The Texas State Board of Education has rejected adding the edTPA to the list of requirements that aspiring teachers must meet to earn certification. For many, that’s welcomed news considering the proposed requirement could have made it more difficult to become a Texas teacher.
However, now is not the time to let your guard down. Changes are on the horizon, and it’s uncertain what that means for those who want to get their Texas teacher certification.
Here’s what we know and why if you’re considering changing careers and becoming a teacher, NOW is the time to pursue certification.
What We Know
Until June, the edTPA (Educative Teacher Performance Assessment) was eventually pegged to replace the current PPR exam requirement for certification. The PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities, is designed to assess whether an individual who wants to become a teacher has the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to be an entry-level educator.
Developed at Standford University, the edTPA is not a one-time test. Instead, it requires that student interns prepare a portfolio of materials during their learning experiences, primarily their teaching internship, where they work directly with students. The edTPA is not only more costly than the PPR ($311 for initial submission vs. $116 for the PPR), it is significantly more time-intensive.
However, in June, the State Board of Education rejected the edTPA after members said they had concerns about whether the new requirement would make it more difficult to retain teachers during a statewide teacher shortage.
All good news so far, right? Not exactly. While we narrowly avoided another contributor to theteacher shortage, nobody knows what’s coming down the pipeline.
State board members have said the PPR is inadequate. Yet what will replace it is far from determined. The main issue at hand is developing an additional exam or solution that better demonstrates a readiness to teach but does not serve as a barrier to entering the teaching profession and retaining teachers.
That solution could involve bringing back the edTPA and finding a way to work it into the current curriculum. The state could also develop an entirely new tool. No matter what is chosen, it must address a timeline of regulation changes that have undoubtedly impacted the number of individuals getting their teacher credential and the number of teachers leaving the profession.
Here’s a snapshot of the challenges the state is facing:
2016-17 school year: There were 26,517 new teachers certified in Texas.
2016: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) changed the structure of certificates and created a more rigorous timeline and requirements for testing approval.
2017: Texas experienced a 9.8% decrease in teachers certified compared to the previous year.
2018-29 school year: The TEA changed the test used for Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) so that individuals could no longer take the TExES test for program admission. The TX PACT no longer governs the area of certification.
2019-20 school year: Texas experienced a 14.9% decrease in teachers certified compared to the previous year.
2021-22 school year and hiring season for the 2022-23 school year: Schools are reporting and experiencing a teacher shortage in all levels and areas including elementary teachers (for the first time).
It’s back to the drawing board for the Texas Education Agency and state board members. While there is a reprieve in testing changes for now, there could be another new requirement in the pipeline within the next one to three years.
Why Now Is The Time To Get Certified
If you are considering earning your teaching license, NOW is the time to act while current certification requirements remain in place. If you wait until as soon as the 2023-24 school year to begin your program, you may face more difficult barriers to earning certification.
An experienced educator preparation program (EPP) can help you navigate these requirements and help ensure that you stay on track to complete your certification on your individualized timeline.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can apply to an EPP, which is also called an alternative teacher certification program. This type of program offers you a path toward certification through online or in-person courses or a combination of both.
The best alternative teacher certification programs treat you as more than a number and provide continuous support. They will also ensure you sign up for the right tests at the right time so you can complete your journey toward becoming a certified classroom teacher as quickly as possible.
Certification changes are inevitably on the horizon, but the best educator preparation programs are ready to adopt any new testing requirements into the high-quality curriculum in place.
Scott is the Deputy Executive Director and Program Consultant. Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from Texas Woman's University and a Master of Education from Texas Woman's University. Scott has extensive experience in both the classroom and as an administrator in districts in North Texas.
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