This article was updated on April 30, 2022.
Despite fierce opposition from education stakeholders, including TCTA, the State Board for Educator Certification took action at its April 29, 2022, meeting to finally adopt the performance assessment exam edTPA to replace the current Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam starting in 2023-24. The vote was not unanimous and several key board members were absent. However, the measure will not go forward if rejected by the State Board of Education at its June 2022 meeting.
Stakeholders have already been working with SBOE members in advance of their June meeting to apprise them of the negative consequences of implementing a costly and burdensome performance assessment certification exam at a time when educator shortages are at crisis levels. TCTA has long maintained that, while we are in support of higher standards for entry into the profession, the profession itself must be made more attractive first by improving compensation and working conditions. TCTA will continue to be involved in this issue and will report to members as developments occur.
In its third year of being piloted in Texas, edTPA was initially approved by SBEC at its February 2022 meeting. Under the proposal, teacher candidates would be required to successfully pass edTPA starting in the 2024-25 school year. edTPA, a subject-specific, grade-banded performance assessment, is owned by Stanford University/Scale and administered by Pearson. It includes a video recording of the candidate’s teaching, along with a series of lesson plans and commentary/reflection. It has been used in a number of states, although several of these states have now either eliminated edTPA or are in the process of eliminating it.
When edTPA was introduced, TCTA joined a broad coalition of stakeholders in expressing concerns about using it as a certification test. Concerns include the increased cost to teacher candidates by an additional $195 at a time when teacher shortages are at crisis levels; concerns about the validity of the test and its appropriateness for teacher certification; evidence of negative effects on teacher production numbers, especially for non-white teachers (Marder & Rhodes, 2018); and adverse effects on student learning.
TCTA testified during the December 2021 meeting that putting up an expensive barrier to a profession that is extremely fragile without meaningfully addressing ways to make the profession more attractive could prove disastrous.
Several alternative approaches have been presented to the board for consideration, including one by Sam Houston State University that has been in development alongside the edTPA pilot. The SHSU proposal would require a performance assessment meeting certain criteria as part of educator preparation program requirements, but not for licensure.
SHSU and other educator preparation programs have long-used various informal types of performance assessments, with one of the most prevalent being those aligned with T-TESS, the state-recommended teacher appraisal system.
Additional proposals include restructuring the current PPR exam to add constructed responses and, in the interim, raising the passing score on the PPR.
At its February 2022 meeting, SBEC members asked TEA staff to bring a proposal back to them at the April meeting that reflects the attributes of these alternative approaches and can be implemented along the same timeline as edTPA.
TCTA and a vast number of stakeholders signed on to a joint letter to SBEC urging it to delay moving forward with edTPA at April's meeting until the board has an opportunity to consider the formalized alternative approach requested by SBEC members in February.
TCTA congratulates member Jean Streepey of Highland Park ISD, who was elected chair of the State Board for Educator Certification during the April meeting. Streepey was appointed to SBEC in May 2020. Her current term ends Feb. 1, 2025. Streepey also was appointed to TEA's Teacher Vacancy Task Force.
SBEC authorized TEA staff to establish an Educator Standards Advisory Committee for the Bilingual Special Education certificate area in response to HB 2256, which requires the implementation of a new Bilingual Special Education educator certificate.
This new certification area would ensure that there are teachers with special training in providing instruction to students of limited English proficiency with disabilities. The committee will develop educator standards aligned with statute and advise on issues related to the certificate area more broadly.
TEA staff is seeking committee member applications through June 1. TEA staff will review applications and recommend 8-12 committee members to SBEC for approval at its July meeting. Click here to access the application.