New guidance for educator preparation programs

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March 30, 2020


As new developments continue to emerge with the outbreak of COVID-19, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is providing additional guidance for preparation programs and educator candidates.

We have created a page on our website housing all prior news releases, guidance, emergency rulemaking, and resources concerning the coronavirus outbreak. View our website.

This email addresses the following topics:

Conditional acceptance

Preparation program providers are now planning for, recruiting, and admitting their next group of educator candidates. In doing this, it is important to consider timelines, program format, and candidate opportunities for field experience in light of challenges related to the coronavirus outbreak.

What assessment is required for full acceptance?

A candidate is required by state law to take a basic skills assessment for full acceptance into a teacher preparation program. Candidates may choose to submit evidence of taking an approved alternative or equivalent basic skills test. Assessment results do not expire. Candidates may submit assessment results from any point in the past.

Can preparation programs offer conditional acceptance?

Yes. Preparation programs may offer conditional acceptance to candidates who have not taken the basic skills assessment. For annual data reporting, preparation programs should note candidates with conditional acceptance in the admission file decision element as “2”, meaning they have been conditionally accepted. 

Preparation programs can offer full acceptance to a candidate once they have completed the basic skills assessment requirement. The basic skills assessment must be met prior to program completion and residency certification. Candidates who do not meet one or more of the assessment requirements may be eligible for a one-year emergency certificate. 

Testing center information

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, Pearson suspended test delivery at all U.S. and Canada based Pearson VUE-owned test centers for 30 days. As a result, most test appointments in this timeframe have been cancelled. No fees will be incurred for rescheduling appointments. The WEST assessment website has guidelines on test center closings and rescheduling procedures.

edTPA guidance

Pearson has provided new guidance to support candidates and preparation programs who have been impacted by COVID-19. This guidance includes:

  • Ways candidates may collect and provide acceptable forms of evidence while teaching in a virtual learning environment
  • Extended registration
  • Additional submission windows

The Pearson edTPA team is hosting a webinar specifically for edTPA coordinators in Washington. Registration information was sent to designated edTPA coordinators, and a webinar recording will also be provided to them. For further information, please contact your program’s edTPA coordinator.

Emergency certificates and the dual endorsement requirement

The emergency certificate is a unique and temporary certificate. Preparation program providers may choose to recommend candidates for an emergency certificate as long as the candidate has met all program completion requirements, with the exception of one or more of the assessments. Find out more about emergency certificates.

Because it is not a residency certificate, the dual endorsement requirement does not apply to the emergency certificate. Candidates need to complete the dual endorsement requirement to obtain a residency certificate.

How can candidates be recommended in dual endorsement areas?

A program provider could follow this process to recommend a candidate.

  1. If a candidate has met all program completion requirements with the exception of one or more of the assessment requirements, the program could recommend the candidate for the emergency certificate. 
  • For the emergency certificate, a program could recommend in a single endorsement only, including special education, early childhood special education, English language learner, bilingual education, or science. 
  • Once a candidate has completed all requirements for program completion, including all  the assessment requirements, the program can recommend the candidate for a residency certificate.
  • The candidate needs to complete the dual endorsement requirement prior to obtaining the residency certificate. This could include passing a content knowledge assessment for a test-only endorsement, or completing an endorsement program for a program plus test endorsement. 
  • For more information, please see the dual endorsement FAQ.

    Fingerprint background checks

    Fingerprint-based background checks help safeguard our students and strengthen the integrity of our education system. Currently, most organizations who normally take fingerprints have stopped. OSPI has provided guidance related to this issue. For further information, please contact the OSPI certification office at and OSPI fingerprint records at

    Professional Educator Advisory Boards (PEABs)

    Due to health concerns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we recognize that it is in the best interest of public safety that PEAB meetings should be held in a virtual format. Please consider the following guidelines when planning and hosting a virtual PEAB meeting:

    • Be sure to record attendance, minutes, and recommendations as would be done in any PEAB meeting
    • Meals cannot be reimbursed
    • Update PEAB members on issues related to COVID-19, including waivers for clinical practice and coursework, emergency certification, and admittance of candidates for the 2020-21 academic year