Skip to Navigation

High School/Exit Level (9-12)

The early high school grade level tasks have two components:

  1. Phase I, Learning Experiences, is a suggested series of TEKS-based lessons and performances to be used in large groups, in small groups, and/or individually. Phase I allows students to work with advanced content and processes through a discipline-based research model. Phase I is developmental and formative.
  2. In Phase II, Independent Research, students utilize and extend their learning from Phase I to develop a product. The product provides students with opportunities to synthesize learning, apply knowledge to a novel situation, and provide an advanced, high-quality demonstration of the student’s knowledge and skills.

Each campus determines the best avenues for project participation. However, in order for students to have the necessary support to complete their projects, each campus is encouraged to complete the learning experiences and independent research as described in each of the project descriptions. Two or more students may collaborate in Phase I and/or Phase II. When there is collaboration, each student’s individual learning must be documented.

Teachers can adapt Phase II independent research projects as appropriate to align with the exit-level task specifications described below.

An exit level project consists of the long-term development of a question or idea that is significant to professionals in the student's specified field of study. Grounded in the content of the TEKS, the project allows students to develop an important content-area question or idea in depth, though it does not necessarily have to reflect broad content knowledge in the field. Additionally, the project will demonstrate the use of sophisticated and advanced research methods and the use of technology appropriate to the field of study. The project results in learning that is demonstrated through products or performances appropriate to and comparable in quality to those of a professional who works in the field of study. A project consists of a product, an abstract, a process record, and a presentation and question-and-answer session.

The product is the focus of the scoring process, and the format of the product must convey the knowledge and skills learned in the project. This culmination of the student's comprehensive study must exhibit mastery of content and process skills. The final product may be in one of the following formats:

  • A written product, such as a formal paper, website, or literary work
  • A performance, such as an exhibit or theatrical production

The project should include an abstract that summarizes the project and that includes these components:

  • The title of the project
  • The purpose or goals of the project
  • A description of the product
  • A brief description of the project’s relation to the TEKS

Along with the product, each student submits a process record that documents the student's learning. The process record may consist of, but is not limited to, an outline, a log, a journal, notes of mentor meetings, weekly progress reports, drafts of previous versions, and/or a bibliography. The process record enables a reviewer to follow the student’s learning throughout the project.

Each student project also includes a public presentation that consists of a brief explanation of the project and a question-and-answer session with the audience.

The project teacher or independent study teacher may have additional requirements.

Though page and time limits are not specified, the length of the product, abstract, process record, and public presentation should be sufficient and thorough enough to convey the information and student message without being superfluous.

7E Model

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is redesigning the TPSP tasks to reflect a 7E framework. Currently, approximately half of the TPSP tasks have been restructured to reflect a 7E instructional framework. These tasks have been included on this website for download via the link that appears just below the original TPSP task download button.

The 7E model is an extension of the original 5E model developed by a team of educators at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study to maximize student engagement in learning. The seven “Es” of the model are as follows:

  • Elicit—Access and ascertain prior knowledge and understanding
    • Teacher can frame “What do you think?” questions.
  • Engage—Generate enthusiasm and stimulate interest and thinking
    • Teacher can surprise students, get students thinking, or raise questions through compelling demonstrations or presentations.
  • Explore—Provide opportunities to observe, record data, design experiments, interpret results, organize findings
    • Teacher can frame questions, suggest approaches, provide feedback, and assess understanding.
  • Explain—Introduce models, laws, and theories
    • Teacher can guide students toward generalizations and provide terminology and questions that help students explain their explorations.
  • Elaborate—Provide opportunities to apply knowledge to new domains
    • Teacher can introduce new variables and pose new questions/scenarios in which students practice transfer of knowledge.
  • Evaluate—Provide formative and summative assessment opportunities, including self-reflection
    • Teacher can conduct ongoing assessment of student learning through all phases.
  • Extend—Provide additional challenges that allow students to apply knowledge
    • Teachers can provide new contexts for application of knowledge that allow students to go one step further.1

For those TPSP tasks adapted to the 7E format, Phase I Learning Experiences provide suggested activities aligned with Elicit, Engage, Explore, and Explain. Phase II Research Process provides suggested activities to Elaborate, Explain, Evaluate, and Extend. While 7E tasks will always begin with Elicit and Engage and end with Evaluate and Extend, the sequence of Explore, Explain, and Elaborate can vary, often with recurrences of Explore and Explain throughout the task.

1For more information on the 7E model, see Eisencraft, A. (2003). Expanding the 5E model. The Science Teacher, 70(6), pp. 56–59. Retrieved from



[+] Expand All Task Descriptions

What’s the Diagnosis? Historical and Physical Impacts of Disease


High School Science Task: What’s the Diagnosis? Historical and Physical Impacts of Disease

In this task, students explore the physical and historical impacts of disease. Students begin by researching cells, bacteria, and viruses and the role of each in the body. Read More

Download Task: What’s the Diagnosis? Historical and Physical Impacts of Disease Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

So You Have Issues—Now What? Policy Explorations

Social Studies*

High School Social Studies Task: So You Have Issues—Now What? Policy Explorations

In this task, students explore an issue of relevance within the local community, such as school board elections, water conservation, or public funding of campaigns. Read More

Download Task: So You Have Issues—Now What? Policy Explorations Download Task (PDF)

Candidate Z in ’2016


High School Social Studies and Technology Task: Candidate Z in ’2016

In this task, the student assumes the role of webmaster for a political candidate. Read More

Download Task: Candidate Z in ’2016 Download Task (PDF)

Traffic Jam


High School Mathematics Task: Traffic Jam

In this task, students will explore how leading researchers are using mathematics to understand the roots of complex problems such as “phantom traffic jams.” Read More

Download Task: Traffic Jam Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Super Food


High School Science Task: Super Food

In this task, students explore the concept of nutrition at both a micro and macro level—from understanding the process of metabolism in eukaryotic cells to examining the twin global issues of hunger and obesity. Read More

Download Task: Candidate Z in ’2016 Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Financing the Future


High School Interdisciplinary Task: Financing the Future

In this task, students will track their income and spending and prepare financial documents including tax and interest calculations. Read More

Download Task: Financing the Future Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Back to the Top