THEA Test Skill Descriptions

The purpose of the test is to assess the reading, mathematics, and writing skills that entering freshman-level students should have if they are to perform effectively in undergraduate certificate or degree programs in Texas public colleges or universities. The skills listed below are eligible to be assessed by the THEA Test. Each skill is accompanied by a brief description of how the skill may be measured on the test.

THEA Reading Section

General Description

The Reading Section of the THEA Test consists of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions matched to about seven reading selections of 300 to 750 words each. The selections represent a variety of subject areas and are similar to reading materials (e.g., textbooks, manuals) that students are likely to encounter during their first year of college. Students will be asked to answer several multiple-choice questions about each reading selection.

Skill Descriptions

The Reading Section of the THEA Test is based on the skills listed below. Each skill is accompanied by a description of the content that may be included on the test.

Skill: Determine the meaning of words and phrases.

Includes using the context of a passage to determine the meaning of words with multiple meanings, unfamiliar and uncommon words and phrases, and figurative expressions.

Skill: Understand the main idea and supporting details in written material.

Includes identifying explicit and implicit main ideas and recognizing ideas that support, illustrate, or elaborate the main idea of a passage.

Skill: Identify a writer's purpose, point of view, and intended meaning.

Includes recognizing 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 on an audience of a writer's choice of words; and using the content, word choice, and phrasing of a passage to determine a writer's opinion or point of view.

Skill: Analyze the relationship among ideas in written material.

Includes identifying sequence of events or steps, identifying cause-effect relationships, analyzing relationships between ideas in opposition, identifying solutions to problems, and drawing conclusions inductively and deductively from information stated or implied in a passage.

Skill: Use critical reasoning skills to evaluate written material.

Includes evaluating the stated or implied assumptions on which the validity of a writer's argument depends; judging the relevance or importance of facts, examples, or graphic data to a writer's argument; evaluating the logic of a writer's argument; evaluating the validity of analogies; distinguishing between fact and opinion; and assessing the credibility or objectivity of a writer or source of written material.

Skill: Apply study skills to reading assignments.

Includes organizing and summarizing information for study purposes; following written instructions or directions; and interpreting information presented in charts, graphs, or tables.

THEA Mathematics Section

General Description

The Mathematics Section of the THEA Test consists of approximately 50 multiple-choice questions covering four general areas: fundamental mathematics, algebra, geometry, and problem solving. The test questions focus on a student's ability to perform mathematical operations and solve problems. Appropriate formulas will be provided to help students perform some of the calculations required by the test questions.

You will have access to an on-screen calculator during the Mathematics Section of the THEA IBT. See "The Test Session" for more information.

Skill Descriptions

The Mathematics Section of the THEA Test is based on the skills listed below. Each skill is accompanied by a description of the content that may be included on the test.

Skill: Solve word problems involving integers, fractions, decimals, and units of measurement.

Includes solving word problems involving integers, fractions, decimals (including percents), ratios and proportions, and units of measurement and conversions (including scientific notation).

Skill: Solve problems involving data interpretation and analysis.

Includes interpreting information from line graphs, bar graphs, pictographs, and pie charts; interpreting data from tables; recognizing appropriate graphic representations of various data; analyzing and interpreting data using measures of central tendency (mean, median, and mode); and analyzing and interpreting data using the concept of variability.

Skill: Graph numbers or number relationships.

Includes identifying the graph of a given equation or a given inequality, finding the slope and/or intercepts of a given line, finding the equation of a line, and recognizing and interpreting information from the graph of a function (including direct and inverse variation).

Skill: Solve one- and two-variable equations.

Includes finding the value of the unknown in a given one-variable equation, expressing one variable in terms of a second variable in two-variable equations, and solving systems of two equations in two variables (including graphical solutions).

Skill: Solve word problems involving one and two variables.

Includes identifying the algebraic equivalent of a stated relationship and solving word problems involving one and two unknowns.

Skill: Understand operations with algebraic expressions and functional notation.

Includes factoring quadratics and polynomials; performing operations on and simplifying polynomial expressions, rational expressions, and radical expressions; and applying principles of functions and functional notation.

Skill: Solve problems involving quadratic equations.

Includes graphing quadratic functions and quadratic inequalities; solving quadratic equations using factoring, completing the square, or the quadratic formula; and solving problems involving quadratic models.

Skill: Solve problems involving geometric figures.

Includes solving problems involving two-dimensional geometric figures (e.g., perimeter and area problems) and three-dimensional geometric figures (e.g., volume and surface area problems) and solving problems using the Pythagorean theorem.

Skill: Solve problems involving geometric concepts.

Includes solving problems using principles of similarity, congruence, parallelism, and perpendicularity.

Skill: Apply reasoning skills.

Includes drawing conclusions using inductive and deductive reasoning.

Skill: Solve applied problems involving a combination of mathematical skills.

Includes applying combinations of mathematical skills to solve problems and to solve a series of related problems.

THEA Writing Section

General Description

The Writing Section of the THEA Test consists of two subsections: a writing sample subsection and a multiple-choice subsection. The writing sample subsection requires students to demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively in writing on a given topic. The multiple-choice subsection includes approximately 40 questions assessing students' ability to recognize various elements of effective writing. You are scored first on the writing sample subsection. If your score on the writing sample subsection is neither a clear pass nor a clear fail, the multiple-choice subsection contributes to your passing status. See "How to Read Your Score Report" for a description of how the writing sample subsection is scored.

Description: Writing Sample Subsection

The writing sample subsection of the THEA Test consists of one writing assignment. Students are asked to prepare a MULTIPLE-PARAGRAPH writing sample of about 300–600 words on an assigned topic. Students' writing samples are scored on the basis of how effectively they communicate a whole message to a specified audience for a stated purpose. Students will be assessed on their ability to express, organize, and support opinions and ideas, rather than on the position they express. The following characteristics may be considered in scoring the writing samples:

Your written response should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

Skill Descriptions: Multiple-Choice Subsection

The multiple-choice subsection of the Writing Section of the test is based on the skills listed below. Each skill is accompanied by a description of the content that may be included on the test.

Please note that the term standard as it appears below refers to language use that conforms to the conventions of edited American English.

Skill: Recognize purpose and audience.

Includes recognizing writing that is appropriate for a given purpose and recognizing writing that is appropriate for a given audience and occasion.

Skill: Recognize unity, focus, and development in writing.

Includes recognizing unnecessary shifts in point of view or distracting details that impair the development of the main idea in a piece of writing, recognizing revisions that improve the unity and focus of a piece of writing, and recognizing examples of well-developed writing.

Skill: Recognize effective organization in writing.

Includes recognizing methods of paragraph organization and the appropriate use of transitional words or phrases to convey text structure and reorganizing sentences to improve cohesion and the effective sequence of ideas.

Skill: Recognize effective sentences.

Includes recognizing ineffective repetition and inefficiency in sentence construction; identifying sentence fragments and run-on sentences; identifying standard subject-verb agreement; identifying standard placement of modifiers, parallel structure, and use of negatives in sentence formation; and recognizing imprecise and inappropriate word choice.

Skill: Recognize edited American English usage.

Includes recognizing the standard use of verb forms and pronouns; recognizing the standard formation and use of adverbs, adjectives, comparatives, superlatives, and plural and possessive forms of nouns; and recognizing standard punctuation.