Teacher Certification Redesign on the Horizon

January 17, 2019 • Jennifer Barton

teacher certification redesign

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently announced its plans to address teacher readiness and quality by establishing a new pathway to certification beginning in 2021–2022.

Aspiring teachers will complete an authentic, performance-based assessment process that will prepare them to apply the knowledge and skills obtained in their educator preparation program from day one of entering the classroom.

Why the change?

The TEA argues the current certification pathway for pre-service teachers isn’t consistently leading to a high level of teacher preparedness or student performance in the classroom. According to the TEA, the proposed teacher certification redesign will:

  • Make educator certification meaningful and consistent for all pre-service candidates
  • Align certification with classroom practices, expectations, and assessment
  • Accelerate the development and effectiveness of new teachers prior to entering the classroom

Primary goals for the redesign are to grow teacher five-year retention rates, increase student achievement, strengthen new teacher readiness, and close the gaps on teacher certification assessments. By redesigning the teacher certification pathway, new teachers will enter the classroom prepared and ready to meet the needs of any learner in the classroom.

A new certification model

In partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) and Pearson, TEA plans to adopt edTPA, a performance-based assessment requiring candidates to complete several tasks during clinical student teaching.  

Candidates will demonstrate classroom readiness in planning, instruction, and assessment by:

  • Creating and implementing differentiated lessons addressing individual student needs
  • Engaging students in ambitious and rigorous learning
  • Analyzing and adjusting instruction based on student performance and growth

Candidates will also submit a portfolio of items acquired during clinical teaching to include unedited video recordings of themselves at work in the classroom. Portfolios will be scored by highly skilled educators once candidates complete the process.  

Implementation timeline

The target for full implementation of the teacher certification redesign is 2021–2022. Candidates will register for edTPA and certify with completion scores only. In the following year, scoring will go into effect with a cut scale yet to be determined. Prior to full implemention, candidates can elect to take the current Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) or choose to participate in edTPA at the discretion of their educator preparation program.

Benefits of the new pathway

The outlook is positive about the new changes to the teacher certification design. With a focus on the development of quality teachers, school districts will experience more satisfaction in hiring, recruiting and retaining quality talent, and student achievement across the state will improve.

For more information about the teacher certification redesign or edTPA, check out the edTPA website or visit TEA.


Jennifer Barton is a compensation and HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Jennifer an email at jennifer.barton@tasb.org.

Tagged: Certification, Hiring, "Teacher certification", "Teacher training"