November 24, 2020: Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

Texas Education Agency

November 24, 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. This is the STR Task of the Week! 

STR Task of the Week 11/24: Actively communicate the STR exam requirement
to teacher candidates who may be issued a standard certificate in an HB 3 impacted field by 12/31/20. 

These candidates include: 

  • Teachers who were issued a probationary certificate in an HB3 impacted field in Spring/Summer 2020 under the Governor’s waiver of certification exam requirements (WPRO candidates) 
  • Previous finishers in the impacted fields 
  • Interns in the impacted fields completing their program 

These candidates will be required to take the STR exam for issuance of their standard teacher certificate unless they take action to have their standard certificate issued by 12/31/20. Please actively reach out to these teacher candidates to inform them of their need to act immediately, and make sure that you have recommended these candidates for standard certification. The STR Exam One-Pager for WPRO Candidates and Previous Finishers are great tools to communicate this requirement. 

Please Note: TEA has directly emailed these candidates and encouraged them to work with their EPP to obtain standard certification recommendation and/or necessary test approval. Please follow up directly with these candidates. TEA is planning to send EPPs 
lists of WPRO candidates and finishing interns to support EPP communication with these groups. 

Previous STR Task of the Week:  
11/17: Have your eligible candidates complete their certificate application in ECOS. 
11/10: Ensure that every candidate has tested – or has a testing plan! 
11/3: Support all your candidates in logging in to their ECOS account. 

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Table of Contents

Upcoming Events

12/9/20: STR Reminders Webinar: Things you need to know!! This webinar will provide 
concrete suggestions that EPPs can be doing now to assist qualified candidates as we move closer to the 12/31/20 deadline. To register, please go to: 
Registration Link

12/11/20: December State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) Meeting (the meeting webcast can be viewed here, beginning at 8:30am) 

Upcoming Deadlines

Topic Action Item Due Date
Educator Testing Continue to communicate with all candidates who are impacted by the STR exam transition, including December Finishers and WPRO teachers. ASAP
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 intern, probationary, or 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  

Huge Thank You to all the EPPs Statewide! 
Thanks to each of you, we are thrilled to announce that we have STR Letters of Attestation on file from 100% of the EPPs in the state that have these certificate areas! This is big accomplishment, and we want to say how much we appreciate the programs for submitting their letters to us ahead of the 12/1/2020 deadline. By having your Letter of Attestation on fileyour EPP will have the new STR-related certificate 
 added to your certificate inventory and ready for youaccess going into 2021. Congratulations and thanks so much! 

Paying Certification Fees and Other Payments in ECOS 
We have received a couple of questions related to EPPs making payments related to certification in ECOS. If an EPP is paying for a certificate correction, they should use the 
Miscellaneous Fees Payment option. The Miscellaneous Fees Payment option will not work for paying for a new certificate application. EPPs can pay for active applications by using the “Pay for now” option, but the billing information would be retained in the 
candidate’s file.

Using the incorrect option for payment will slow down the issuance or correction of the certificate. If you have any question about what payment option to use in a scenario, please file a HelpDesk Ticket. 

Additional Recommended EPP Actions in Preparation for the 12/31/2020 STR Deadline 
As the clock continues to count down to 12/31/2020, there are additional actions that we recommend for EPPs to help support eligible candidates in getting certified before the deadlineWe will continue to include additional suggestions and best practices in 
upcoming newsletters. Today, we are focusing on planning ahead for fingerprinting to avoid delays in certificate issuance by 12/31/2020.  

  1. EPPs should be sure to inform candidates of the fingerprinting requirement. 
    Certificates will not issue until fingerprinting has been completed and the background check has been cleared. ECOS will prompt candidates to pay the fingerprinting fee and schedule an appointment if necessary when applying for the certificate. Candidates should pay this fee and schedule the appointment as soon as possible to minimize delays. 
  2. EPPs can check if the fingerprint process is complete by using the Educator Information / Educator Search button in ASEP. Enter the candidate’s TEA ID # or SSN in the Educator Search field and click on the Fingerprint Status tab to view the candidate’s current fingerprint status.  
  3. If the background check process identifies the need for further investigation, this will take additional time. Candidates should be reminded that they need to plan ahead and allow time for the investigation to be completed. EPPs can recommend the certificate but remember that the certificate will not issue until SBEC
    Investigations clears the status. 

Educator Standards and Testing

Updates related to Educator Standards and Certification Testing

Representative Exams and Interactive Practice Exam Availability for Early Childhood: PK-3, Educational Diagnostician, and Science of Teaching Reading  
Representative Exams and Interactive Practice Exams will be available for 292 Early Childhood: PK-3, 253 Educational Diagnostician, and 293 Science of Teaching Reading 
TExES exams beginning April 2021.  

New interactive practice exams will be available here on the Pearson website
Information about new representative examinations is also available on the Pearson website.

To order a representative examination, authorized representatives from SBEC-approved EPPs can send a request for an order form to estestvoucher@pearson.comAdditional information regarding ordering the above representative exams will be made available in early 2021. 

Candidate Name and ID Policies 
Candidates are responsible for ensuring that the name shown in their testing account exactly matches (excluding suffix, middle name or initial, spaces, and special characters such as hyphens, accents, and apostrophes) the first and last name on the ID documents that will be presented at the test center. 

If their ID documents do not match the first and last name used when they registered, they will be prohibited from testing and their exam fees will be forfeited. 

A name change request can be submitted along with a copy of their current ID here at least 12 business days before their exam date. 

Candidate Exam Eligibility 
If a candidate has scheduled for an exam with Pearson and the exam approval is removed in ECOS by the EPP, the exam appointment will be automatically withdrawn. If the withdrawal occurs at least 48 hours before the scheduled exam appointment, the candidate will receive a refund in accordance with the Withdrawal/Refund Policy. 

STR Constructed Response Deep Dive Recording and Related Training Resources 
Thank you to everyone who participated in the STR Constructed Response Deep Dive training on November 13, 2020. Please make sure to complete the survey linked here to help us plan for future deep dive trainingsThe PDF of the training presentation can be accessed here: STR CR Deep Dive Training PPT. In addition, we plan to update the STR FAQ document on the STR exam webpage with questions posed during the training.  

For those who could not attend the training, we have recorded an asynchronous version that will allow participants to engage in the training content. Please download the participant’s guide in advance of engaging in the training. The asynchronous STR Constructed Response Deep Dive links are listed below:  

Ed Diagnostician and EC-3 Exam Administration Windows and Introductory Periods  
Beginning January 2021, the new 253 Educational Diagnostician TExES and 292 Early Childhood: PK-3 TExES exams will be operational. These exams will be administered during set administration windows throughout the year. For the full list of exam administration windows for each exam, please visit the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program page.  

In addition, to support the transition to implementation of these new certification exams for their associated certificate fields, there will be an eight-month introductory period, similar to the STR exam, during which candidates will need to meet a minimum cut score, to obtain a “pass” on the exam. A “pass” during the introductory period can be used for issuance of the intern, probationary, or standard certificate. During the introductory period, candidates will still receive a score report that will include raw scores by competency as well as an overall “pass” or “fail” to inform candidate and program development.  

Beginning September 2021, a scaled score will be established for these new exams, after which, candidates will need to meet a specified scaled score to pass the exams and a candidate’s exam score report will include both the scaled score and Pass/Fail status. 

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  

The last administration date for the current Educational Diagnostician (153) exam will be December 31, 2020.  

The first administration of the new Educational Diagnostician (253) will be on January 25, 2021.

Educator Certification

Information and updates related to Educator Certification 

There is no new educator certification information to share at this time. 

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 of Education (SBOE) met from November 17-20. As a result of this meeting, the updates to Texas Administrative Code Chapters 239, 231, and 229 that had been approved by the SBEC will be effective December 27, 2020 

The updates to TAC 239 provide for the requirements and validity period for Legacy Master Teacher certificate holders. 

The updates to TAC Chapter 231 implement the statutory requirements in House Bill (HB) 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, that requires that all master teacher certificates be designated as "legacy" certificates and recognized for assignment purposes until they expire. The revisions also incorporate courses approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE), add certificate areas to the list of credentials appropriate for placement into an assignment, and reorganize current provisions to improve readability and align citations. 

The updates to 1TAC Chapter 229 provide for adjustments to the 2019–2020 Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP) due to Governor Abbott's disaster declaration related to COVID-19; include an accountability indicator for EPPs based on the improvement in achievement of students taught by beginning teachers; provide an index for the determination of EPP accreditation status; and provide updates to the ASEP manual.  

More information about these updates will be shared in coming weeks in this space. 
Information about the November SBOE meeting is available here. 


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

Q: Is there an updated Request for Correction (RFC) data fix form? I need to correct a candidate for the 19-20 year and there is not an option for 19-20 year. 
A: TEA is currently working on creating an updated form. Until this update is made, please add the candidate information and then in the Notes box, indicate the year for which the correction needs to be made.  

Q: Where can I find information related to the new Special Education Standards and the timeline for certification exam development? 
A: The SBEC has adopted new Special Education EC-6 and 6-12 standards, which 
became effective on Oct. 15, 2020. These standards serve to replace previous Special Education EC-12 standards. The standards were developed by committees of educators and went through multiple rounds of feedback from stakeholders and the SBEC. The standards can be viewed here. Moving forward, TEA staff, in partnership with the testing vendor and stakeholders, will begin to develop the special education certification exams aligned with these standards. Educator certification exam development is a multi-year processDuring the development process, candidates may continue to be certified in Special Education EC-12 with the current certification exams. We plan to provide timely 
updates and important information through this newsletter.  

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.

Help Desk Link