Navigating a timeline that outlines when you need to take the appropriate tests to become a certified teacher can be a bit like reading a map that is constantly changing.
This past year alone, the state of Texas has changed its requirements a few times for when teaching interns should take their content exams, as well as added a new test that is required for nearly half of all interns.
The good news is for anyone who is considering enrolling in teacher training services to become an educator, there is no better time than now thanks to the high demand for educators and a teacher shortage in the state.
New Rules For Testing
One of the newest testing requirements is the addition of a Texas teaching reading exam called 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 one of these areas:
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
This exam is designed to help improve the instruction of reading and writing. It stems from 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.”
The year 2020 also saw several changes that involved when an intern can take TExES content exams. Here’s what you need to know now: You cannot take any content exams until you have enrolled and been accepted into an approved teacher training program. And, you must also take your content exam before you can apply for an internship.
A Timeline For Success
How have the above changes revised timelines for testing? Navigating any testing requirements can be challenging, especially if there are new components to consider.
Here’s a general look at what you will need to accomplish if you enroll in ECAP’s educator preparation program:
Apply to ECAP. Like any EPP, you will need to meet any Texas teacher certification requirements. This includes passing the TxPACT exams if you do not meet the minimum requirements. However, you should not take the TxPACT for ECAP until ECAP instructs you to do so. That’s because ECAP may require you to take a different level TxPACT than the one the Texas Education Agency (TEA) prescribes.
Establish an account with the TEA. This is the agency through which you will apply for any certificates and complete all required background checks.
Complete 40 hours of training and take a practice content exam. Aim for a score of 270 and concentrate on areas your practice exam results indicate you need further training in.
Take your content exams. Once you score a 270 on your practice exam, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams.
Receive a statement of eligibility from ECAP, and begin your job hunt. Programs like ECAP offer an extensive network of resources that can help match you with the perfect internship opportunity.
Complete your additional training. You are required to take 150 hours of training before you can teach in the classroom.
Complete 150 hours in the classroom. You must complete this before you can take the PPR (Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities) exam.
Take advantage of additional training offered. Teacher training programs to prepare you for the PPR help ensure you are ready for this final exam required for certification.
Pass your PPR and apply for certification. Make sure all of your teacher training courses are completed as well before applying for certification.
Because it can be challenging to navigate these newest requirements, it is important to work with your alternative teacher certification program to ensure you are on the right track.
The best programs will work with you to develop an individualized timeline and provide you with the resources you need to be successful. You are more than a number, and a high-quality program like ECAP will have your best interest in mind to help secure your future as a teacher.
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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7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396