Well, I know you’ve been waiting your whole life for a post on your favorite topic: the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Look no further. Here it is, folks. Let’s take a gander at some information about the TEKS, and you can also take advantage of downloading some freebies today! We are offering editable spreadsheets with the ELAR (English/Language Arts/Reading) TEKS and coordinating “I Can” statements for grades K-5.
What Are the TEKS?
In short, the TEKS are the curricular standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education. These standards outline what students should know and be able to do in each content area for each grade level. State-mandated tests are aligned with these standards to measure student achievement and skills acquisition.
Are the TEKS Reviewed?
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) reviews and revises the TEKS periodically, and the full review process can be found on the Texas Education Agency’s website. For subject-area reviews, the board will determine whether or not the standards should be fully revised or streamlined. The SBOE forms work groups composed of various constituents (for example, educators, parents, industry representatives, etc.) nominated by the SBOE. These work groups will make revisions and recommendations to the board. Anyone can apply to be a part of a work group during the review and revision process, and nominations for work group members are made throughout the process. This is because there are multiple work groups that work separately on tasks at different points in the process.
A full revision of the TEKS will lead to either modifying the standards or developing new standards. When the TEKS go through a full revision, instructional materials will usually be aligned to the new standards as called for by the SBOE. During a full revision, the TEKS may go through significant changes or minor modifications based on the determined needs of that particular subject area. According to TEA, the purpose of a full revision is to “ensure the standards are rigorous, reflect current topics and up-to-date research, and address the essential knowledge and skills at the appropriate grade levels.”
When the TEKS are streamlined, the required content within the standards is reduced. Reducing content will consequently reduce the requirements of student mastery during a school year and for state-mandated testing. According to TEA, the purpose of streamlining the TEKS “is to ensure the standards are focused on only the knowledge and skills that are essential in each course/grade level.” The SBOE does not require coordinating instructional materials to be provided for streamlined TEKS since this process focuses on reduction rather than augmentation.
About the ELAR TEKS
In 2017, the SBOE adopted revised K-8 ELAR TEKS, which were implemented in the 2019-2020 school year. Here are the top ten things to know (from the ELAR TEKS introduction):
- There are four domains of language within the ELAR TEKS, which are reading, writing, speaking, and listening. And a big emphasis is placed on the integration and interconnectedness of these four domains.
- There are now seven strands instead of five (as there were in the previous ELAR TEKS): 1) developing and sustaining foundational language, 2) comprehension, 3) response, 4) multiple texts, 5) author’s purpose and craft, 6) composition, and 7) inquiry and research.
- The seven strands are highly focused on oral language proficiency for the development of speaking and understanding, authentic reading, and reflective writing.
- It is clearly stated within the TEKS that each strand is of equal value, although some strands may require more instructional time than others. The strands can be presented in any order but they should be integrated throughout the instructional year.
- The ELAR TEKS take a spiraling, recursive approach to strands. Students will revisit certain standards from previous years in more depth later in order to build complexity, increase critical thinking, and adapt to the changing nature of language and literacy.
- The goal is for students to become “self-directed, critical learners who work collaboratively while continuously using metacognitive skills.”
- There should be daily opportunities for students to read, write, engage in academic discussions, and be read to.
- English Language Learners (ELLs) are expected to meet standards, and their language development affects their ability to demonstrate mastery of skills in English. Therefore, they should be provided scaffolding for text comprehension and linguistic accommodations to help ensure mastery.
- ELLs should also be encouraged to use their first language to help them develop and build English vocabulary. Making connections between a native language and English is important to English language development (affective, cognitive, and academic).
- Within the standards, “such as” is used to illustrate examples, whereas “including” alludes to content that must be mastered.
Helpful TEKS Documents
Freebies from TCEA
Whew! That was a lot. Let’s get to the freebies. Below, you will find links to editable spreadsheets for the K-5 ELAR TEKS. Within these spreadsheets, you will find a tab for the TEKS and a second tab for “I Can” statements based on the TEKS. Feel free to make a copy of the spreadsheets and use them in whatever ways would best benefit you. Is there something else TEKS-related that would be helpful? If so, let me know in the comments or send me an email ([email protected]). I’d love to hear from you!