The Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) enacted new rules at their October 2019 meeting that affect all new teachers starting in January 2020. The rules will have to be approved by the Texas State Board but they normally approve things like this from SBEC. The rules involve teachers who go through an Alternative Certification Programs (ACP) in Texas and focus on subject matter mastery.
All teachers in Texas must demonstrate subject matter mastery prior to teaching through an ACP. In the past you were able to do that by having 12-15 hours of subject-specific coursework in the area you are seeking certification OR you could pass a content specific teacher certification exam. Those exams also had some content specific pedagogy embedded in the exam so you were allowed to work on your alternative certification program (ACP) while you studied that test and then could take and pass the test prior to seeking your Intern certificate.
As of January 1, 2020 – you will not have that option. You will have to demonstrate subject matter mastery prior to being admitted to an approved Texas ACP.
So – to be admitted you must have the standard 2.5 GPA and you must have the 12-15 hours of content or you must pass a content specific test. These new tests will be available and are outlined in the rule changes here.
Not a huge change BUT if you don’t have the 12-15 hours you now have to take 2 tests which essentially doubles your testing cost – you would take and pass the new subject matter test prior to admission to your ACP and then pass the content specific pedagogy test prior to getting your internship license.
So people may want to get admitted to an ACP program before December 31, 2019 to avoid that cost.
One benefit of the new method is that ACP’s are only accountable for tests while someone is admitted to the program. So the limit on attempts for passing the new subject matter test would not count against the program which may help some candidates in getting into a program.
This new method is called PACT or PACTing in – PACT stands for Pre Admission Content Test just so you know.
There are some certifications that will not have the option for PACT – those include special education which does not lend itself to a subject matter specific test. Additionally, due to the broad content knowledge required for elementary education, a basic skills assessment will be used for admission and due to the low number of test takers for some language assessments, the current content pedagogy exam will still be used.
So there ya have it – more changes from SBEC – could help some, could cost more to others to even get started towards the teaching career. The main thing to remember is that it does go into effect on January 1, 2020 so if you want to beat the change – get started now!