of Knowledge and Skills
Te x a s E d u c a t i o n A g e n c y Student Assessment Division
Copyright 2004, Texas Education Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction of all or portions of this work is prohibited without express
written permission from Texas Education Agency.
The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is a completely reconceived testing program.
It assesses more of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) than the Texas Assessment of
Academic Skills (TAAS) did and asks questions in more authentic ways. TAKS has been developed
to better reflect good instructional practice and more accurately measure student learning. We hope
that every teacher will see the connection between what we test on this new state assessment and
what our students should know and be able to do to be academically successful. To provide you with
a better understanding of TAKS and its connection to the TEKS and to classroom teaching, the Texas
Education Agency (TEA) has developed this newly revised edition of the TAKS information booklet.
The information booklets were originally published in January 2002, before the first TAKS field test.
Now, after several years of field tests and live administrations, we are able to provide an even more
comprehensive picture of the testing program. We have clarified some of the existing material and, in
some cases, provided new sample items and/or more explanations of certain item types. However, it
is important to remember that these clarifications do not signify any change in the TAKS testing
program. The objectives and TEKS student expectations assessed on TAKS remain unchanged. We
hope this revised version of the TAKS information booklet will serve as a user-friendly resource to
help you understand that the best preparation for TAKS is a coherent, TEKS-based instructional
program that provides the level of support necessary for all students to reach their academic potential.
The development of the TAKS program included extensive public scrutiny and input from Texas
teachers, administrators, parents, members of the business community, professional education
organizations, faculty and staff at Texas colleges and universities, and national content-area experts.
The agency involved as many stakeholders as possible because we believed that the development of
TAKS was a responsibility that had to be shared if this new assessment was to be an equitable and
accurate measure of learning for all Texas public school students.
The three-year test-development process, which began in summer 1999, included a series of carefully
conceived activities. First, committees of Texas educators identified those TEKS student expectations
for each grade and subject area assessed that should be tested on a statewide assessment. Then a
committee of TEA Student Assessment and Curriculum staff incorporated these selected TEKS
student expectations, along with draft objectives for each subject area, into eleventh grade exit level
surveys. These surveys were sent to Texas educators at the middle school and secondary levels for
their review. Based on input we received from more than 27,000 survey responses, we developed a
second draft of the objectives and TEKS student expectations. In addition, we used this input during
the development of draft objectives and student expectations for grades 3 through 10 to ensure that
the TAKS program, like the TEKS curriculum, would be vertically aligned. This vertical alignment
was a critical step in ensuring that the TAKS tests would become more rigorous as students moved
from grade to grade. For example, the fifth grade tests would be more rigorous than the fourth grade
tests, which would be more rigorous than the third grade tests. Texas educators felt that this increase
in rigor from grade to grade was both appropriate and logical since each subject-area test was closely
aligned to the TEKS curriculum at that grade level.
Grade 6 Reading TAKS Information Booklet 1
In fall 2000 TEA distributed the second draft of the objectives and TEKS student expectations for
eleventh grade exit level and the first draft of the objectives and student expectations for grades 3
through 10 for review at the campus level. These documents were also posted on the Student
Assessment Division's website to encourage input from the public. Each draft document focused on
two central issues: first, whether the objectives included in the draft were essential to measure on a
statewide assessment; and, second, whether students would have received enough instruction on the
TEKS student expectations included under each objective to be adequately prepared to demonstrate
mastery of that objective in the spring of the school year. We received more than 57,000 campus-
consensus survey responses. We used these responses, along with feedback from national experts, to
finalize the TAKS objectives and student expectations. Because the state assessment was necessarily
limited to a "snapshot" of student performance, broad-based input was important to ensure that TAKS
assessed the parts of the TEKS curriculum most critical to students' academic learning and progress.
In the thorough test-development process that we use for the TAKS program, we rely on educator
input to develop items that are appropriate and valid measures of the objectives and TEKS student
expectations the items are designed to assess. This input includes an annual educator review and
revision of all proposed test items before field testing and a second annual educator review of data
and items after field testing. In addition, each year panels of recognized experts in the fields of
English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies meet in Austin to critically
review the content of each of the high school level TAKS assessments to be administered that year.
This critical review is referred to as a content validation review and is one of the final activities in a
series of quality-control steps to ensure that each high school test is of the highest quality possible. A
content validation review is considered necessary at the high school grades (9, 10, and 11) because of
the advanced level of content being assessed.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TAKS TESTS
TAKS is divided into test objectives. It is important to remember that the objective statements are not
found in the TEKS curriculum. Rather, the objectives are "umbrella statements" that serve as
headings under which student expectations from the TEKS can be meaningfully grouped. Objectives
are broad statements that "break up" knowledge and skills to be tested into meaningful subsets around
which a test can be organized into reporting units. These reporting units help campuses, districts,
parents, and the general public understand the performance of our students and schools. Test
objectives are not intended to be "translations" or "rewordings" of the TEKS. Instead, the objectives
are designed to be identical across grade levels rather than grade specific. Generally, the objectives
are the same for third grade through eighth grade (an elementary/middle school system) and for ninth
grade through eleventh grade (a high school system). In addition, certain TEKS student expectations
may logically be grouped under more than one test objective; however, it is important for you to
understand that this is not meaningless repetition--sometimes the organization of the objectives
requires such groupings. For example, on the TAKS writing tests for fourth and seventh grades, some
of the same student expectations addressing the conventions of standard English usage are listed
under both Objective 2 and Objective 6. In this case, the expectations listed under Objective 2 are
assessed through the overall strength of a student's use of language conventions on the written
composition portion of the test; these same expectations under Objective 6 are assessed through
multiple-choice items attached to a series of revising and editing passages.
Grade 6 Reading TAKS Information Booklet 2
ORGANIZATION OF THE INFORMATION BOOKLETS
The purpose of the information booklets is to help Texas educators, students, parents, and other
stakeholders understand more about the TAKS tests. These booklets are not intended to replace the
teaching of the TEKS curriculum, provide the basis for the isolated teaching of skills in the form of
narrow test preparation, or serve as the single information source about every aspect of the TAKS
program. However, we believe that the booklets provide helpful explanations as well as show enough
sample items, reading and writing selections, and prompts to give educators a good sense of the
Each grade within a subject area is presented as a separate booklet. However, it is still important that
teachers review the information booklets for the grades both above and below the grade they teach.
For example, eighth grade reading teachers who review the seventh grade information booklet as well
as the ninth grade information booklet are able to develop a broader perspective of the reading
assessment than if they study only the eighth grade information booklet.
The information booklets for each subject area contain some information unique to that subject.
However, all booklets include the following information, which we consider critical for every
subject-area TAKS test:
an overview of the subject within the context of TAKS
a blueprint of the test--the number of items under each objective and the number of items on
the test as a whole
information that clarifies how to read the TEKS
the reasons each objective and its TEKS student expectations are critical to student learning
the objectives and TEKS student expectations that will be included on TAKS
additional information about each objective that helps educators understand how it is
assessed on TAKS
sample items that show some of the ways objectives are assessed
Grade 6 Reading TAKS Information Booklet 3
The purposes for reading are as varied and diverse as the people who read, but the ability to read
effectively is essential for all students in the increasingly complex world in which we live. Reading is
one of the most important foundations for learning, not only in English language arts but also in other
content areas, such as science, social studies, and mathematics. Students who can understand what
they read and who can make connections between what they read and what they already know will
more likely be successful--in the classroom, on the test, and in the real world. Strong reading skills
are necessary for academic achievement, for the fundamental tasks of daily living, and for personal
enjoyment and enrichment.
The TAKS reading assessments evaluate a subset of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills
(TEKS), the state-mandated curriculum. This curriculum is specifically designed to help students
make progress in reading by emphasizing the knowledge and skills most critical for student learning.
Because the TAKS reading tests are closely aligned with the TEKS, students who effectively learn the
TEKS will become proficient readers who are able to perform successfully on the test without
unnecessary emphasis on test preparation. A system of support has been designed to ensure that all
students master the TEKS. The Student Success Initiative (SSI) requires that students meet the
standard on TAKS to be eligible for promotion to the next grade level as specified below:
the reading test at grade 3, beginning in the 20022003 school year;
the reading and mathematics tests at grade 5, beginning in the 20042005 school year; and
the reading and mathematics tests at grade 8, beginning in the 20072008 school year.
To prepare students for the SSI requirements and to promote vertical alignment, it is essential that
teachers collaborate and coordinate across grade levels.
The TEKS student expectations eligible for testing on the third through eighth grade TAKS reading
assessments are grouped under four TAKS objectives:
Objective 1: The student will demonstrate a basic understanding of culturally diverse written texts.
Objective 2: The student will apply knowledge of literary elements to understand culturally diverse
Objective 3: The student will use a variety of strategies to analyze culturally diverse written texts.
Objective 4: The student will apply critical-thinking skills to analyze culturally diverse written
These objectives are consistent from third grade through eighth grade, and the TEKS student
expectations assessed under each TAKS objective are vertically aligned, meaning that they build
logically from one grade level to the next. An example of this logical movement follows.
Grade 6 Reading TAKS Information Booklet 4
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