Tackling the TEA: TEKS

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are guidelines set by the State Board of Education for educators to prepare students to be college ready by graduation. The TEKS provide information on the following:

  • What students should learn and know to be performing at grade level
  • The TEKS inform STAAR test creators know what questions should be included on the STAAR and what level of difficulty they should be
  • Help educators lesson plan for students in each grade level
  • Inform Texans on education standards for English Language Learners

Overall, the TEKS provide a big-picture overview of what Texas students will learn each year. 

Where can the TEKS be found?

The TEKS can be located on the Texas Education Agency’s website here

However, the TEKS are very complex and are difficult to understand. That’s why Texas teachers must learn extensive methods to dissect, implement, and assess the TEKS each year. For example, check out this bit of TEKS:

“For students to become fluent in mathematics, students must develop a robust sense of number. The National Research Council’s report, ‘Adding It Up,’ defines procedural fluency as ‘skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately.’ As students develop procedural fluency, they must also realize that true problem solving may take time, effort, and perseverance. Students in Grade 1 are expected to perform their work without the use of calculators”

from Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Grade 1. Revised August 2018, page 10.


Perhaps if you majored in mathematics, this makes sense to you. To the rest of us laymen, we may read this bit of information on the TEKS and turn to an hour-long web browsing session where we kind-of learn the concepts of 1st-grade procedural fluency…and then we have to figure out how a 7-year old is supposed have a working understanding of procedural fluency. Yikes. 

That’s a lot of work.

The teacher (and the Planting Seeds tutor!) must know how to adopt these standards, and learn how to apply them to each student in a unique way. The teacher has to do this on a mass scale (with 20-30 students per classroom). Tutors work one-on-one in the comfort of a student’s home, which is often an ideal environment for focused learning!

Keep reading, we’ll talk more about this below.

Understanding the TEKS

Each grade level has specific TEKS guidelines that can be downloaded as PDF documents. High school TEKS are a bit different as students test out of courses via the End of Course examinations (which are STAAR tests for high school). However, grades 1-5 are easily accessible on the TEA’s website.


How Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep utilizes the TEKS

Each TEKS document differs in the number of pages – for example, grade 1 is 36 pages. Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep tutors review the TEKS standards for students prior to tutoring. If the student does not arrive with pre-determined homework worksheets, the Planting Seeds tutor will lesson plan according to these guidelines. It is also helpful for your student if you are also familiar with the standards set for his or her grade level. This can be done by reviewing the syllabus for each grade. 

The teacher typically provides syllabuses for the students and parents at the beginning of the year on how he or she will follow these TEKS guidelines. Throughout the year, teachers will teach their students topics that are based off the TEKS, to the depth appropriate to the maturity of the students in the classroom. Many different factors will affect the implementation of the TEKS – such as 

  • English proficiency of the class
  • Educational growth of the students during the previous school year
  • Social norms of the students in the class

Teachers are encouraged to lesson plan on the “higher crop” of educational standards in the class. Meaning, if there is a classroom of 20 students, and 8 of these students are performing at-level whereas 12 are performing below-level, the teacher will hold those 12 students accountable to the performance of the other 8. The work will be more difficult, but it is the teacher’s job to bring those other students up to grade-level by the end of the year.

Again, that’s where Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep comes in!

Our tutors will work with students who are struggling to bring them to grade-level in order to not only perform well in the course, but also on the STAAR, EOC, ACT or SAT, and prepare students to be college ready. 

Contact us TODAY to make sure your student is ready for next year!


Would you, or your student, benefit from our in-home tutoring offered in Austin, Dallas, South and Central Texas this summer? Contact us today to receive information regarding tutoring for English, Reading, Math, Science, History, and Test Prep. Curious about what subjects we teach? Click here to visit our website at www.plantingseedstutoring.com. You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com.

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