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How New Testing Requirements Have Impacted Online Teacher Training

Certification Tests, Teacher Training

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on January 25, 2021

If you’re considering switching to a career in education, there is no better time than now.

Average base pay for teacher salaries in Texas are at an all-time high, and as the population continues to rise in the state, teachers are in demand, especially those certified to teach in fields like special education and STEM.

For many individuals looking to switch to a career in education, however, the journey can be fraught with confusion over new testing requirements that have impacted online teacher training. 

Over the past year, in particular, teaching timelines have seen many changes, some temporarily due to COVID-19 restrictions, and others in an effort to improve teacher instruction.

If you’re confused over what tests you need to take when, you’re not alone. Below, we’ll take a look at some of these new testing requirements and what you need to know so you can begin your journey toward a new fulfilling career.


A Year Of Changes


online teacher trainingTesting requirements have undergone many changes this past year, making navigating a timeline toward certification challenging for many aspiring teachers.

The most recent testing requirement to go into effect is the addition of the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam, which went into effect Jan. 1, 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 this past year 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. You also cannot apply for an internship until you have taken your content exam.

How ECAP Can Help


online teacher trainingFor 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 how these recent changes impact your timeline and quality of training.

The good news is, programs like ECAP have adapted their curriculum to meet these requirements. Here are some of the ways the new testing requirements have impacted online teacher training in Texas.


Additional Help With Timelines


With the uncertainty of how COVID-19 will impact the teaching profession in the near future, 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.

Knowing when and if you should take an exam is one of the first questions interns have. Between the TxPACT exam, content exams, new Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam, the PPR (Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities) 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 pass the PPR, from styles of exam questions you should expect to how to develop the best study plan for you. 

Our article, How To Pass Your PPR Exam, delves into some of the most common mistakes test takers make so that you can learn what to watch out for when it’s your turn.

At ECAP, we know the importance of preparing for this test, 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. 

Although new testing requirements have changed the order by which interns and prospective interns complete their requirements, our online and in-person teacher training programs continue to keep future teachers on the right track toward fulfilling their dreams.

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Topics: Certification Tests, Teacher Training

Written by Micah Fikes

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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