Program Overview

Since 1989, the Texas Higher Education Assessment® (THEA®) has provided Texas students and institutions of higher education with a flexible, fair, and accurate testing and score-reporting system. Its purpose 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 THEA Test was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, under Senate Bill 286, Texas Education Code, Section 51.3062: Texas Success Initiative, for use by Texas institutions of higher education as an assessment instrument to evaluate incoming students. It provides the diagnostic data required by this legislation; its content is the same as that of the former TASP Test.

The THEA Test is the only assessment developed specifically to evaluate the readiness of students for college-level coursework in Texas. It was developed by the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson through a rigorous review and approval process supported by skilled and experienced Texas educators. All THEA Test questions have been reviewed by committees of Texas educators to ensure content accuracy and to prevent potential bias.

The THEA Test is offered in the following testing formats:

Test Description

The THEA Test consists of three sections: Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. Refer to the table below for descriptions of these sections. Each section of the THEA Test is designed to measure a student's academic skill against an established standard of competence. A student's score on each section of the test is based on his or her performance in relation to the skills being tested. Scores are not related to how well other students have performed on the same section.

Section Description
Reading Consists of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions matched to about seven reading selections of 300 to 750 words each.
The reading 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.
Mathematics 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. Note that for the THEA Quick Test you may use a four-function (+, –, ×, ÷) nonprogrammable calculator (with square root [√ ] and percent [%] keys). If you take the THEA Internet-Based Test, an on-screen calculator will be available for your use during the Mathematics Section.
Writing Contains two subsections: a writing sample subsection requiring students to demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively in writing on a given topic and a multiple-choice subsection including approximately 40 questions assessing students' ability to recognize various elements of effective writing.
Students are asked to prepare a multiple-paragraph writing sample of about 300600 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.