SBEC moves edTPA forward again, but as an option to PPR exam | TCTA
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SBEC moves edTPA forward again, but as an option to PPR exam

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A year and a half after TCTA and others were successful in persuading the elected State Board of Education to unanimously reject a proposal by the appointed State Board for Educator Certification to replace the current teacher pedagogy certification exam with a controversial national performance assessment called edTPA, TEA staff reported to SBEC at its February 2024 meeting that its first attempt at identifying an entity to develop a Texas-specific performance assessment yielded no results.

Board members expressed surprise and skepticism about this news, questioning whether the process for identifying potential exam developers was free from bias and appropriately structured.

TCTA’s long-standing opposition to requiring a performance assessment as the only option for a pedagogy certification exam was reflected in testimony by the Texas Coalition for Educator Preparation, of which TCTA is a founding member. TCEP expressed concern about TEA’s last-minute change in the proposal to move edTPA out of “pilot status” to permanent status while also keeping the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam (PPR) as an option. TCEP emphasized that it was paramount for SBEC to overtly commit to keeping edTPA only as an option and not a requirement until another option for a pedagogy certification test was available. In response, several board members expressed their commitment. Chair Jean Streepey (a TCTA member) said it was the board’s intent to keep PPR as an option until another alternative to edTPA is approved.

After the SBOE rejected SBEC’s original proposal to require edTPA as the pedagogy certification exam for Texas in June 2022, the proposal went back to SBEC with direction from the SBOE to thoroughly explore other possible approaches that would not create the problems that had been articulated with requiring edTPA as a certification.

SBEC then took action at its Dec. 9, 2022, meeting to direct TEA staff to pursue implementing performance assessments, including a yet-to-be-developed Texas-specific performance assessment, as a certification exam. TCTA testified against the proposal, along with other members of TCEP. TCTA pointed out that by taking this course of action, SBEC was, once again, solely focused on performance assessments as certification exams, despite interest by stakeholders and some SBEC members in pursuing alternatives, such as updating/revising the current PPR.

The board gave TEA staff the go-ahead to initiate a public request process to identify educator performance assessments as educator certification examinations in addition to edTPA, and to initiate the procurement process for the development of a Texas Teacher Performance Assessment (TxTPA) as an educator certification examination in addition to edTPA.

In seeking qualified applicants to develop a Texas-specific TPA, TEA issued a Request for Proposal in September 2023, which remained open for several months.

At the December 2023 SBEC meeting, TEA staff presented SBEC with a rule proposal which included the requirement that the board would adopt a Texas-specific TPA by Sept. 1, 2026, along with a timeline in which edTPA would become operational and a TxTPA would be available at roughly the same time.

However, at the board’s February 2024 meeting, TEA staff reported that, upon learning that no entities qualified for the request to develop a Texas-specific performance assessment, staff felt it necessary to remove references to the TxTPA from the rule text. At the same time, staff removed language sunsetting the PPR so that it would remain an option.

Ultimately, the board voted to adopt the rules, sending them once again to the State Board of Education to act upon. The next meeting of the SBOE is scheduled to start on April 9, 2024, and TCTA/TCEP plans to be present to weigh in on the issue before the SBOE. At this point, it is an open question whether the SBOE will accept the resulting SBEC rules that will be presented to them.

Click here for more coverage from SBEC's February 2024 meeting.