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Texas Education Board Rejects New Teacher Certification Exam

Education

Teacher with students. | Images by Shutterstock

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Texas’ State Board of Education voted unanimously on Friday to reject what would have been a new certification exam for state educators.

The State Board for Educator Certification, consisting of eleven members, voted to adopt the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) at the end of April. Still, it needed the State Board’s final approval.


The new assessment would have educators send in a 15-minute video of themselves teaching plus a student progress report, the Texas Tribune reported in April. Teachers would also have to send a sample lesson plan and answer multiple essay questions.

Currently, the exam used is the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam.

State Board of Education Chair Keven Ellis told KHOU that the rejection was not the end of the new test.

“I feel there are some stones left unturned. I would not consider a vote to reject a wooden stake through the heart of edTPA. This is not the end of the road,” Ellis said.

Boardmember Aicha Davis spoke to KHOU on June 16 and opined that more could be done to fix issues with the current licensing exam.

“We haven’t figured anything out to make anything better,” Davis said. “We’re just kind of getting rid of one problem to have to create another one.”

According to Davis, the Texas Education Agency did not provide adequate information for the board to properly consider implementing edTPA. Davis told KHOU she wanted to know more about why other states scrapped the exam.

“I’m asking staff and the commissioner not to just lobby us with a product they want to push, but to give us unbiased data so we can make a good decision,” she said.

Those in favor of edTPA feel it can showcase what new educators need to work on the most, KHOU reported.

In April, the state director of the Education Trust, Jonathan Feinstein, told the Texas Tribune that edTPA could benefit new teachers.

“This is about how we make sure that those [teacher] candidates are getting the support and coaching that they need and deserve to be effective and to stay in the profession,” he said.

Gina Anderson, the associate dean for Educator Preparation and Partnerships at Texas Woman’s University, felt the video aspect was too small of a glimpse into someone’s teaching skills to be effective.

Furthermore, Anderson told the Texas Tribune that requiring the edTPA could take away from programs like the ones she teaches.

“[Our program] is meant to provide formative support and help educators grow in their practice, rather than to be used kind of as a high-stakes decision at the very end of their program,” she said.

Doug Hamman is a professor and director of teacher education at Texas Tech University, which pilot-tested the edTPA for three years. He believes the new exam helped the teacher preparation program in his university.

Besides, Hamman said, “having teachers demonstrate that they have mastered what they’re supposed to [have mastered] is not a bad thing.”

According to KHOU 11, edTPA costs $200 more than the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam, but the TEA is considering putting $2 million towards helping teacher candidates pay for a more expensive test.      

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