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The THEA, which stands for Texas Higher Education Assessment, is a test that the state of Texas uses in order to measure the academic readiness and competence of college students, high school students taking classes for college credit, and people seeking any kind of teacher certification for employment in Texas public schools. In a small percentage of cases, the test is given for other purposes, but most people taking the exam will fall into one of the three main categories. The exam has been around, in one form or another, since 1989, and hundreds of thousands of people have taken it over the years.
THEA is a test of basic skills and knowledge in writing, reading and math. Itís pretty obvious why Texas wants prospective teachers and other education professionals to take the exam; nobody wants their child being taught by someone who hasnít even mastered the basic s of the three Rís. Some people, though, wonder why college students should have to take the exam. After all, theyíre not children, but full grown adults, and theyíre spending their own money on a college education, so why is THEA a requirement for these folks? Well, thatís because the state of Texas, and colleges in the state, have no desire to see unqualified students take college classes theyíre not ready for. This not only is a waste of government and school time, money and resources, but itís also a waste of the studentís time, money and resource, and can lead to a person dropping out an giving up on college altogether.
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So Texas colleges use the THEA as a placement test. An incoming studentís scores will reveal what level of academic work theyíre prepared to tackle. Some students may be able to skip some basic level courses, while others may need remedial classes. The test is mostly multiple choice. The math section contains 50 multiple choice questions on basic math, algebra, geometry and problem solving. The reading section is comprised of 40 multiple choice questions designed to measure how well a student can read and comprehend written materials. The writing section also has 40 multiple choice questions on the elements of good writing, and also requires the test taker to write a 300 to 600 word essay on a given topic. There really is no passing score on the THEA, as each college sets their own standards and guidelines. However, the exam is tougher than many people realize, and since a low score can hold a person back in their academic career, many people turn to study guides and flashcards to help them prepare for the THEA.
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