Texas A&M International University

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Texas Higher Education Assesment (THEA)

The Texas Higher Education Assesment (THEA), mandated in the spring of 1987 by the State of Texas (Vernon’s Texas Codes Annotated - Education Code, Sec. 51.306) was instituted to ensure that students entering an institution of higher education in the Fall of 1989 or thereafter possess the necessary academic skills for successful performance in college. The THEA test measures skills in reading, mathematics, and writing and is administered according to published schedules. The THEA test cannot be used as a criterion for admission. Registration information regarding test dates and fees is available at Killam Library Room 214, provided by Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment (PASE). Anyone wishing more information regarding THEA policies should contact this office. The following highlights some of the most important policies students should know.

Beginning in the fall semester of 1998, each undergraduate student, unless otherwise exempt, who enters a public institution of higher education must be tested for reading, writing and mathematics prior to enrolling in any collegiate-level coursework. Failure to do so will disqualify the student for admission into ANY Texas public institution of higher education. Students who do not pass or take all sections of the THEA test will have to take developmental education course work in at least one of these areas to enroll at a public institution of higher education. Students who take and pass the THEA test have met all THEA program requirements.


Students may not enroll in any upper-level course the completion of which would give them 60 or more semester credit hours or the equivalent until their test scores meet or exceed the minimum standards in all test areas. In the spirit of this state mandate, Texas A&M International University requires that students successfully complete all three sections of the THEA test to enroll in any upper-level (3000 or above) courses at Texas A&M International University.


Students who do not meet the minimum passing standard for any section of the THEA are required by state law to enroll and participate in developmental instruction (either course or non-course based instruction) until they pass the THEA. Non-course based instruction is only available to students who have been so advised by the PASE administrative staff. If students are not enrolled in developmental instruction, they cannot take any academic credit hours in any Texas state institution of higher education. Students concurrently enrolled MUST TAKE required developmental courses at Texas A&M International University and not at another institution.


State law stipulates that students may not enroll in college level courses related to their THEA deficiencies. Consequently the following courses *may not be taken if the corresponding test section has not been passed:

If not passed: Reading Mathematics Writing
Then may not enroll in: History 1301 Math 1314 English 1301
  History 1302 Math 1316 English 1302
  Political Science 2305    
  Political Science 2306    
  Psychology 2301    
  Soph English Lit. (all)    

*These are designated "B" or better courses and may only be taken if the developmental sequence has been met or if the passing THEA score for the corresponding section has been achieved. For further information, contact PASE.


"Grandfather" Clause: Students who have accumulated at least three college-level semester credit hours or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to the fall of 1989 are not required to take the THEA test. However, this does not apply to students seeking education certification since the State Board for Educator Certification requires that ALL teacher candidates, regardless of their prior academic history, take and pass the THEA test.

Baccalaureate Degrees: Students who already have a baccalaureate degree are THEA exempt.

SAT/ACT/TAAS: Students who perform at or above the following levels on these tests are THEA exempt. SAT and ACT scores are valid for five years, TAAS for three.

SAT:   Recentered score of 1070 combined with a minimum of 500 on the math and English tests each. Original scale scores of 970 combined with a minimum of 470 on the math and 420 on the verbal test.
ACT:   Composite score of 23 with a 19 minimum on the mathematics and English test each.
TAAS:   Minimum scale scores of 1770 on the writing, reading, and math tests and for tests taken Spring 1994 and thereafter a Texas Learning Index (TLI) of 86 on the mathematics test and 89 on the reading test. Scores must have been achieved in one test sitting.
GPA:   3.5 grade point average on the official recomendation or distinguished high school curriculum


Note: Students scoring below the following scores in mathematics cannot take MATH 1314, College Algebra (or higher level math) unless they take and pass the prerequisite developmental classes with at least a "C".  Students may retest to meet MATH 1314 prerequisites.


Other exemptions apply for special populations with diagnosed learning disabilities. Please inquire with the THEA Academic Advising Office in the PASE.

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