TExES Speech 7 – 12 Exam is a certification examination that is designed to determine whether or not an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to be a speech teacher at the high school level in the Texas public school system. This exam assesses the individual’s communication skills and the individual’s knowledge of the fundamental concepts of a variety of different forms of communication and the teaching methods necessary to improve student’s communication skills. This exam is required in order to become a certified speech teacher within the state of Texas. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that are related to the following areas:
- Communication Processes (31%)
- Speaking and Listening in Different Contexts (38%)
- Speech Education (31%)
The exam-taker will have 5 hours to complete the exam and the exam will be scored on a scale of 100 – 300 with 240 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. The Speech 7 – 12 Exam is offered in a computer-based format and the registration fee for the exam is $131. However, there may be other exams and fees in addition to this exam in order to become certified as an entry-level speech teacher at the high school level within the state of Texas.
Sample Study Notes
1. Discuss the importance of social skills.
Social skills are the verbal and non-verbal tools used to interact and communicate with other people. These skills are integral to becoming an active and accepted member of any community. There are general skills needed to complete everyday transactions: asking sensible questions and provide logical answers, knowing how to read and write, and understanding simple directions. In smaller groups other skills may be needed: the ability to engage in interesting conversation, to present ideas to peers, to teach new concepts or to participate in discussions. Using body language appropriate to the situation and message, having the ability to resolve conflicts, and being diplomatic are examples of advanced social skills.
Social ineptitude is a lack of social skills, and the criteria are different in different cultures. Someone may have an avoidant personality disorder, be shy, or be too bold; the behavior manifests itself in different ways. In culturally-diverse classrooms, it is critical to create an atmosphere of acceptance so if a student does something inappropriate, the behavior can be quietly and gently corrected without causing embarrassment.
2. Discuss basic interpersonal communication skills and the cognitive demands made when communicating.
Basic interpersonal communication skills encompass two different and distinct styles of communication. Context-embedded communication uses visual and vocal props to help the student understand what is being said. Pictures and other objects graphically explain and demonstrate. The speaker’s gestures and tone of voice also help. Context-reduced communication doesn’t have visual cues, so the student must rely on competency and fluency to understand. Phone conversations don’t allow the listener to see the speaker, so visual aides are missing. Reading a note without pictorial guides may make it difficult for the student to understand the written words.
The three methods most commonly used to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) are grammar-based, communication-based and content-based. Grammar-based teaches students the rules: structure, function and vocabulary. Emphasis is on the why and how. Communication-based teaches how to use English in everyday, realistic situations. It emphasizes practical conversational usage. Content-based teaches grammar and vocabulary, and uses written assignments to practice these skills. It emphasizes an integrated approach to learning English.
3. Discuss the importance of speaking and hearing as it relates to language.
Speaking is used to convey thoughts, ideas and emotions. It helps develop bonds between individuals and enhances social interaction within and between groups. It is important to the preservation of a culture because it is used to explain, educate and pass on traditions. In early human history, before the written word was created, speaking was the only method available to ensure that civilization continued from one generation to the next.
Communication is a two-way process that involves a speaker and an active listener. These two parts must both work for thoughts, ideas and emotions to be conveyed. If no one hears what a person is saying, there is no possibility of communication.
After the written word came into use and books became available, speaking and hearing remained important; for the common man, reading has only been encouraged for the past 150 years.
4. Discuss what happens to speech development if a child has a hearing problem.
The ability to speak develops in the first few years. If a child has a hearing problem, speech will be delayed or disabled. He will have trouble communicating and difficulty learning the skills necessary to function independently. (If a child is profoundly hearing impaired, sign language and Braille are available to enable communication.) The earlier a hearing problem is recognized, diagnosed, and treated, the better the chances of avoiding life-long problems with speech and hearing.
Hearing impairment makes learning to read more difficult, which leads to difficulty with writing (both in terms of penmanship and the ability to express thoughts, ideas and emotions in written words). A person who hears and knows how to speak won’t lose his ability to read if he develops a hearing problem later in life. However, if a person never hears well enough to learn to speak, he rarely will be able to read proficiently.
5. Discuss some common communication barriers with adolescents.
Privacy, trust, and respect are huge issues with adolescents. Couple these real psychological needs with a fragile sense of self and a general distrust of adults and authority figures, and communication becomes tricky at best and impossible at worst. Adolescents have a great fear of revealing their vulnerabilities. If they share their thoughts, feelings, and activities, these potential peeks behind the armor of self-protection open them up to possible ridicule. If they tell parents or other adults what they are doing, questions are asked and truthful answers are expected. Since adolescents worry about disapproval and want to avoid punishment, it is easier and safer simply to not talk at all. Parents, teachers and other authority figures need to show a willingness to listen and create an open atmosphere of honesty and fairness if they expect to be able to communicate effectively with teen-agers.
6. Discuss the importance of linguistic knowledge.
Linguistic knowledge is defined as understanding the language system: how it works, what the words mean, and how to use the words properly. The system is composed of several parts. The definitions cited are from The American Heritage College Dictionary.
- PHONOLOGY: the sounds of the words and their proper pronunciation
- SEMANTICS: the meaning of the signs and symbols used to form the words
- MORPHOLOGY: the structure and form of the words, including inflection (changing pitch or tone of voice), derivation (adding prefixes and suffixes to change the meaning), and compounds (combining two or more words to form a different word)
- WORD MEANING: the idea or thought conveyed
- SYNTAX (grammatical structure): the rules governing the formation of sentences
In order for students to learn, integrate, and use the language system correctly, they must be given opportunities to read in many genres and from a variety of source material, hear speakers with different speech patterns, and practice writing in various contexts.
7. Discuss integrated language study.
Students need to understand that the language process is integral to learning and developing skills in all fields of study, not just English. Language is not static or one-dimensional. Students need to know that language varies depending upon the audience (parents, peers, professors). Language has structural rules, patterns, and conventions, and changes over time with continued use. It entails speaking, listening and writing. It requires the speaker, the listener and the writer to respond, interpret, assess and integrate.
In today’s information age, media and technology play important roles. Books, newspapers, radio and television, the Internet, CDs, DVDs and personal computers provide information. It is critical for students to be taught methods to dissect and discriminate the digital data received, and to scrutinize the sources from which it comes. The classroom should be a place where students feel safe to explore, ask questions, take risks, and develop effective listening, speaking, and writing skills.
8. List some ways a teacher can improve students’ listening and speaking skills.
The most effective way a teacher can improve students’ listening skills is to set a positive example by listening carefully to what each student says and by being attentive during class discussions. Explain how to listen. For example, teachers can paraphrase what someone in the class has said to make sure the meaning and intent is clear. Discuss why the message was clear or why it wasn’t. Set up different listening situations: one-on-one, small groups, formal speeches, oral reading, student presentations, and class discussions. Rate the effectiveness of each.
One way students learn good speaking skills is by listening to good speakers, so teachers should always use proper English when lecturing to the class, interacting with small groups, and during conversations with individual students. Assign a variety of speaking activities, such as speeches, skits, debates and story-telling. Have students take turns leading class discussions, reading out loud, and making formal presentations. Rate the effectiveness of each.
9. Discuss technical quality of assessments.
One issue that must be considered when developing academic assessments is the technical quality of the examination. The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) developed the following criteria to evaluate technical quality:
- COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY: requires problem-solving, critical thinking and reasoning ability
- CONTENT QUALITY: correct responses demonstrate knowledge of critical subject matter
- MEANINGFULNESS: students understand the value of the assessment and the tasks involved
- LANGUAGE APPROPRIATENESS: clear to the students and appropriate to the requested task
- TRANSFER AND GENERALIZATION: indicates ability to complete similar tasks, and the results permit valid generalization about learning capabilities
- FAIRNESS: performance measurements and scoring avoid factors irrelevant to school learning
- RELIABILITY: consistently represents data added to students’ background knowledge
- CONSEQUENCES: achieves desired effect on students, instructors and the educational system
10. Define articulation matrix and Bloom’s taxonomy and explain their relationship.
An articulation matrix is the set of relationships between activities and outcomes. It is a defined set of goals and the methods used to reach those goals. For example, in a graduation matrix, completing the required courses is the outcome and the lectures, homework assignments, projects, papers, tests and evaluations are the activities. Bloom’s taxonomy, which is a hierarchical classification system, is an articulation matrix that outlines six levels of cognitive learning. At each step students reach a predictable level of mastery.
- KNOWLEDGE LEVEL: ability to define terms.
- COMPREHENSION LEVEL: finish problems and explain answers.
- APPLICATION LEVEL: recognize problems and use new methods to solve them.
- ANALYSIS LEVEL: ability to explain why the process works.
- SYNTHESIS LEVEL: can use the process or part of it in new ways.
- EVALUATION LEVEL: create different ways to solve problems and use designated criteria; select the best method to obtain the correct solution.