Texas Teacher Preparation Brief

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Prepared By: Christina Ellis | Adrianna Chrestopoulos | John Petree

Teacher Preparation in Texas

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Research consistently demonstrates that teachers are the greatest in-school predictor of student learning, and teachers’ potential impact on student learning grows as they gain more experience (Kini & Podolsky, 2016). Although the percentage of experienced Texas teachers has increased slightly in recent years, over one-third of Texas teachers have zero to five years of experience (Texas Education Agency, 2021c). These novice teachers are more likely to be assigned to teach the pre-K-12 students of greatest need: students from low socio-economic backgrounds and students of color (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007; Goldhaber, Lavery, & Theobald, 2014; Van Overschelde, 2022a). Additionally, the demand for teachers is increasing, with public schools in the state adding 6,274 teaching positions from 2019–20 to 2020–21 (Texas Education Agency, 2021c). The increased demand for teachers, coupled with teachers’ immense potential effect on student learning makes teacher preparation imperative for both educational policy and practice. Understanding the state of each phase of the teacher preparation and certification process is essential to supporting efforts to build a more diverse and effective teacher workforce.

Understanding the state of each phase of the teacher preparation and certification process is essential to supporting efforts to build a more diverse and effective teacher workforce. In Texas, teachers can be prepared through three routes: traditional, alternative, and post-baccalaureate. The table below represents the structures of these three routes. Definitions of each type of clinical experience can be found in the Glossary.




Traditional Preparation Program (TPP)

Institution of Higher Education (IHE)

Degree Granted

Clinical Experience


Clinical Teaching

Alternative Certification Program (ACP)

IHEs, School Districts, Education Service Centers, Non-Profit Organizations, and For-Profit Entities


Clinical Teaching or Internship

Post-Baccalaureate Program (PBP)

Institution of Higher Education (IHE)


Clinical teaching or Internship

Currently, there are 122 Educator Preparation Programs in Texas, 102 of which offer an Alternative Certification Route (ACP) (Texas Education Agency, n.d. (a)). In the mid-1980s, ACPs were created to provide an alternative means for preparing teachers to address the teacher shortage crisis (Mikulecky, Shkodriani, & Wilner, 2004). However, the majority of new teachers in Texas are now prepared through the alternative route (Texas Education Agency, 2020d). While the certification requirements are similar, the experiences occur at different junctions. Traditional route candidates apply; are accepted; enroll; complete coursework, complete field work, and complete clinical experience, and pass all required certification exams before becoming certified teachers of record. ACP and Post-Baccalaureate Program (PBP) candidates usually have a bachelor’s degree and then apply, are accepted, and enroll in an Educator Preparation Program (EPP); complete any coursework and field experience required by the EPP; and then complete their culminating clinical experience while they are serving as a teacher of record. In Texas, ACP and PBP candidates who enroll in an EPP and are hired by a school after July 1 can begin teaching without completing their coursework and field experience requirements. 1

Teacher Preparation in Texas

TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary 1 Glossary of Terms 3 Stakeholders 4 Data Availability 5 Career Selection 6 Program Selection and Admission


Program Enrollment 10 Completion and Certification


Estimating Supply and Demand


Teacher Retention 18 Recommendations 21 Works Cited 22


Teacher Preparation in Texas

GLOSSARY OF TERMS The following terms are used throughout this paper and have meanings specific to Texas. As such, the definitions indicated with an asterisk (*) have been taken from Texas Administrative Code 228.2. After the first use of each term, the acronym is used. •

Alternative Certification Program (ACP)*—An approved educator preparation program, delivered by an institution of higher education, regional education service center, public school district, or other entity approved by the State Board for Educator Certification, specifically designed as an alternative to a traditional undergraduate certification program, for individuals already holding at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

Clinical Teaching*—A supervised educator assignment through an EPP at a public school accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) or other school approved by the TEA for this purpose that may lead to completion of a standard certificate; also referred to as student teaching.

Educator Preparation Program (EPP)*—An entity that must be approved by the State Board for Educator Certification to recommend candidates in one or more educator certification classes.

Internship*—A paid supervised classroom teacher assignment for one full school year at a public school accredited by the TEA or other school approved by the TEA for this purpose that may lead to completion of a standard certificate.

Post-Baccalaureate Program (PBP)*—An educator preparation program, delivered by an accredited institution of higher education and approved by the State Board for Educator Certification to recommend candidates for certification, that is designed for individuals who already hold at least a bachelor’s degree and are seeking an additional degree.

Students of Color—a pre-K-12 student who identifies as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or two or more races.

Teacher Candidate (TC)*—An individual who has been formally or contingently admitted into an EPP.

Teachers of Color*—a teacher who identifies as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or two or more races.

Traditional Preparation Program (TPP)*—An approved EPP, delivered by an accredited institution of higher education and approved by the State Board for Educator Certification to recommend candidates for certification, that is designed for individuals who do not yet hold a bachelor’s degree.


Teacher Preparation in Texas


Certification Pathways


Roles and Responsibilities

Multiple individuals, governing bodies, and accrediting organizations play a role in the regulation and accountability of EPPs in Texas.

Texas Education Agency (K-12 & EPP Oversight)

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Higher Education Oversight)

• State Board for Educator Certification

• Educator Preparation Programs

• Local Education Agencies

• Teacher candidates

Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP)

Annual accountability for EPP performance related to five indicators



EPPs receive an accreditation review every five years

EPPs report data that consumers can use when selecting which EPP to attend

All EPPs can offer programs with these options: Program Formats Online, Face-to-Face, Blended Clinical Formats Residency, Clinical Teaching, Internship* *Internships can only be completed by candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree.


Teacher Preparation in Texas

DATA AVAILABILITY Multiple agencies collect data regarding teacher preparation and certification. In Texas the largest repository of data resides in the TEA’s data systems: the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). Aggregated data from these systems are available through the TEA Educator Preparation Data Dashboard. The TEA also releases aggregated data regarding teacher certification, attrition, and demographics through annual Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), the Texas Public Education Information Resource (TPEIR), and the TEA Educator Reports and Data website. For researchers who are interested in analyzing these data at the teacher or student level, the Education Research Centers (ERCs) are equipped with restricted-access data that are available only through an application and review process. Researchers affiliated with this paper were granted access to the ERC at the University of Houston. Therefore, this paper presents data that are only available through analyzing these restricted-access data sets. The U.S. Department of Education (US DoEd) also reports teacher preparation data through their annual Title II Reports.

Texas Education Agency (TEA)

Education Research Centers (ERCs)

U.S. Department of Education (US DoEd)

Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) & Educator Certification Online System (ECOS)



Teacher-Level Data

Title II Reports


Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR)

Texas Public Education Information Resource (TPEIR)

Student-Level Data

Educator Reports & Data Website


Teacher Preparation in Texas

CAREER SELECTION Who is choosing to become a teacher, when, and why? To establish a broad and diverse teaching workforce, we must understand and bolster the teacher pipeline by identifying who is choosing to become a teacher, when they are entering the profession, and why they want to pursue a career in teaching. Years of research have shown that states do not have a strong understanding of where most leaks occur in the teacher pipeline (DeMonte, 2016). Thus, they cannot provide interventions or supports to repair the pipeline and stop the leaks. We do not yet know whether the point at which someone chooses to become a teacher impacts their efficacy or probability of retention. Texas only collects the age at which the candidate applied and became certified, with no data regarding the point at which candidates decided to become teachers; however, the candidate’s age at time of application is not regularly reported to the public. We do know that specific groups of candidates make decisions on when to become teachers at distinct points and sometimes for distinct reasons (Rae & Montenegro, 2020). Teachers entering TPPs typically decide to become a teacher during high school or early college, whereas teachers entering ACPs and PBPs typically make the decision to become teachers after completion of their undergraduate degrees (Rae & Montenegro, 2020). However, these decision points do not hold true for all candidates. Some TPP candidates make the decision to become a teacher later in their career, and some ACP and PBP candidates made the decision to become a teacher during their undergraduate degree. Regardless of the point at which a TC decides to become a teacher, TCs’ reasons for becoming a teacher seem to influence the program type they choose, as seen in Figure 1. Figure 1. Top Three Reasons for Becoming a Teacher by Certification Route For the Because of sense of a teacher purpose and role model fulfillment


To work with youth or children

Good match with skills and interests

To improve the education system


Because it was a “calling”


Alternative career paths For a career didn’t work change out

Alternative (non-IHE) Source: (Rae & Montenegro, 2020)


Teacher Preparation in Texas

Although data regarding the point at which someone chooses to become a teacher are limited, the state has invested in supporting high school students who decide to enter the profession earlier in their academic careers. Beginning with the class of 2015, high school students can earn endorsements to recognize the completion of a course sequence in a specific area. One of the endorsements, Public Services, includes two education-related programs of study (among other fields): Early Learning, which focuses on early childhood education (Texas Education Agency, 2020b), and Teaching and Training, which “focuses on planning, managing, and providing education” (Texas Education Agency, 2020a; Texas Education Agency, 2020b). Figure 2 presents the education-related programs of study offered in Texas local education agencies (LEAs). To identify districts that offer Early Learning, and Teaching and Training Programs, visit the Texas Career and Technical Education Programs of Study Map. Figure 2. Education-Related Programs of Study by School District

Early Learning Programs

Teaching and Training Programs

These programs can serve as fertile recruitment grounds for future teachers. Although these pathways were first available to the class of 2015, little data is available regarding the enrollment in and efficacy of these programs. The number of students graduating with the Public Services endorsement has increased over the last three years (Texas Education Agency, 2021); however, this data does not indicate the number of students who chose an educationrelated program of study. Having access to these data points would help teacher preparation programs identify geographic areas for recruitment.


Teacher Preparation in Texas

PROGRAM SELECTION AND ADMISSION What are the characteristics of EPP applicants? What is the academic profile of candidates admitted to EPPs? What are the recent EPP admission trends? After someone decides to become a teacher, they must then apply to an Educator Preparation Program in Texas. Analyzing the motivational factors of the applicants and enrollees in an EPP, along with the make-up and structure of the candidate pool, helps to provide an understanding of the EPP landscape. These factors can reveal opportunities for intervention and candidate support that might significantly increase the diversity of the teaching profession (Rae & Montenegro, 2020). Figure 3. EPP Entry: Self-Reported Motivations and Barriers

Encouragement from social network

Diverse funding sources for tuition and living costs

Concern for program reputation and quality

Alternative (IHE)


Low level of awareness of and preparation for certification requirements

Intrinsic motivation to teach

High program costs

Program structure founded on applied learning and skill development

Alternative (non-IHE)

Misalignment between expectations and reality

High admission standards

Limited financial stress

Program structure flexibility (parttime, online, asynchronous)


Less encouragement from social network to teach

Competing personal commitments (e.g., dependent children, part-time jobs)

Source: (Rae & Montenegro, 2020)


Teacher Preparation in Texas

It is also important to understand the characteristics of applicants for each EPP type. However, the demographics of Educator Preparation Program applicants are not publicly available. The relationship between TC demographics and program type is explored further in the Completion and Certification section. Additionally, little is known about the academic qualifications of TCs; only average GPA (3.23), SAT (1114), ACT (22), and GRE (278) scores are routinely reported to consumers. In 2018–2019, 7 programs did not meet the statutorily required 3.0 cohort GPA for incoming candidates (Texas Education Agency, 2020d). Programs are not required to report SAT, ACT, or GRE scores if those standardized tests are not used for admission purposes. These averages also include all candidates admitted to Educator Preparation Programs, including those admitted to advanced certification programs (e.g., principal, superintendent or school counselor). As a result, it is unclear to what degree these data represent the full academic profile of admitted TCs (Texas Education Agency, 2020d). Most teacher certifications in Texas require the recipient to hold a bachelor’s degree. At Texas public institutions, 14% more bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 2020 than were awarded in 2017 (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2017; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2021). Additionally, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary degrees, which are the degrees elementary- and middle-level TCs receive, were the third most frequently awarded degrees every year between 2017 and 2020 (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2017; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2021). The increase in bachelor’s degree awards results in a greater number of Texans being eligible to become teachers. The increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded has coincided with an increase in the number of applicants to EPPs. Since 2018, the number of applicants admitted to EPPs has increased by 10%, but candidate completion of EPPs has decreased by 11% (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). Publicly available data are not disaggregated by gender or ethnicity. These data could help identify areas where admission practices could be improved to ensure that a diverse and sufficient candidate pool is being admitted to teacher preparation programs. Additionally, the ways admission, enrollment, and completion data are reported make it difficult to determine the attrition rate for EPPs. For example, in the 2020 academic year, Texas Teachers of Tomorrow (the largest EPP in Texas) had 29,542 candidates apply; 11,765 candidates admitted; 61,690 candidates enroll; and 5,585 candidates complete the program (Texas Education Agency, 2020d). However, these data are not based on one cohort of candidates, so it is impossible to determine the percentage of a cohort that completed the program. Additionally, the way EPPs operationalize and report application, admission, and enrollment data are not standardized, so deriving an accurate picture from publicly available data is difficult. These data would be helpful in identifying EPPs that excel at producing teachers.


Teacher Preparation in Texas

PROGRAM ENROLLMENT What are the recent EPP enrollment trends? Not all applicants who are admitted go on to enroll in Educator Preparation Programssome of them do not meet admissions requirements, and others chose not to enroll after being admitted. The TEA does not track the percentage of candidates admitted to an EPP who end up enrolling, so it is currently not possible to assess whether attrition between admission to an EPP and enrollment contributes significantly to leaks in the overall teacher pipeline. Enrollment in Texas EPPs increased in each of the last three academic years for which data are available (2017– 2019). The largest enrollment growth was in TPP enrollment with an increase of 36% as compared to a 22% enrollment growth in ACPs (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). However, in 2018–19, 70% of TCs were enrolled in ACPs, indicating that ACPs are still playing a large role in the certification of Texas teachers (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). As for race and ethnicity, enrollment in Educator Preparation Programs became only slightly more diverse from academic year 2017 to 2019. Texas EPPs experienced a 2% increase in enrollment for candidates of color (U.S. Department of Education, 2020), but EPP enrollment by ethnicity continues to be a mismatch to the Texas student body. Figure 4. Educator Preparation Program Enrollment by Race 6%






25% 32%












Other Source: (U.S. Department of Education, 2020)


Teacher Preparation in Texas

COMPLETION AND CERTIFICATION What gaps exist between program completion and certification? Which certification routes are teachers being prepared through? What are the demographics of newly certified teachers? After TCs finish the required coursework, training, field experience, and clinical experience, they are considered a completer of the Educator Preparation Program. The Title II Reports published by the U.S. DoEd provide the most consistently tracked and reported data concerning the completers of teacher preparation programs, having reported on EPPs in much the same format since 2010–2011. Unlike admission and enrollment trends, the number of candidates completing Educator Preparation Programs decreased in each of the last three years for which data are available (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). ACPs experienced the greatest decline in completers with a 15% decrease, while traditional EPPs experienced a 5% decrease between academic years 2017 and 2019. Texas Examinations of Educator Standards One contributing factor of the lack of completion is the required Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) certification exams. In Texas, all TCs must pass at least two TExES tests: the content pedagogy exam (e.g., EC-6 Core Subjects, 7-12 ELAR, 4-8 Math) and a pedagogy exam. An additional exam is required for TCs seeking certification in Special Education or Bilingual Education. Additionally, TCs certified to teach pre-K-4 language arts must pass the Science of Teaching Reading Exam. Passing these exams can prove to be a barrier for entry to the profession. Because each exam costs more than $100, taking these exams may be cost-prohibitive for many TCs. Certification exams also contribute to the lack of progress in diversifying the teacher workforce. TCs of color consistently have lower passing rates compared to their white peers on TExES for content pedagogy. In academic year 2021, 15% fewer Black TCs and 6% fewer Hispanic TCs passed their content pedagogy exam than their white peers (Texas Education Agency, 2022). Figure 5. Content Exam Passing Rates by Race

Source: (Texas Education Agency, 2022) 11

Teacher Preparation in Texas

One factor that could contribute to the lower TExES passing rates observed among TCs of color is the type of EPP through which these candidates are most often prepared. Most TCs of color in Texas are prepared by ACPs (Van Overschelde & Wiggins, 2019), and TCs prepared through ACPs have lower first-time passing rates on certification exams than their traditionally prepared peers (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2022). The National Council on Teacher Quality published EC-6 Core Subjects passing rate data sets for academic years 2015–2018. The chart below demonstrates that TCs prepared in non-IHE ACPs had lower first-time pass rates than TPP-prepared candidates on all sub-tests of the EC-6 Core Subjects exam. These data are not publicly available for other TExES exams, so the extent to which this trend holds true across certification areas is unclear. Figure 6. First Time Passing Rates for EC-6 Core Subjects Sub-tests by EPP Type: 2015–2018 Alternative/Post-Baccalaureate

English Language Arts and Reading


Alternative (not IHA-Based)

Social Studies



Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education

Source: (National Council on Teacher Quality, 2022)

Teacher Certification by Route The proportion of teachers certified through ACPs has continually increased over the last decade, with the majority (61%) of teachers now certified through the alternative route (Smith T. G., 2021a). Post-baccalaureate programs produce the fewest number of teachers, with 4% of the total. Of note, Texas Teachers of Tomorrow, the largest alternative certification program in the state, certified 30% of all new teachers in 2021, which was up from 28% in 2019 (Texas Education Agency, 2022).


Teacher Preparation in Texas

Figure 7. Newly Certified Texas Teachers by Certification Route Traditional



Source: (Smith T. G., 2021a)

Teacher Certification by Race and Ethnicity Beginning in academic year 2011, the majority of Texas pre-K-12 students were students of color, and students of color now represent 73.5% of Texas’ school-aged population (Texas Education Agency, 2021c). Although the pre-K-12 student population is rapidly increasing in diversity, the diversity of Texas teachers has not followed the same trend, with teachers of color representing only 43.1% of the Texas teacher workforce (Texas Education Agency, 2021c). The largest disparity between pre-K-12 student and teacher demographics is in the Hispanic population; 52.9% of students identify as Hispanic while only 28.4% of teachers identify as Hispanic (Texas Education Agency, 2021c). Figure 8. Teacher and Student Demographics: Academic Year 2021 White


African American


Source: (Texas Education Agency, 2021c) 13

Teacher Preparation in Texas

To diversify the teacher workforce, EPPs must graduate more TCs of color, which is a particularly salient goal as, “for students of color, having a teacher of the same race or ethnicity may increase test scores and reduce the likelihood of disciplinary issues” (Stevens & Motamedi, 2019). Only 45% of newly certified teachers are people of color, which is only slightly more diverse than the existing teacher workforce (Smith, 2021). This trend continues even though numerous studies cite statistics like, “Black students who have even one black teacher by third grade are 13% more likely to enroll in college” (Gershenson, 2021). In Texas, ACPs produce the majority of new teachers (61%), and African American and male teachers were more likely than average to be prepared by ACPs (Smith T. G., 2021a). In 2021, ACPs produced 78% of all new African American teachers in Texas. ACPs also prepared the majority of male teachers (75%) and teachers who identified as a race other than Hispanic, African American, or White (60%). However, White and Hispanic teachers were less likely than average to be prepared by ACPs. Although ACPs prepared a large portion of teachers of color, teachers prepared by ACPs left the profession at higher rates than traditionally prepared teachers (CREATE, 2020). Figure 9. New Teachers Prepared by Race, Gender and Route: 2019–2020 Alternative





Source: (Smith T. G., 2021a)

The reasons that teachers of color are more likely to become certified through an ACP are nuanced and multifaceted. According to the Center for American Progress, “high-achieving minority candidates often choose alternative certification programs that promise a shorter commitment to teaching and allow them to pursue other post-teaching careers” (Bireda & Chait, 2011, p. 24). Black and Hispanic candidates who went to schools that had an underrepresentation of teachers of color are also attracted to ACPs that advertise teaching as a way to “give back” to their communities (Bireda & Chait, 2011). Additionally, Black and Hispanic Texans are more likely than their White and Asian peers to graduate college with student loan debt (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2021). To reduce their student loan burden, Black and Hispanic teacher candidates might choose to become certified through an ACP that will allow them to complete a paid internship as teacher-ofrecord instead of student teaching. 14

Teacher Preparation in Texas

ESTIMATING SUPPLY AND DEMAND Do Texas EPPs produce enough teachers to meet the demand for new teachers in pre-K-12 schools? Because Texas does not have a central database for pre-K-12 teacher job posting, demand cannot be directly measured. Instead, demand for Texas teachers must be inferred. To determine the annual demand for new teachers, researchers must collect multiple pieces of data so that the calculation in Figure 10 can be computed. Figure 10. Formula for Calculating New Teacher Demand



New Positions Added


Non-Retiree Attrition


Increase in Teacher Workload



Figure 10 demonstrates how the formula for calculating new teacher demand is complex. Although all the data needed for this calculation exist within the Texas Public Education Information Management System, these data are not publicly available, and some of the datapoints require advanced understandings of the datasets to calculate. These data are also reported throughout the academic year, making it difficult to use these data for planning purposes. Although researchers have examined this problem in the past (Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, & Carver-Thomas, 2019), data regarding the supply and demand of teachers is still not consistently available. Recognizing the need for this type of information, the Texas Education Agency is seeking to hire a data analyst to develop a teacher supply and demand monitoring tool (Texas Education Agency, 2021a). From Certification to Employment One complicating factor in the supply of new teachers is that not all newly certified teachers become employed in Texas public schools. Only about 80% of teachers who become certified are employed in Texas public-schools the following academic year (Smith, 2021b). Teachers prepared by ACPs are most likely to be employed in a public school (87% in 2021), whereas new teachers prepared by TPPs are least likely to be employed by public schools (77% in 2021). Teachers who get certified and are not hired represent a leak within the teacher pipeline, which is especially problematic considering the education field experiences extreme shortages year after year.


Teacher Preparation in Texas

Figure 11. Top 10 Producers of Teachers by Number and Percentage of Candidates Hired Within One Year: Academic Year 2020 Educator Preparation Program or Certifying Entity

Type of Program


# Employed Within One Year

% Employed Within One Year

Teachers of Tomorrow


Houston, TX





Denton, TX



Texas State University


Austin, TX



Texas A&M University


College Station, TX



University of North Texas


Denton, TX



Web-Centric Alternative Certification Program


Houston, TX



Sam Houston State University


Huntsville, TX



Texas Tech University


Lubbock, TX



Region 04 Education Service Center


Houston, TX



Stephen F. Austin State University


Nacogdoches, TX



Source: (Texas Education Agency, 2020d)

Certification of New Teachers According to data available through Education Research Center, 17% of first-year Texas teachers were not certified during academic year 2020 (Van Overschelde, 2022b); most of these teachers were employed by charter schools or districts of innovation. About 31% held a standard teaching certificate, which indicates that they had completed a traditional teacher preparation program. Another 40% held intern certificates, which indicates they were still completing their EPP. The remaining 12% were teachers who either held an exempt certificate or were certified out of state. These data indicate that in 2019–2020, approximately one-third of first-year teachers had completed a Texas teacher preparation program before entering the classroom.


Teacher Preparation in Texas

Figure 12. First-Year Teachers by Certification Type: Academic Year 2020 Uncertified Teachers 17%

Standard Certificate 31%

Other Instructors 12%

Intern Certificate 40% Source: (Van Overschelde, 2022) Pre-K-12 Student Demographics of New Teachers New teachers are more likely to teach at schools that have higher percentages of students of color and students from economically disadvantaged families (Texas Education Agency, 2019). Additionally, an analysis of data available through the Education Research Center indicate that teachers in grades 7–12 who were prepared by ACPs teach higher percentages of students from economically disadvantaged families and students of color (Van Overschelde, 2022a). For teachers prepared by ACPs, an average of 66% of their students were from economically disadvantaged families, and an average of 77% of their students were students of color. These findings indicate that in Texas, secondary teachers prepared through ACPs are assigned to teach higher concentrations of students who have the greatest needs. Figure 13. Student Demographics of New Secondary Teachers by Preparation Route: Academic Years 2011–2020

Traditional Alternative

Source: (Van Overschelde, 2022a)


Teacher Preparation in Texas

TEACHER RETENTION When are teachers leaving the classroom? Is attrition associated with teacher characteristics or preparation route? Once quality teachers are recruited into classrooms, retaining them must become a high priority. Although research has revealed factors that can influence teacher retention, most of the data available to understand which teachers leave, why they leave, and where they go is outdated, unavailable or restricted. One unfortunate trend has held steady for 15 years: about 10% of newly hired teachers are not teaching in Texas public schools the following academic year (Smith, 2021a). School Characteristics Understanding the relationship between school characteristics and teacher retention can reveal factors that impact teachers’ decisions to leave the profession. The National Teacher and Principal Survey (previously the Schools and Staffing Survey [SASS]) administered by the National Center for Education Statistics is the most widely used dataset to examine teacher retention; however, this survey has not been administered in a format that allows for retention tracking since 2011, making the available data over a decade old. According to the SASS, attrition for teachers assigned to high-poverty schools is higher than for teachers at lower-poverty schools, with a total of 22% of teachers in high-poverty schools moving schools or leaving the profession in just one year compared to 12% of teachers at low-poverty schools (Kena, et al., 2016). This result is supported by research specific to Texas that found that teachers in mid-high and high-poverty schools were more likely than teachers at low-poverty schools to leave their schools within three years (Reyes & Alexander, 2017). Figure 14. Percentage of Teachers who Moved Campuses or Left the Profession: Academic Year 2012–2013 Low-Poverty Schools

Mid-low Poverty Schools

Mid-high Poverty Schools

High Poverty Schools 22%

12% 6%










Source: (Kena, et al., 2016)


Teacher Preparation in Texas

In Texas, small school districts have much higher teacher attrition rates than large districts, particularly among first-year teachers (Smith, 2021c). In 2020–2021, large districts lost 14–16% of their first-year teachers whereas small districts lost about 25% of their new teachers. It is important to note that much lower numbers of new teachers left the profession from 2019–2020 to 2020–2021, which could in large part be attributed to the economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teacher Demographics The national SASS revealed that from 2011–12 to 2012–13, teachers of color were more likely to move schools or leave the profession than White teachers (Kena, et al., 2016). During this time, 85% of White teachers stayed in their positions compared to 78% of Black teachers and 79% of Hispanic teachers. Failing to retain teachers of color at the same rate as White teachers further exacerbates the diversity gap in the teacher workforce. Although teachers of color are more likely to leave the profession, research specific to Texas indicates that Hispanic teachers who were prepared by traditional programs were the mostly likely ethnicityroute combination to be retained (Van Overschelde & Wiggins, 2019). These findings suggest that quality preparation can play a role in retaining teachers of color. Retention by Certification Route and Level The Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment in Teacher Education (CREATE) at the University of Houston has been studying teacher retention in Texas for the last decade. Each year they use data from the Education Research Center to calculate the retention of teachers who were prepared through each certification route. The 2020 report included teachers who obtained a standard or probationary teaching certification in 2014–2015 and began teaching in 2015–2016 with no prior teaching experience. Teachers prepared by traditional EPPs were retained at much higher rates than teachers prepared by ACPs (CREATE, 2020). CREATE also disaggregates their findings by certification level; teachers in elementary and middle schools are consistently retained at higher rates than teachers in high schools. Figure 15. Teacher Retention by Certification Route Traditional



Source: (Center for Research, Evaluation, & Advancement of Teacher Education, 2020)


Teacher Preparation in Texas

Why Teachers Leave Although these figures reveal useful information regarding the types of teachers who leave the profession, these data do not indicate why the teachers left. However, Texas-specific and nationwide research reveals some of the most common reasons teachers leave. A study of Texas teachers found that teachers without an accurate preview of what their positions would be like before accepting a teaching position were more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs and to leave their schools or the profession (Ellis, 2015). Additionally, low workplace satisfaction is the most frequently cited organization-level reason for teachers leaving the profession (55%) (Darling-Hammong, 2003; Ingersoll, Merrill, & Stuckey, 2014; The New Teacher Project, 2012). Instructional leadership, school culture, collegial relationships, common planning time/collaboration, teachers’ decisionmaking input, professional development resources, and lack of parental support and involvement also have large impacts on teacher turnover (Berry & Gravelle, 2013; Gardner, 2010). One factor that can also influence teacher retention is low salary. The Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) was created by the 86th Texas Legislature as part of House Bill 3 (2019) with a primary goal of establishing sixfigure salaries for some teachers and pushing local education agencies to develop systems of strategic staffing that address their needs. Teachers earn designations through two different routes. First, National Board Certified teachers are eligible to earn a Recognized designation. Second, districts may designate their effective teachers when they are approved for a local teacher designation system. The approval process is multi-step and includes the submission of a system application to the TEA and then a data validation process through Texas Tech University. The TIA impacts the certification pipeline as a contributing factor to salary, retention, and opportunities for future professional growth as a teacher. So far, 4,617 teachers across 127 LEAs have earned a designation, yielding a combined additional $43,046,976 in salary provided to teachers in 2020–2021. This program could potentially incentivize TCs to remain in the classroom instead of leaving the field or pursuing other educationspecific opportunities for salary advancement (such as principal, central office, etc.).

For more information, visit EdTx.org/EdPrep Educate Texas, an initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, is a trusted change agent in Texas education, working through programs and policies to ensure every Texas student is prepared in the school, in the workforce, and in life. Since 2003, Educate Texas has partnered with school districts, institutions of higher education, businesses, community and civic organizations, state agencies, and policymakers to strengthen the public and higher education systems for all Texas students. The goal for our Effective Teaching work is to create sustainable systems changes to enable teacher preparation programs and school systems to better attract, prepare, develop, and retain a high-quality, diverse teacher workforce and lead to student success.

Teacher Preparation in Texas

RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the information presented in this brief, Educate Texas’ has categorized recommendations into three groups: (1) future data collection and reporting, (2) further analysis, and (3) interventions and supports. Future Data Collection and Reporting: •

Require EPPs to report the type and amount of field experience a candidate undergoes in their preparation program as well as the local education agencies at which their field experience(s) took place.

Report employment trends by gender and ethnicity so that retention rates by demographics can be studied.

Systematically collect information regarding students who complete the Education and Training Career Clusters so that the efficacy of these training programs can be assessed.

Further Analysis: •

Estimate how well Education and Training Career Clusters reach LEA student populations. Establish a general pool of potential TCs with exposure to teaching knowledge and teaching skills training.

Provide data publicly that is already collected and stored at the TEA, including race/ethnicity and gender disaggregation across the pipeline, new hire information by role, and out-of-field teaching trends to expand upon current TEA data collection on student outcomes.

Conduct a return-on-investment analysis by EPP and certification type to determine which EPPs and certification areas provide a true lowest cost for candidates. This review might require supplanting information from the state, programs, LEAs or philanthropic organizations.

Analyze teacher production and shortages by region so that regional strategies can be created and deployed.

Interventions and Supports: •

Bolster field experiences prior to employment as teacher-of-record, ensuring that field experience is standardized and provides quality feedback and coaching to candidates.

Grow EPPs that have higher effectiveness and production of teachers.

Increase the field-based experiences of ACP candidates so that they are better prepared to meet the needs of their students.

Provide standardized, state-funded novice teacher induction supports to increase new teacher self-efficacy and retention.


Teacher Preparation in Texas

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Teacher Preparation in Texas

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Teacher Preparation in Texas

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