If you’re considering switching to a career in education, there is no better time than now.
That’s because new testing requirements in Texas could significantly impact your pursuit of becoming a teacher.
The Texas State Board for Educator Certification recently adopted a new requirement that aspiring educators must meet before becoming certified. Instead of taking what has traditionally been one of the final exams teachers must pass before becoming certified, teaching interns will have to develop a much more extensive portfolio of materials during their learning experiences. This new requirement is called the edTPA.
These new testing requirements will make it more challenging for many interns to earn their Texas teacher certification, and may even prolong your timeline toward achieving your goals.
Let’s take a closer look at what the edTPA is and how new testing requirements have impacted online teacher training.
New edTPA Requirement
Up until recently, aspiring teachers had to take and pass the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities. This test was 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.
Now through the 2022-23 school year, teaching candidates have the option of taking either the PPR or choosing to fulfill the new edTPA assessment. During the 2023-24 school year, teaching interns must incorporate the edTPA assessment into their certification requirements and will no longer have the option of taking the PPR. The following year, the Texas Education Agency will implement a new cut score for the edTPA.
What is the edTPA? Unlike the PPR, the edTPA is not a one-time test. University faculty and staff at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity developed this new assessment, which requires that student interns prepare a portfolio of materials during their learning experiences (primarily their teaching internship where they work directly with students).
What does the edTPA portfolio include? The portfolio involves a written reflective measure in which teacher candidates analyze whether the students they are teaching during their internships are learning. The portfolio should also demonstrate a readiness to teach by including:
How interns adjusted their instruction to better support their students’ strengths and improve areas where they struggled
Unedited video recordings of teaching interns working inside the classroom
How much is the edTPA versus the PPR? Student interns will see a substantial price increase in certification costs to meet this new testing requirement. Currently, the PPR costs $116. The price of the edTPA will be $311 for initial submission. If interns fail certain elements of the edTPA, they must resubmit those portions to pass this certification component. Resubmitting an element can cost anywhere between $100 and $300 depending on the number of tasks that must be looked over again.
How does the edTPA impact online teacher training? Those in favor of the edTPA stress that this new certification component better prepares teachers for the classroom and helps them with tasks like lesson planning and engaging students. However, the edTPA will cost substantially more in time and money.
This rigorous new requirement is designed to strengthen the field of education in Texas, but some may face a significant setback in their journey toward earning a teaching license. If you’re considering becoming a teacher, it’s important to apply to an educator preparation program now while you still have the option of taking the PPR.
Other New Testing Requirements
While the edTPA is a major change in testing requirements, it’s worth noting that the state has also made a handful of other adjustments over the past couple of years.
One of the most recent testing requirement updates was the addition of the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam, which went into effect in 2021. This new test is mandated in order to be issued an intern, probationary and standard certification if you are seeking certification in:
Early Childhood: EC - Grade 3
Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Early Childhood - Grade 6
Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Grades 4-8
English Language Arts and Reading with Science of Teaching Reading: Grades 4-8
English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies with Science of Teaching Reading: Grades 4-8
The goal of the exam is to help improve the instruction of reading and writing. The addition of the exam was part of House Bill 3, which requires that any candidate who wishes to teach Pre-K through grade 6 “must demonstrate proficiency in the science of teaching reading on a new, standalone certification examination.”
Another change in testing requirements that occurred recently involved when interns can take their TExES content exams and apply for an internship. As the rules currently stand, you cannot take any content exams until you have enrolled and been accepted into an educator preparation program.
For those considering enrolling in an alternative teacher certification program that provides in-person and/or online training, or for those who are already enrolled in one, you may be concerned about how these recent changes impact your timeline and quality of training.
The good news is, that programs like ECAP have adapted their curriculum to meet these requirements. Here are some of the ways the new testing requirements have impacted teacher training in Texas.
Additional Help With Timelines
It’s better to work with a quality program that will prepare you for any opportunities that come your way. That includes constantly evolving timelines and testing requirements.
Knowing when and if you should take an exam is one of the first questions interns have. Between the edTPA, TxPACT exam, content exams, new Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam and any other requirements, it can be overwhelming to navigate your individual timeline.
This is a substantial amount of information to digest for each individual teacher candidate, not to mention knowing which practice tests and courses will best help them prepare for these tests. ECAP works with each intern individually to assess how these new requirements impact your timeline as well as which content exams best fit your end goals.
When ECAP accepts interns in its program, the individual also receives a set of instructions that detail exactly how to set up an account with the TEA and complete all required background checks.
An Opportunity For Training … Even Without Enrollment
In addition to important teaching skills, the best alternative teacher certification programs always offer preparation for content exams as part of their curriculum … not as costly add-ons. This curriculum should include everything you need to know to help you successfully complete your edTPA portfolio, as well as how to develop the best study plan for you as you prepare to take the other required exams.
At ECAP, we know the importance of preparing for all of the requirements we outlined above, which is why we offer practice tests, videos and online and in-person courses to help our interns prepare.
A Partner In Changing Times
Navigating what you are supposed to do and when in order to obtain your teaching license can be an overwhelming experience. The timeline itself can be difficult to understand, especially considering it has undergone several changes this year alone.
Enlisting the help of an experienced alternative teacher certification program that can navigate these evolving timelines and requirements, and has your best interest in mind, will help secure your future as a teacher. Our job is to put you in the classroom with the tools you need to be successful.
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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