The following sections are included on this page:
- Course Assessments/GPA Requirements
- Recommended Testing Schedule
- Program Benchmark Requirements
- State Certification Requirements
- Teacher Education Professional Attributes Policy
It is our goal in the UH Teacher Education program to guide you to develop as the most amazing professional educator possible, including not just your skill in teaching, but your responsibilities as a professional. The better a teacher you are, the better your future students will learn! To that end, ongoing assessment of our teacher candidates’ progress is built into the program in the form of a tiered model of multiple forms of assessment to help us—and you—to know how well you are progressing. The model includes Course Assessments, Program Benchmark Requirements, and State Exams.
Ultimately, in order to successfully be recommended by UH to be certified, you must be able to demonstrate your effectiveness as a teacher, including showing that children at the level and content you plan to teach can learn from you.
Each course on your degree plan will require you to demonstrate your learning of course concepts in a variety of ways (e.g., papers, products, portfolios, presentations, and exams). Course assessments reflect program, state, and national standards, and are assigned and graded by course instructors according to criteria set forth in each course syllabus.
All courses on the degree plan must be completed in the sequence specified. Core courses should be completed prior to the Pre-Teaching semester. Courses in the Pre- Teaching semester must be successfully completed in order to declare the Teaching and Learning major to continue in the Teacher Education program. Courses in the Teacher Education program are designed to be taken in the order specified and should be completed as listed on the degree plan.
Acceptance and continuance in the Teacher Education Program, as well as recommendation for state certification, requires a 2.50 overall GPA, as well as a 2.50 GPA in academic fields/specializations. Calculation of your GPA may not be as straightforward as you think, so please see your advisor to be sure you are meeting the GPA requirement.
While course assessments allow you to demonstrate your mastery of concepts learned in a particular course, the work of a teacher requires an integration of knowledge and skills; program benchmarks demand such a longitudinal demonstration of proficiency. By meeting with your education advisor every semester, you will ensure your timely progress toward meeting all required benchmarks. Benchmarks include, but may not be limited to: Admissions Interview, passing score on the Writing Assessment, acceptable GPA, successful course completion, passing scores on the Benchmark Exams, and satisfactory Professional Attributes.
Teacher Education Admissions Interview
Your success in any program depends on your compatibility or “fit” with the goals and expectations of the program. As one way to gauge such fit, each applicant to the Teacher Education Program will participate in an Admissions Interview during the Pre-Teaching semester in the program. Interviews will cover such areas as reasons for wanting to become a teacher and plans to be successful in the program. Specific procedures for scheduling an interview will be provided upon application to the Teacher Education program.
Teachers are judged on the accuracy of everything they write, whether it is a letter to parents or an email to a principal or a worksheet for students. Your written products— including, but not limited to, papers, lesson plans, and emails—must include appropriate and accurate spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, format, and English usage. All entering Teacher Education Candidates will complete the Teacher Education Writing Assessment during the Pre-Teaching semester. The Assessment is a computer-based timed composition (one hour) requiring the candidate to respond to one of a number of educationally-situated writing prompts. Each response will be scored by the UH Writing Center staff for clarity and conciseness, professional tone, organization, and grammar and mechanics. Candidates are not expected to have any prior specialized knowledge of teaching and may familiarize themselves with the Writing Assessment prompts ahead of time.
Satisfactory results on this Writing Assessment are required for advancement in the UH Teacher Education program. Based upon the results of this assessment, some candidates may be required to work with a trained tutor at the UH Writing Center. Through a series of tutorial intervention, as needed, candidates will achieve an acceptable level of writing performance.
The Writing Assessment will allow the Teacher Education Program to ensure—to both teacher candidates and to hiring school districts—that ALL UH Teacher Education graduates have demonstrated competence in written communication.
Benchmark Version Certification Exams
Benchmark Version Certification Exam Process
This section contains information about Benchmark Exams below. You will also find information about registering for the State Certification Exam (TExES Exams), and additional information about how to prepare for the TExES Certification Exam.
As part of your benchmark requirements for the Teacher Education program, you will take two benchmark, or “practice,” versions of the state certification exams. These exam instruments are purchased from the state and are comprised of items from the same set created for the official state of Texas certification exams. Benchmark exams are tools that allow you, and us, to be sure that you are ready to advance to the next phase of the program and also to take the official state exams. Once students pass these Benchmark exams, most are able to go on to pass the official state exams with very high pass rates.
Your performance on the Benchmark exams, and in turn the state exams, is very important to us. We track your scores on these tests closely so that instructors and advisors know how best to assist you.
All candidates must take two state certification exams, so therefore must take two corresponding benchmark version exams.
Professional Pedagogy and Responsibility (PPR)
All candidates will take the TExES EC-12 Professional Pedagogy and Responsibility (PPR) exam. During the Pre-Teaching semester, all candidates will be introduced to the format and structure of this exam through required program workshops. Course content during this semester is also aligned with the exam content. Candidates take the benchmark version of the exam according to a set schedule during the Pre-Teaching semester. At the beginning of the semester, all candidates will make a first attempt at the benchmark version at the UH Testing Center. (Although once approved, you may take the state exam whenever you wish prior to certification, we recommend taking the state exams as soon as possible after passing the Benchmark version so that you are as prepared as possible, and definitely before graduating in order to increase your job marketability.)
Candidates also need to take the appropriate content-specific (4-8, 8-12, EC-12) or Core Subjects (EC-6, EC-6 Bilingual) TExES exam. (A complete list of content-specific Benchmark exams offered through the University of Houston teacher preparation program can be obtained from the Teacher Education website.)
During the Student Teaching I semester, all candidates will be introduced to the format and structure of the appropriate content exams through required program workshops. Course content during methods courses taken this semester is also aligned with the exam content. Candidates take the benchmark version of the exam according to a set schedule during the Developing Teaching semester. At the beginning of the semester, all candidates will make a first attempt at the benchmark version at the UH Testing Center. (Although once approved, you may take the state exam whenever you wish prior to certification, we recommend taking the state exams as soon as possible after passing the Benchmark version so that you are as prepared as possible, and definitely before graduating in order to increase your job marketability.)
Note: EC-6 Bilingual Generalist are required to take the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT). Students pursuing French EC-12, Spanish EC-12, German EC-12, Italian EC-12, Latin EC-12 will take the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) specific to their language content area.
We believe that teacher candidates share a responsibility with preparing and passing their required exams. So, in addition to the preparation and benchmark exam structure the program follows, you may want to consider additional preparation. Think about how you best learn, and seek out that type of study environment and schedule. Begin preparing as early as possible to take these exams so that you can take advantage of the preparation opportunities we provide, and so that you will not have your progress delayed if you have any trouble passing the exams.
There are a number of preparation methods available to you:
- To begin your preparation, please visit the state website http://cms.texes-ets.org/prepmaterials/ to download free of charge the preparation manual for your specific exam. This manual will give you an overview of the exam, details about how the items are designed and organized, practice items, and discussion about the answers. Also check out their documents on Study Tips: Preparing for the Texas Educator Certification Tests andReducing Test Anxiety. TExES Practice Question eBooks available from ETS
- Please consider visiting The TExES Certification Review for Teachers (T-CERT), a review website where Texas teachers can receive remediation on specified TExES exams.
- We offer TExES review software in the CITE lab, that is freely available for you to use. The software allows you to take practice tests and gives you analysis on how well you did by competency. Ask at the front desk to be directed to the computers with the software.
- You may decide to purchase any of a number of TExES preparation books or materials. You can generally find these in the test preparation area of most bookstores, or by searching for the TExES exam online. Two books some students find helpful are:
- Nath, J. & Ramsey, J. (2010). Preparing to teach Texas content areas: The TExES EC-6 Generalist and the ESL supplement (2nd ed.). Pearson Custom Education.
- Nath, J. & Cohen, M. (2010). Becoming an EC-6 Teacher in Texas (2d ed.). Wadsworth Publishing.
- You may schedule a tutoring session on the specific content you need assistance with at the UH Tutoring Center. These sessions are free-of-charge (paid for out of student fees.) The Tutoring Center will also begin offering PPR-specific tutoring.
- Review your notes and textbooks! Our courses are aligned to the testing frameworks, so your coursework should have prepared you to take these exams. For EC-6 Generalists, also review elementary textbooks for content.
- Further, on your own you might consider searching for TExES preparation on the Internet and find a host of preparation opportunities. The Teacher Education Program does not endorse any outside preparation site, so please do your homework to research any site you are considering.
- You also will find it helpful to request a printout of your diagnostic results by competency from the University Testing Center—ask for details when you take your exam.
There are many ways for you to prepare to be successful on the certification exams, but you must take the process seriously and make it a priority in your professional life. All of your hard work in school up to now can best be put to use by progressing on in the program. Students who have not been successful may not be eligible to advance to the next phase of the program.
Certification is a process through which the State of Texas will authorize you to teach in a designated age level and content area. Certification is separate but related to your degree at the University of Houston. Once you complete our state-approved teacher preparation program, including all coursework on your degree or certification plan and all required benchmarks, our institution will recommend to the State Board for Educator Certification that you have completed all requirements and are eligible to be certified.
It is vital that you stay in contact with your education advisor and follow your degree or certification plan closely so that you do not miss any requirements, which could delay your certification.
Beyond satisfying course assessments and program benchmarks, all teacher candidates must take two official state examinations under the Texas Examination of Educators Standards (TExES) in order to be eligible to be recommended for state certification.
- Texas Administrative Code 230.5(b) requires every person seeking educator certification to perform satisfactorily on comprehensive examinations. The purpose of these examinations is to ensure that each educator has the prerequisite content and professional knowledge necessary to perform satisfactorily in Texas public schools. The Texas Examination of Educators Standards (TExES) was developed for this purpose.
- Determining Eligibility for the TExES: If you are completing program requirements for a standard certificate at a Texas college or university, you are a University- Based Initial Educator. Because you are a University-Based Initial Educator, you must obtain authorization from the Office of Student Services to take the state TExES exams.
All students seeking Texas Standard Teaching Certification or Professional Certification (i.e. Educational Diagnostician, Principal, etc.) must successfully complete the appropriate TExES exam.
- Please read the Guidelines for registering to take the TExES exam.
- More information about the exams may be found on the TExES Registration Bulletin.
Note: Students seeking teacher certification must pass the appropriate representative benchmark exams before they take the TExES exams.
Rules for Taking the Official State TExES Exams
- You must be a University of Houston student with a degree or certification plan on file.
- You may only register for tests indicated for your certification area. Please refer to your degree or certification plan to identify your required TExES exams.
- You must have taken and passed the appropriate University of Houston Benchmark exam with a minimum score of 240 to be eligible to receive approval for the official TExES exam.
- You may take only one (1) test per date.
- You must obtain registration approval for each test required for your certification area. Approval is given 1 to 2 weeks from the time your scores are received from the Testing Center.
- You must set up your educator profile at the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) website to obtain your TEA ID number which you will use to register at http://cms.texes-ets.org/. You must create an ETS personal testing account before you can access the online registration.
If you have any questions about this information, please contact: