State Board of Education To Mull New Teacher Certification Exam

HPISD’S Jean Streepey says change could address preparedness, retention

The State Board of Education will consider a new certification exam in hopes of better preparing new teachers and keeping them in the profession.

“We want to (staff) our classrooms with teachers who are well-trained and want to stay,” said Jean Streepey, a state and local leader.

The Highland Park ISD STEAM coach serves on the State Board for Educator Certification, which oversees public school educators’ preparation, certification, and standards of conduct.

“We know that teachers are the single most important factor in student outcomes,” Streepey said. When teachers come well prepared to teach, “everyone can work together for the benefit of the students.”

The 11-member board approved the adoption of the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment, also known as the edTPA exam, in an 8-to-1 vote on April 29, per the Texas Tribune. The test still needs State Board of Education (SBOE) approval before it’s officially adopted. The SBOE is expected to consider the issue in June.

We know that teachers are the single most important factor in student outcomes.

Jean Streepey

The edTPA exam, developed at Stanford University, requires would-be teachers to answer essay questions, submit sample lesson plans, provide a video recording of themselves teaching in a classroom, and analyze student progress.

The new test would replace the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam, which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, which Streepey said has a 90%+ pass rate.

Streepey said edTPA is a more precise way of measuring an aspiring teacher’s effectiveness than the old PPR exam.

“I’m a second-career teacher, and I depended on my preparation program,” Streepey added.

She said she hopes better preparing new teachers will also help lessen the burden on longer-serving teachers, who help train and mentor new teachers.

Streepey also serves on the state’s Teacher Vacancy Task Force, tasked with better understanding the staffing challenges in Texas public schools and making recommendations to address those issues. Launched March 10 with 28 members but only two teachers (including Streepey), the task force was expanded to include two dozen additional teachers after an uproar.

However, critics of the edTPA exam say it could create barriers to some teachers entering the profession because of cost. The exam has been scrapped in New York and Washington, two states where it had been required, the Texas Tribune reported.

If the State Board of Education adopts it, the edTPA exam would be an optional test alongside the PPR exam in 2022-2023 and required as a pass/fail exam in 2023-2024 before being fully implemented in 2024-2025.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

2 thoughts on “State Board of Education To Mull New Teacher Certification Exam

  • June 7, 2022 at 12:51 pm
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    Maybe they should try really listening to the teachers they have and giving them a voice BEFORE they decide to leave. Doesn’t do much good to add extra hurdles for qualified teachers to jump over before they’re hired. How does that help with retention?

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  • June 16, 2022 at 1:53 pm
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    Teaching in a Texas public school secondary classroom for twenty-eight years, serving as a mathematics coordinator in a large suburban school district for eight years, serving on SBEC’s initial committee to determine what to require of teachers to maintain their Texas teaching certification, and now, teaching future math and science educators at the University of North Texas, I have definite thoughts on this topic. While working on the State committee to determine what to require of teachers to maintain their certification in Texas, the committee quickly eliminated the idea of teachers submitting a professional development portfolio for the following reasons. The list should provide grounds for not approving this proposed testing format for certification.
    1. Who will score the essays, lesson plans, and videos, and what are the expectations for properly assessing student progress?
    2. How long will the scoring process take?
    3. What is the cost to have the number of graders necessary to turn around these documents promptly?
    4. Will two graders score each section with a third-grader standing by in the event of significant discrepancies in scoring?
    5. How will interrater reliability be established to assess each candidate fairly?
    6. Many different research-based methodologies exist for writing lesson plans, teaching lessons, and assessing progress. Who decides which method for each of these categories is the method of choice, or may the candidate choose to use any of the many methodologies without fear of failure due to selecting a lesson planning method, teaching method, or method of analysis that is not the grader’s preferred method?

    There are other concerns to address. Why is this drastic change necessary? When we need teachers desperately, the increased cost of this test for candidates and the anticipated delays in receiving scores seems not to favor getting qualified teachers in our classrooms. In addition, the lesson plans the teachers will write in their new positions will not mirror those on the test. The videos the candidates produce will more than likely be in their mentor teacher’s classroom. The candidate must follow the protocols set by the campus and the mentor teacher, thus not necessarily showing all they know to do. The candidate’s student success analysis will be a method approved by the district, campus, and mentor teacher, thus not necessarily depicting their methodology. Suppose the new test means to assess candidates on writing lesson plans, teaching, and determining student progress. In that case, the results reflect the candidate’s ability to follow the directions of those who mentor them.

    Pearson’s edTPA is not the answer for certifying teachers in Texas.

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