November 3, 2020: Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

Texas Education Agency

November 3, 2020

Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

student at computer, remote learning


With the upcoming introduction of the Science of Teaching Reading requirement for some certifications, many EPPs have reached out to ask, “What should we be doing right now?” Over the coming weeks, we would like to provide some clear guidance for EPPs that should help to keep you and your candidates on track as this deadline approaches. We can consider this the STR Task of the Week! 

This week: Have every candidate log in to ECOS! Some candidates may not have previously created an ECOS account. Other candidates may have multiple accounts and will need to file a Help Desk ticket to merge those accounts. Candidates may have forgotten their password and will need to request a reset. All these things can take up precious time, but if candidates log in to ECOS this week, they should be able to identify these issues, if they exist, and work to fix them now. 

STR Task of the Week: Support all your candidates in logging in to their ECOS account. 

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Educator Preparation Program Listserv Registration  

Table of Contents

Upcoming Events

11/10/2020: Records Retention and Evidence webinar, 10am – 11am, sign-up here 

11/13/2020: Time updated: STR Webinar Series: Reading Pedagogy and Constructed Response Deep Dive10:30 am – 12:00 pm.  

Upcoming Deadlines

Topic Action Item Due Date
Educator Testing Continue to communicate with all candidates who are impacted by the STR exam transition. ASAP
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 

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

Updates related to Educator Preparation Program Management  

Continuing Approval Reviews 
We are now one month into the 2020-2021 review cycle. A big “Thank You” to the EPPs we have already reviewed – just be sure to keep track of when your next steps are due! New for 2020-2021 is the addition of the virtual on-site review. In the current public health conditions, being physically present may not be a viable option for some of the on-site reviews we will do this year. To address this concern and to stay true to the requirement in TAC for five-year reviews, we have developed a way to conduct the on-site review remotely utilizing synchronous digital platforms (i.e., Zoom or Microsoft Teams) to communicate with the EPP.  

During a virtual on-site review, TEA staff review documents and records compiled by the EPP. We also interview EPP staff members and instructors regarding EPP internal processes and curriculumTEA staff conduct an exit conference with the EPP staff on the last day remotely and review the findings and compliance plan as needed. By conducting the virtual on-site review in the same manner and process we follow for a physical on-site review, we can ensure that the EPP gets the same high quality and in-depth look that will provide meaningful feedback toward continuous improvement. We have already conducted two successful virtual on-site reviews so far this academic year. See your assigned program specialist if you have any questions about the new virtual on-site review process. 

Clarification on candidates completing internships in December 2020: 
A number of school districts and EPPs have reached out for clarification about the end dates related to internships for candidates who began at the start of the spring semester in 2020. This question is of particular importance with the forthcoming STR requirement, acandidates, EPPs, and districts are working to get standard certifications for all eligible educators in the impacted fields. 

If your EPP has candidates who began their internship on the first day of the spring semester in January 2020 and have successfully completed all requirements for certification by the end of the fall semester, 2020, they can apply for and be recommended for standard certificates at the end of the fall semester, prior to 1/1/2021.  

Additionally, if you have late-hire candidates who started their internships in January or February, your EPP may permit the internship to be up to 30 school days fewer than the minimum. Please see 19 TAC 228.35(e)(2)(B)(I). 

Please review the start dates and end dates for your interns carefully, as this may impact your recommended pathways for candidates and districts related to the forthcoming STR exam requirement for certification. 

ASEP Technology Fee 
TEA has distributed invoices to programs for the ASEP Technology fee. As a reminder, this fee, per 19 TAC 229.9, is $35 per admitted candidate. We directly invoice programs for this fee following the end of the academic year. The number of candidates is taken directly from the number of individuals reported as admitted by your educator preparation program in the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS).  

Invoices were distributed to program legal authorities on October 16, 2020. If your program admitted candidates in 2019-2020 but your legal authority did not receive an invoice, please file a HelpDesk Ticket. 

New this year is guidance on how to make this payment using an ACH method, along with how to pay by check. TEA cannot accept credit card payments for this fee.  

Thank you to the EPPs who have already submitted payment for this fee. As a reminder, these invoices have a due date of 11/16/2020. 

Educator Standards and Testing

Updates related to Educator Standards and Certification Testing

Updates Regarding Representative Exams Impacted by the House Bill 3 STR Exam Requirement: 
The following TExES certification exams have been reviewed and updated to ensure that candidates will not be tested on duplicative content now included in the STR exam.  

  • Core Subjects: Grades 4–8 (211) 
  • English Language Arts and Reading: Grades 4–8 (117) 
  • English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies: Grades 4–8 (113) 
  • Core Subjects: Early Childhood–Grade 6 (391) 

In accordance, TEA and Pearson reviewed the current representative examinations for 211, 117, and 113 with the following outcomes listed in the link under the tab: “Representative Exams Impacted by House Bill 3 (10/27/20): 

During the week of October 19-23, all programs should have received a send blast from Pearson with the information contained in the link. Pearson will also redistribute this communication in their November newsletter.  

STR Webinar Series: Reading Pedagogy and Constructed Response Deep Dive 
The next session in our STR training series is approaching on Friday, November 13, 2020 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. The training focuses on unpacking the knowledge and skills teachers need to address student learning needs through the analysis of individual student reading assessment data. Participants will have the opportunity to connect how a pre-service teacher's deep understanding of these practices will support their approach to the Constructed Response portion of the STR Exam.  

The link to register for the webinar is here: STR Constructed Response Deep Dive.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

Registration for the Pearson Bi-Monthly Newsletter 
Pearson regularly sends a newsletter with updates about TExES exam development and administration. If you have not already subscribed to their newsletter, you may do so by emailing 

STR Exam Transition Communication Resources for EPPs  
TEA staff has developed a suite of STR exam related communication tools to support programs in communicating critical information that candidates pursuing certification in an HB3-impacted field need to know about the STR exam requirement. These tools can be accessed via the STR Exam webpage ( They include: 

  • A recorded webinar outlining timelines and requirements associated with the STR exam transition 
  • Informational one-pagers targeting groups of teacher candidates impacted by the STR exam transition 
  • A STR Exam FAQ document with information for EPPs, candidates, and LEAs  

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.  

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.  

The last administration period of the year for the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT) Spanish (190) exam will be between 11/30/20 – 12/13/20. Scores for this administration window will be available on 12/29/20. We recommend for you to review and advise candidates of the score reporting dates before registering and coordinate when your office will be open to recommend applications for eligible candidates.

Educator Certification

Information and updates related to Educator Certification 

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. 

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met on October 9, 2020The agenda for the meeting is hereDuring item 12 on the agenda, the SBEC approved the extension of the edTPA pilot for a third year, providing flexibility and a longer runway for programs participating in the edTPA pilot, due to the impact of COVID-19. At the December SBEC meeting, TEA staff will bring forward a rule action item codifying an updated edTPA pilot review date of September 2022.


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

Q: Our program would like to make sure our requirements are in alignment with TAC. Can we use the 2020-2021 Continuing Approval Rubric to as a guide to ensure we are in alignment? 
A: Yes, programs can use the rubric as an informal self-assessment to identify alignment to TAC. The rubric can be found on TEA’s Program Provider Resources page in the Forms and Documents section.  

Q: How should our EPP recommend an INT or PRO certificate for candidates who are certifying in the STR-related certificate areas and are not able to take the STR exam before the start of their Spring 2021 internship? 
A: Since the STR timeline is legislatively mandated, candidates in impacted fields will need to have their INT or PRO certificates issued before 1/1/2021 or they will need to complete the STR examIf necessary, you can list a future effective date for the certificate that corresponds with the candidate’s first day in the classroom with students for their Spring 2021 internship. We encourage EPPs to support their candidates in starting their job hunting early so that once they have a position confirmedyou as the EPP can recommend the certificate, and thcertificate can be issued by 12/31/20.

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 

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.  

As EPPS have revised their curriculum in preparation for the Science of Teaching Reading exam requirement, we have heard about some great things programs are doing to implement STR standards in course curriculumOnce such approach shared with us was from ESC 4 INSPIRE TEXAS, who shared about their newly developed STR course. 

Region 4 created and deployed an innovative Science of Teaching Reading curriculum. The INSPIRE TEXAS Science of Teaching Reading Course Features include: 

  • Thirteen modules tightly aligned to the Science of Teaching Reading Domains and Competencies 
  • Fifteen weeks of instructor-led virtual learning that can be delivered synchronously or asynchronously 
  • Each module includes a vocabulary survey of knowledge, interactive scenarios, lesson sequences, video content, analysis of student work samples, frequent checks for understanding and performance assessments 
  • The course does not require a textbook 
  • Constructed Response practice that has intentional scaffolding and embedded throughout the course 

Other EPPs are welcome to have their candidates access this curriculum regardless of program to begin establishing a benchmarking process once testing data become available. For more information, please contact Rebecca Hampton ( INSPIRE TEXAS by Region 4.  

Help Desk Link