If your current plan is to take the TExES content exams later this year, you may want to rethink those plans.
That’s because in the state of Texas, the rules involving when you can take the TExES content exams are changing, and you only have a few weeks to get ahead of this major change.
If you have not passed your content exam(s) and signed enrollment documents by Jan. 27, 2020, you will be subject tonew rules that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is implementing for admitting new first-year teacher candidates.
What does this mean for you?
PACT Access Is Changing
Up until this point, alternative certification programs in Texas required that students take a certification exam as a requirement upon entering a program.
According to Texas Administrative Code, those who have a degree but did not meet the requirements below had to take and pass a PACT exam:
A GPA below 2.5 or
The candidate has not completed 12 semester credit hours in the certification subject (15 hours in math or science in 7th grade or above)
Candidates who met the above requirements were not required to take the PACT, but were still required to take a TExES content exam as part of program enrollment requirements.
Up until this point, the TExES exams were used as PACT exams, so all prospective enrollees were required to take at least one TExES content exam prior to enrollment.
Once enrollees passed a content test, they submitted the results to the certification program of their choice and the program sent the prospective student an invitation to enroll.
What has changed: Beginning Jan. 27, 2020, you will lose public access to the PACT test. While this test served as a requirement for program acceptance and was open to the public, you now must be approved by your educator preparation program to register.
That means you MUST enroll with ECAP or another alternative teacher certification program BEFORE you take the TExES exam.
TxPACT Is The New PACT
On Jan. 27, 2020, TEA will make a new set of tests available to the public. These are called TxPACT exams. This new test is ONLY to be used for program admission.
That means only applicants whose college transcripts do not meet the minimum GPA requirement or do not contain sufficient coursework as outlined above will take the TxPACT in order to qualify for a program. Those who do meet the standards above can be accepted without the TxPACT exam.
What has changed: In addition to the new TxPACT exam, an important change to these rules is that unlike the current TExES exams, the new TxPACT exam does not qualify you to teach during the first year, which we will explore below.
You Have To Wait To Take The TExES …
… And, begin teaching.
Up until now, here’s how it worked:
You submitted an application to ECAP
You took the appropriate content exam and submitted the test results to ECAP
We sent you an invitation to enroll in our alternative teacher certification program
You signed the invitation and returned it to us
You were officially accepted into ECAP and ready to start training
You were also officially eligible to start teaching at this point
Beginning Jan. 27, 2020, the TxPACT does not allow you to begin teaching right away. AND, even if you meet program enrollment requirements and can bypass the TxPACT, you still have to complete ECAP’s coursework before you are allowed to take the TExES exam (which allows you to teach).
That means no matter which path you must take - the TxPACT if you do not meet program requirements or enrollment straight into a program if you do meet the requirements - you must now wait until you complete your coursework BEFORE you can take the TExES exam that allows you to teach.
We’re Impacted As Well
With these new changes, we are required to achieve a 75% pass rate on each test and for each demographic (gender and ethnicity), which translates into roughly a 90% overall pass rate on each exam we have the authority to approve.
In other words, 90% of our students must pass the test by their second attempt - or we lose our certification to teach you.
This also means that after Jan. 27, 2020, all current offers of enrollment that have not been accepted (signed and returned) must be rescinded so that ECAP and other educator preparation programs will remain in compliance. At ECAP, applications will be re-evaluated at the request of the applicant after that date.
What The New Rule Comes Down To
It’s important to act now!
If you were planning to wait and take your TExES content exams later this year, Don’t! Especially if you want to be in front of a classroom sooner rather than later.
In other words, scrap your plan to take the test later this year, closer to when you had planned to start your alternative teacher certification program. Instead, replace that plan with one that gets you enrolled with us before Jan. 27, 2020.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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