Recent changes to the laws in 2017 by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), made becoming Texas teachers more difficult than in previous years, the biggest change being the requirement of passing a content exam to demonstrate content knowledge PRIOR to beginning a probationary teaching assignment.
Under previous regulations, a district could hire a new teacher based on the prospect’s educational background. The rule required essentially the equivalent of a major in the subject to be taught. Once hired, the newly hired teacher was required to take the content test during the probationary teaching period in order to earn a standard Texas teaching certification.
In order to be hired for a teaching job, an individual must be eligible to hold an Intern Certificate. According to new TEA regulations, effective September 1, 2017. ALL required content tests must be passed for an individual to be eligible for an Intern Certificate.
So, what does this mean for you?
If you don’t pass your content test, you will need to reschedule and take it again until you do pass it. And, here is where it can become a problem.
There are thousands of people signing up to take these tests, so they fill up fast! And, there are only so many content tests in each category offered. Some texas teacher tests, such as English and Foreign Language, have limited administration (five times a year).
In addition, for teachers entering fields requiring multiple content tests, such as Bilingual elementary, Special Education or ESL, they will be required to pass multiple tests to become eligible for their initial certificate and hire.
Bottom line: Pass your test early!
Extra Tip: Do not enroll in a program before you pass your content test!
19 TAC title 7 CH 229 greatly restricts an individual's ability to take tests once admitted into an Educator Preparation Program (EPP).
Because the EPP’s accreditation is dependent on certain performance standards, including the passing rates of individuals in their program. In 2017/2018, the standard performance is those who have passed in their first two attempts.
Some programs will accept you with limited approval before you have passed your content test. This means that they expect you to pass on your first attempt, because they don’t want you to fail on the second attempt and have it go against their record. So, if you fail your first attempt, they may ask you to take another test to avoid this.
This doesn’t work in your favor.
You will have more opportunities to take a content test and take multiple content areas BEFORE entering a program than AFTER admission into a program.
How Do I Register For A Content Test?
If you hold a bachelor’s degree or are scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree, you are allowed to take the Content Test through Educational Testing Services (ETS) via the Pre-Admission Content Tests (PACT).To register for a PACT, use the ETS Online Registration System
When you access the ETS online registration system for the first time, you will be required to create an ETS testing account. To establish an ETS testing account, you will need to provide the following:
TEA ID number
First and last name
Date of birth
According to the ETS system -If you are a Charter School or Pre-Admission Content Tests (PACT) candidate, you will be given a TEA ID number during the process of creating your ETS testing account.
Here are the steps to create a new account:
Select New User.
Select No TEA ID.
Select the PACT option, which will generate a TEA profile and ID.
If you already have a TEA ID, contact TEA at (512) 936-8400, Option 2 to have PACT approval added to your existing record.
In order to do well on your content exams, it is advised that you prepare prior to taking the exam. There are various outlets online that will provide you with study materials for a fee.
In addition, ECAP has free reviews for many of the content sections. Click on this link for our Online TeXes Exam Review Program, to see if your subject area is included and request the review..
The path to becoming a teacher is becoming more difficult each year.
Our best advice……...START EARLY!!
Make sure you are a viable candidate when the hiring season gets here by getting a jump start on your competition.
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.
Connect with ECAP
7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396