S., Wright, N., Elder, J. (2004). How to prepare for the THEA. NY: Barron’s.
  • Trochim, W. K. (2006). Research methods knowledge base.http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/dedind.php
  • REA The Best Test Preparation for the THEA (2004). New Jersey: REA.
  • THEA Faculty Manual. NES, Inc. (2006).