October 6, 2020: Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

Texas Education Agency

October 6, 2020

Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

student at computer, remote learning


Greetings to the Educator Preparation Program community. This past week, over 130 individuals logged on to learn more about rule updates related to educator preparation during the Form and Function webinar. That resource, along with a number of additional resources and updates are included in this week’s newsletter.    

As we are still in the early days of this new mailing list, we encourage you to forward this newsletter to faculty and staff within your preparation program as needed. In addition, if others within your program would like to receive the newsletter, please have them sign up at the link below.  

Educator Preparation Program Listserv Registration

Table of Contents

Upcoming Events

10/9/2020: SBEC Meeting (the meeting webcast can be viewed here, beginning at 8:30am) 

10/14/2020: Performance-Based Assessment & Rubric Webinar (sign-up link)

Upcoming Deadlines

Topic Action Item Due Date
Educator Testing Begin to communicate with all candidates who are impacted by the STR exam transition. ASAP
LBB Reporting  All Public Texas colleges and universities upload data to ECOS, download the data report, and report the data to the LBB.

October 9, 2020 (TEA) 

November 2, 2020 (LBB) 

Educator Testing 
PASL registration closes on October 19, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

October 19, 2020 

EPP Support Deadline to submit the STR Exam Letter of Attestation form to your TEA program specialist. December 1, 2020
Educator Testing 

Deadline for candidates to submit new, missing information, or corrections for the Test-Limit Waiver application for HB3 impacted fields. 

December 1, 2020 

Any information submitted after December 1st is not guaranteed to be reviewed prior to the implementation of the STR exam requirement.
Educator Certification 

Final day for standard certifications to be issued without the STR exam requirement for HB 3 impacted fields.

December 31, 2020  


Educator Preparation Program Support

Information and updates related to the Educator Preparation Program Management

Program Requirements for EC-3 Certification  
An EC-3 approved preparation program can admit a currently certified educator without meeting additional admission requirements if the educator holds a certificate in one of the categories listed in 19 TAC§227.10(g). The program must provide a minimum of 150 clock-hours of coursework and/or training that is directly aligned to the Early Childhood educator standards. A clinical teaching or internship assignment is not required for these currently certified educators seeking an EC-3 certificate.  

If the EPP is admitting a currently certified educator who does not hold a certificate in a certificate area listed in 19 TAC§227.10(g), the educator will need to meet the program’s admission requirements and complete all certification requirements for EC-3 certification, including a clinical teaching or internship assignment.  

If the EPP is admitting a candidate who is not currently certified, the candidate must meet all minimum admission requirements found in TAC Chapter 227 and complete all program and standard certification requirements. Content hours for this certificate area can include any of the core subjects – English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and/or courses related to the Early Childhood educator standards

Q & A about Clinical Experiences and Formal Observations
Recently, the Texas Directors of Field Experiences reached out to TEA staff with a number of questions related to clinical experiences and formal observations in the current climate. These questions, along with answers from TEA, can be found here.

Support for Virtual Field-Based Experiences
As part of our continuing effort to provide support for the field in programming field-based experiences, we have put together this guide with resources and ideas for using Texas TLAC Online and other online T-TESS resources as part of your field-based experiences. 

Call for Applications for Innovative Educator Preparation recognition 
The State Board for Educator Certification designates EPPs that have implemented innovative approaches in a defined area of emphasis to educator preparation. The call for materials is here, and an application checklist is available here. Applications are due November 1.  

Answers to questions submitted during the open question period have now been posted here.

Legislative Budget Board (LBB) Reporting  
Educator preparation programs at public colleges and universities are required to report certification rates of teacher education graduates to the LBB. Guidance for using the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS) to upload and retrieve your certification rate is available in the Data Reporting Manual. Information about reporting this information to the LBB, is available on the LBB website

The deadline for completing the first step with TEA is October 9. As a reminder, this is only a requirement for public colleges and universities.

Educator Standards and Testing

Updates related to Educator Standards and Certification Testing

STR Exam Informational One-Pagers for Candidates Posted to the STR Exam Webpage
TEA staff has developed a suite of STR exam informational one-pager documents that are intended to outline the most critical information that candidates pursuing certification in an HB3-impacted field need to know about the STR exam requirement. Staff has developed specific one-pagers for those groups of candidates who may be issued standard certificates prior to the STR exam requirement and one-pagers for each certification field impacted by the STR exam requirement as of January 1, 2021. 

We encourage EPPs to share these documents with their candidates through multiple communication channels, to ensure that candidates are well aware of the STR exam requirement. These one-pagers can be accessed via the links below or through the STR Exam webpage (tea.texas.gov/str). 

Important information for:

 New Requirements for initial teacher certification in:

Direct Email Notification to Candidates Regarding the STR Exam Requirement
During the week of October 5th, TEA staff will be sending direct email notifications to the following groups of candidates pursuing standard certification in an HB3-impacted field  to notify them of the STR exam requirement, which goes into effect January 1, 2021. The intent of the direct email notification is to notify those candidates that they will be required to take the STR exam for standard certification unless they are issued a standard certificate by December 31, 2021. Direct email notification will be sent to: 

  • Teachers with one-year probationary certificates issued under the Governor’s waiver of certification exam requirements in Spring 2020,
  • Previous finishers without certification (2015-16 onward), and
  • Candidates who have taken a content pedagogy exam in an HB3 impacted field in the past year.

EPPs are responsible for proactively notifying all candidates regarding the STR exam requirement and are encouraged to proactively reach out to these groups of candidates to ensure that they are well aware of the STR exam requirement beginning January 1, 2021. 

ETS PASL Update 
ETS has updated their website with virtual learning environment information.  

  • The Important Updates page contains a link to the guidance document for candidates who may be submitting their PASL assessment tasks while working in a virtual learning environment.  
  • The PASL Assessment Task 3 Library of Examples page has been updated to include a virtual learning response for each textbox. 

In addition, ETS offered a webinar on the PASL assessment on Wednesday, September 23rd. This webinar focused on providing guidance on completing the assessment in a virtual or hybrid learning environment, identifying what students should consider when selecting their artifacts, and the different technologies that can be considered for capturing the video. This information will be helpful to faculty that instruct students in their programs. Linked here is a pdf of the PowerPoint facilitation deck from the webinar.

Pilot Testing Underway for Science of Teaching Reading, Principal as Instructional Leader, and Educational Diagnostician Certification Exams 
Examination questions (items) are pilot tested to gather information about their quality and technical characteristics, before appearing as scored items on operational exam forms. In addition to gathering data to inform exam item quality, the pilot test provides teacher candidates and other individuals at Texas educator preparation programs a free opportunity to prepare for future exams. The pilot tests are computer-administered at testing centers in Texas.  

TEA and Pearson are seeking participants for these important activities. For information on eligibility, incentives, advantages of participation, scheduling, and registration for pilot tests, please encourage students to visit the Pilot Testing website here: https://home.pearsonvue.com/espilot/tea. Please note that participation in a pilot test does not satisfy certification requirements or count against a candidate’s test attempts, and participants do not receive a score or a Pass/Fail status. If you have questions or need further information, please contact the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program at estexas@pearson.com. 

Educational Diagnostician 
Pilot testing is underway for the redeveloped Educational Diagnostician exam through October 16, 2020.

Science of Teaching Reading (pilot testing window has been updated)
Pilot testing is underway and available at Pearson VUE test centers throughout Texas through October 16, 2020. Candidates are eligible to participate in the pilot test if they are currently enrolled in an EPP for Core Subjects EC-6, Core Subjects 4-8, ELAR 4-8, or ELAR/Social Studies 4-8. Faculty members at eligible EPPs are not eligible to participate. 

Principal as Instructional Leader 
Pilot testing is underway and available at Pearson VUE test centers throughout Texas through October 1, 2020. Individuals enrolled in Principal as Instructional Leader preparation programs and those individuals who hold a Principal as Instructional Leader certificate are eligible to participate in this pilot. Individuals who hold a Principal certificate (having taken and passed the 068 exam) are not eligible. 

391 Core Subjects EC-6 TExES Preparation Manual available 
The preparation manual for the 391 Core Subjects EC-6 TExES is now available on the Texas Educator Certification Exam website. The preparation manual is web-based and responsively designed for viewing on multiple devices. A PDF version that includes the exam framework and sample exam questions will also be available for download. 

Science of Teaching Reading Letters of Attestation Due December 1, 2020.  
All EPPs that are currently approved to offer preparation in any of the following House Bill 3 impacted certification fields are required to submit a Letter of Attestation to the TEA to indicate their ability and readiness to successfully prepare candidates for certification in these fields.  

  • 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   

EPPs received the STR Letter of Attestation document in December 2019. The STR Letter of Attestation template can be found at the following link: link 

EPPs that choose not to prepare candidates in these fields that require successful completion of the STR exam by not submitting the STR Letter of Attestation will be removed from the ability to certify candidates in these areas. 

Candidates must be granted eligibility in ECOS prior to registering for edTPA. Currently if the Educator Preparation Membership Application is not at Implementation Level, the onboarding process cannot be completed; however, candidates granted eligibility can register for edTPA although the program will not have access to edTPA performance data. Therefore, beginning in April, the program granting eligibility must also be fully onboarded with edTPA for candidates to register for edTPA.  

The steps for programs to fully onboard with edTPA can be found below: 

  • Go to http://edtpa.aacte.org/
  • Select ‘Join edTPA’ 
  • Then, select ‘Educator Preparation Program Membership Application’ 
  • Complete required fields 
  • In the field ‘Membership Level Requested,’ select ‘Implementation Level’ 
  • ‘Submit’ Membership Application 

Educator Certification

Information and updates related to Educator Certification 

Certification Assignment Flexibility
As district staffing needs have continued to evolve due to the pandemic, there have been some questions about what opportunities exist for certification assignment flexibility. Although these options do not provide flexibility in the case of special education, bilingual education, or English as a Second Language assignments, the SY 20-21 Certification Assignment Flexibility Guidance provides options that present flexibility for some of the most common scenarios related to educator certification flexibility.  

Recommendation Support 
Did you know that you can easily identify candidates with pending certification recommendations?  

  • Login to ECOS Entity (your secure green screen online access) 
  • On the left side of your entity main menu, look for the Standard Certification, Intern, and Probationary tabs 
  • Click on the down arrow, then click on Recommendation List 
  • When the page loads, on the right side, you will be able to populate the School Year and Select Only sections 
  • For School Year, select either 2019-2020 or 2020-2021; and for Select Only, use Not Recommended  
  • This will display your list of candidates for a particular school year that need your support with an online recommendation for certification 
  • Each candidate’s name is an active link that you can click on to provide the required information to complete your entity recommendation for certification 
  • Once you have entered all required information, please click on the green “Recommend” button at the bottom of the page 

We recommend EPPs check this queue on a weekly basis, to manage and complete required entity recommendations on candidate requests for certification.

Updates About SBEC, Rules, and Legislation

Updates related to actions by the State Board for Educator Certification, the State Board of Education, and the Legislature. 

SBOE Action - Updates to Chapter 228 
The State Board of Education (SBOE) met from September 8-11. At that meeting, the SBOE reviewed and took no action on the amendments to the rules approved by the SBEC. The rules will now go into effect on October 15, 2020. These actions included new and updated content into 19 TAC Chapter 228. We will highlight two of the approved revisions in this newsletter in more detail and will highlight together approved changes in upcoming newsletters! 

  • Update to Chapter 228.30(c)(3) related to educator preparation curriculum: this requires that the curriculum taught to prepare educator candidates include training in mental health, substance abuse, and youth suicide as outlined in HB18.
  • Update to 228.30(d)(4) and 228.30(e): this clarifies that the curriculum EPPs provide must include the skills and competencies reflected in Chapter 235, Classroom Teacher Certification Standards and Chapter 241, Certification as Principal. There is no action an EPP needs to take as long as the EPP ensures that the curriculum they are providing to candidates is based on the SBEC-approved curriculum standards for teacher and principal preparation in Chapters 235 and 241.

Additional changes to rules that impact EPPs were highlighted at the Form and Function Webinar on 9/30/2020. Slides from the webinar are posted here. We will continue to share more in-depth information about these updates in future newsletters. 

Meeting of the EPAC
The Educator Preparation Advisory Committee met on September 25, 2020. A recording of the meeting is available here.


Every newsletter we take this space to highlight one or two questions that we have heard from EPPs. 

Q: If an amendment or correction is needed for a candidate’s intern or probationary certificate, when does the Letter of Request and fee need to be submitted to TEA? 
A: Effective May 17, 2020, Amending or correcting a candidate’s intern or probationary certificate requires a Letter of Request and $78 fee be submitted to TEA within six weeks of the issuance date or within six weeks of the assignment change [19 TAC §230.104(b)]. Please submit all certificate certifications requests to Preparation Programs in TEAs Help Desk with the candidate’s SOE and a letter of request on EPP letterhead with the following information: date, candidate’s full name, TEA ID #, correction information, and the reason for the certificate correction.  

Q: I would like to review the information provided in the Form and Function webinar. Where can I find the Form and Function webinar? 
A: Slides from the Form and Function webinar can be found under the EPP Training Events and Materials section on TEA’s Program Provider Resources page (link). 

EPP Points of Contact

Your best source for information and support at the TEA 

As an Educator Preparation Program, your main point of contact is your Program Specialist.  

To view a list of EPPs and their associated Program Specialist, please click here.   

For easiest assistance, file a HelpDesk Ticket. 

For More Information

Information regarding educator certification testing can be accessed at the Texas Educator Certification Exam website

Information regarding the Science of Teaching Reading Exam can be accessed at tea.texas.gov/str

Information regarding edTPA 2020-2021 information opportunities can be accessed here

Information and updates regarding the Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL) can be accessed at the Important Updates link. 

Updated information related to the COVID-19 response can be accessed here.

From Our Programs

When possible, we present updates and shared practices from EPPs around Texas. If you have information you would like to share in this space, please reach out to your program specialist.

Help Desk Link