What to Expect in THEA
The THEA tests or the Texas Higher Education Assessment tests is a suite of tests meant to measure the academic readiness of the students who are enrolling themselves in undergraduate courses in colleges in the state of Texas. It has been conceptualized and designed according to certain Texas state legislations and its content is periodically reviewed by a committee of qualified educators. This article delves into the primary characteristics of these tests.
The Primary Aspects of the THEA Tests:
The following candidates are usually required to take the THEA tests:
Freshman candidates enrolling in an undergraduate degree course at a Texas university or college.
Students who fall under the ambit of the dual-credit program.
Students who are applying for a Texas educator prep course.
Teachers who are renewing their educator certifications.
However, it is important that the students and other candidates check with their respective colleges (schools or institutions) if they are indeed required to take these tests because some colleges/institutions waive these tests for their students.
- Test Format
The THEA tests are available in 2 formats; namely, THEA Quick test and internet-based THEA test (IBT). The structure and contents of both these formats are exactly similar, except that the Quick test is a 5-hour paper-based test, while the IBT is a 4-hour computer-based test. Unlike other educational assessments, not everyone is eligible to take the IBT. Since the IBT format of the THEA test is administered in selected universities and colleges, only the students applying to those institutions may be eligible to take it. It is the onus of the students to check with the IBT institutions on their eligibility criteria. On the other hand, all candidates are eligible to take the THEA Quick test.
- Test Structure and Question Types
The THEA tests consist of 3 test-sections, which are described as follows:
Reading Test: This test section includes 7 reading passages, based on which around 40 questions (multiple-choice) are posed. These questions are designed to test whether or not the candidates possess the necessary reading skills to comprehend reading materials at the college-level.
Writing Test: This test section is further divided into 2 sub-components; namely, Essay Writing and Multiple-Choice section. In the Essay section, the candidates must present a coherent written-response (min 300 words & max 60 words) on the given essay prompt. Here, the candidates must demonstrate their ability to write a rational, well-structured, grammatically correct and engaging essay. On the other hand, the multiple-choice questions section includes about 40 questions that are designed to evaluate the capability of the candidates in identifying the aspects of effectual writing, such as organization and transition of ideas, semantics, proper usage of the language etc.
Mathematics Test: This test section consists of 50 questions (multiple-choice) in 4 subject-areas; namely, basic mathematics, geometry, algebra and fundamental problem solving techniques. In some subject-areas, the relevant formulae may also be presented to the candidates along with the questions.
- The Scoring Process
Each section of the THEA tests is scored separately in a common range of 100-300. The minimum-passing score for the Writing test section is 220; whereas, the minimum-passing score for the rest of the sections is 230. To pass the test in entirety, the candidates must pass every section. In both the Quick and IBT tests, the scores of the multiple-choice test sections are calculated electronically. However, certain aspects of the scoring methodology and reporting process differ between these 2 formats. These differences are elaborated as follows:
In the IBT format, the essays are scored electronically (provided they are not too short or completely irrelevant). This essay score is then combined with the score from the Writing multiple-choice section to arrive at a combined Writing score. The score reports are available immediately to the candidates at the end of the test. If the candidates fail in one or more sections of the THEA tests, they can re-take the tests for those after 15 days.
In the Quick test format, the essays are scored manually by 2 experienced scorers. The scores awarded by these 2 scorers are combined into a total Essay score in the range of 2-8. If you receive a score of 6 or above; then whatever is your score in the multiple-choice Writing questions, you will still straightaway pass the Writing test. However, if you score 5 below 6, your scores in the Writing multiple-choice section will be calculated and weighed to determine if you can still pass the Writing test as a whole. To pass the multiple-choice Writing section, you must answer at-least 28-29 questions correctly. Finally; if you score below 5, you will automatically fail the Writing test and the multiple-choice Writing questions will not be evaluated. The score reports are mailed to the individual home addresses of the candidates (provided during the registration process). If the candidates fail in one or more test sections, they may re-take those sections after 30 days. The candidates may also request for additional score transcripts and a re-evaluation of their scores in the Math and Reading sections.
The score reports are also sent to a list of universities/colleges that are identified by the candidates during the test registration process.
Thus far, we have reviewed certain primary aspects of the THEA tests. For additional details on test registration, test centers and dates, test preparation resources etc., you may visit the official THEA website - www.thea.nesinc.com.
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