December 8, 2020: Texas Educator Preparation Programs Newsletter

Texas Education Agency

December 8, 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 12/8Support your teacher candidates who may be issued a standard certificate in an HB 3 impacted field by 12/31/20 completing their fingerprinting requirement in a timely manner.  

All candidates are required to get fingerprinted and pass a background check prior to the issuance of a certificate. Candidates working to be certified in a HB3 impacted field will need to complete this process with plenty of time prior to 12/31/2020. 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. 

Previous STR Task of the Week:  
11/24 & 12/1Actively 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. 
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! 
11/3Support all your candidates in logging in to their ECOS account. 

If you are not currently subscribed to the newsletter, please sign up at the link below 
Educator Preparation Program Listserv Registration  

Table of Contents

Upcoming Events

12/9/20: EPP Reminders for HB3 Impacted Candidates Webinar: This webinar will 
concrete suggestions for actions that EPPs can take now to assist teacher candidates who may be issued a standard certificate in an HB 3 impacted field by 12/31/20To 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 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  

Additional Recommended EPP Actions in Preparation for the 12/31/2020 STR 
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 supporting past finishers.  

  • EPPs should compare Finisher Records lists (FRL) from past years with lists of certified candidates to identify any finishers in the impacted fields who are not yet certified. The FRL may be sorted by certificate area to focus on the STR-impacted certificate areas. EPPs should reach out and communicate directly with identified finishers and current candidates with relevant STR information and support them in applying for their certificate. Remind past candidates that they must apply and pay the certificate fee, be recommended by their EPP, complete fingerprinting, and have the certificate issue by 12/31/2020 to avoid the STR examination requirement.  
  • EPPs can use resources that TEA has created in communicating with candidatesFor example, you can email the appropriate STR one-page document (see the bottom of this pageto all of your candidates, past and present, or send the link to the same information on the TEA STR websiteEPPs often have updated contact information for candidates that TEA does not have if candidates do not keep ECOS records updated. 
  • Issuance of the STR-impacted certificates requires a conferred bachelor’s degree. EPPs should have a clear process worked out in advance with the university/college registrar about degree conferral dates so candidates graduating at the end of this semester will not get caught in a gap. 
  • Consider identifying EPP staff who can be available during the semester break in December to recommend last minute certificate applications if necessary. 

Webinar Announcement: EPP Reminders for HB3 Impacted Candidates  Register Now for the 12/9 Session 
Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this webinar on 12/9 that is dedicated to
reviewing a list of concrete STR reminders that EPPs can be doing now to help get every qualified candidate (current and past) in your program across the finish line for their standard certificate by the 12/31/2020 deadline. This webinar is appropriate for certification officers as well as other EPP staff who work with candidate recommendations.
Register now so you can be included in this event. Information to register can be found atRegistration Link. 

Educator Standards and Testing

Updates related to Educator Standards and Certification Testing

Pilot Test Administration: School Counselor (252) and Trade and Industrial (370)  
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.  

Pilot tests for School Counselor (252) and Trade and Industrial (370) will begin on 1/29/21, and TEA and Pearson are seeking participants for these important activities. 
Candidates currently enrolled in educator preparation programs for these fields will be able to sign up to take the pilot test soon. Candidate benefits of engaging in the pilot test include:  

  • providing input into an exam that will be taken by future educators 
  • gauging professional knowledge by taking actual test questions 
  • gaining practical testing experience 

Candidates can find out more information and register for a pilot test through the pilot test landing page: This webpage will be updated in January with additional information regarding candidate registration. 

Please note that participation in a pilot test does not satisfy certification requirements, and participants do not receive a score or a Pass/Fail status 

ELAR 7-12 Test Framework Open for Public Comment  
The ELAR 7-12 Test Framework is now posted for public comment here. The framework will be posted until 1/12/21. The ELAR 7-12 Test Framework will inform the development of the new 331 ELAR: 7-12 TExES exam. 

Save the Date: STR Webinar Series Trainings in 2021  
Thank you to all who engaged in our two STR Deep Dive training sessions in November. We will pick up our training cadence again in the new year. Please mark your calendars for the following dates and times: 

  • Oral and Written Communication Deep Dive: January 22, 2021: 10:00 am- 12:00 pm  
  • Text Comprehension and Analysis Deep Dive: March 5, 2021: 10:00 am- 12:00 pm  

To register for the Oral and Written Communication Deep Dive, click here. We look forward to engaging in these practice-based, collaborative trainings with you!  

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:  

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: 

  • New: A dedicated page for Texas LEAs with a FAQ document that addresses commonly asked questions from LEAs, including questions regarding the differences between the STR exam and Reading Academies HB3 mandates 
  • 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  

Did you know the Pearson website includes upcoming administration dates and score reporting dates for every exam in the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program? Go to this page, and expand the selection for AAFCS, PACT, TASC/TASC-ASL, TExES, or edTPA pilot. Selecting any given exam will display the score report dates for each range of administration dates, at least through the 2020-2021 academic year. The score reporting date is the earliest date that a candidate could receive a score report for an exam taken during the administration date range shown. 

Take note of the initial administration dates and score reporting dates for the following new exams all launching in January 2021. 


Administration Dates 

Score Reporting Date 

Core Subjects: EC-6 (391) 



Science of Teaching Reading 

1/1/2021 – 1/24/2021 


Early Childhood: PK-3 



Educational Diagnostician 



Educator Certification

Information and updates related to Educator Certification 

Candidate applications for certificates in categories that are being updated to require the STR exam are processed immediately once the applications are complete. Any incomplete applications for certificates in these categories will be deactivated following 12/31/2020.

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 next meeting of the State Board for Educator Certification is December 11, 2020. The agenda for this meeting is available on this page. A live webcast of the meeting will be available on this page.  

At the SBEC meeting in October, the Board directed TEA staff to pursue updating the structure and membership for the Educator Preparation Advisory Committee, or EPAC. More information about that work is available in the agenda item here. The updated nomination form is available for download here. The deadline for nominations is January 8, 2021. 


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

Q: In the event a Finisher in one program does not get certified under Core Subjects: EC-6 using the 291 Core Subjects: EC-6 TExES, could the candidate transfer to a new program and get certified in Core Subjects with the Science of Teaching Reading: EC-6 with the new 391 Core Subjects: EC-6 TExES?   
A: For 2021, 291 Core Subjects EC-6 functions the same way for certification as 391 Core Subjects EC-6. That is, either test can be used to fulfil the content pedagogy exam requirement for the Core Subjects with STR: EC-6 certificate. As with any certificate, a candidate may transfer programs. Please keep in mind that per 19 TAC §227.10(9)(c), An EPP may not admit an applicant who: (1) has been reported as completing all EPP requirements by another EPP in the same certification category or class, unless the applicant only needs certification examination approval. This means that if the candidate was a finisher (as specified in the question) the transfer could be for test approval only.    

Q: With the addition of the STR-impacted certificate areas to my program’s certificate inventory, what happens with the current certificates (ex: Core Subjects EC-6)? 
A: As of 12/31/2020 at 11:59 pm, the old certificate areas that have been impacted by the STR requirement will be removed from the program’s certificate inventory. Programs will not be able to recommend candidates for these certificates following 12/31/2020

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