Texas moves one step closer to adopting a new, more rigorous teacher certification exam

Kindergarten teacher Angie Hogan read a book to her class last September at Highland Village Elementary. The State Board for Educator Certification has adopted the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment in an effort to better prepare new teachers and keep them in the profession. (Shelby Tauber For The Texas Tribune, Shelby Tauber For The Texas Tribune)

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A state board on Friday voted in favor of requiring a new teacher certification exam in an effort to better prepare new teachers and keep them in the profession.

The 11-member State Board for Educator Certification, which oversees the preparation, certification and standards of conduct of public school educators, adopted the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment, also known as the edTPA exam, in a 8-to-1 vote. Board member Tommy Coleman was not present, and board member Jean Streepey abstained.

The State Board of Education must still approve the test before it’s officially adopted for new Texas teachers. The board is expected to consider the matter in June.

This new licensing test would replace the old Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam, a test of 100 multiple choice questions that has been in use since 2002. Critics of the PPR teacher certification exam have called it a less-than-precise way of testing a new teacher’s potential. All 100 questions on the test are multiple choice, making it easier to pass.

The edTPA, which was developed at Stanford University, requires teachers to submit answers to essay questions and provide a sample lesson plan, a 15-minute video of themselves teaching in the classroom and a report on their students’ progress.

Proponents of the new exam say it will better support and retain new teachers because it can pinpoint exactly what a teacher lacks through the video recordings and written analyses provided. Those against the edTPA say it creates a barrier for people of color entering the profession because it costs nearly $200 more than the PPR. It has been scrapped in New York and Washington, two states where it had been required.

If it’s approved by the State Board of Education, the edTPA will become an optional test in 2022-23 and then be required as a pass/fail exam in 2023-24 before it’s fully implemented in 2024-25.

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