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Necessary Terms for Teacher Certification

Approval to Challenge TExES: The program director of the program that you select issues the TExES content area exam approval. Approval for TExES PPR is issued when the candidate meets the program’s TExES practice test standard.

Benchmarks: Either a standard for what students should understand or be able to do at a specific level or point in their career.

Brain-based Research: Teaching methods established before the turn of the 20th century, when the majority of the population was headed to factory jobs, are stunningly outdated in the information age. Rather, what are required today are problem-solving skills, knowing how to master a body of knowledge and critical-thinking skills, learning how to acquire and process new information rapidly. The goal for education, today, states Bransford, et al. (2001), is better conceived as helping students develop intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire knowledge that allows people to think productively.

The growing body of brain-based research (Alkon, Gage, Gazzangia, Greenough, Kosslyn, LeDoux, Crick, Rose, Damasio, Calvin, Herbert, Pert, Sacks, Edelman) claims that parts of today’s educational methods are negatively impacting children. Returning to the basics or teaching to the test forces students into the lowest form of human learning with the largest built-in disincentive (rote memorization) and deprives students of the real mental challenges and demands for authentic mental growth for which their survival-based brains were built. It is this challenge that drives the interdisciplinary, brain-based research focus of the TEACH QUEST (TQ) Global curriculum.

Framed on the brain-based research,  TQ connects candidates to what Katz and Rubin (1999) coined as Neurobics, the new science of brain exercise. The authors present a deliberate allusion to physical exercise. Neurobics, however, refers to exercising different brain areas rather than different muscle groups. Generally, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking while downplaying the right-brain ones. TQ proposes to shift the learning paradigm, guiding candidates through techniques using both sides of the brain, a more “whole-brained” orientation.

While the modules may serve different purposes, form formative and/or summative in nature, electronic/or print, the framework proposes modules that are more than merely collected/delivered information. Rather, the TQ curriculum investigates what Johnson (1998) calls an electrical and chemical machine, millions of little computers all working together to increase the candidate’s teaching capacity. Building on a diagnostic format to assist participants in mapping their teaching effectiveness progress, and weaving best practices and brain-based techniques, candidates will display, perform, demonstrate their teaching capacity earlier in ways that traditional training does not.

BTLPT: An acronym for the new Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test required for candidates who plan to teach in a bilingual setting. Bilingual education candidates are required to challenge the EC-6 BIED Generalist content area examinations, as well.

CPE: Continuing Professional Education activities (courses or workshops) required for certificate renewal every five years.

ExCET: An acronym for Examination for the Certification of Educators and the predecessor of TExES exam was launched in 1986.

Fingerprinting: SBEC sends a fingerprinting packet to the candidate at the time s/he applies for an initial certificate or Probationary Certificate.

iTECH: An enrichment TQ technology program that will provide integrating instruction, free software, and ready-made materials for the classroom. Materials distributed at workshops.

Portfolio: An alternative form of assessment that evaluates a candidate’s performance on the basis of a body of work completed throughout the course of study.

SBEC: An acronym for State Board for Educator Certification that serves as a monitoring agent for certifying teachers. toll fee number, 1.888.863.6880

STAAR: An acronym for the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exam to replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests in Spring 2012. Exams are designed to measure the statewide curriculum, TEKS.

Standards: Benchmarks against which, candidates, students and schools measure their progress. Educators generally discuss three types of standards: content, performance, and opportunity-to-learn.

Teaching Capacity: Many beginning teachers enter the classroom with limited teaching capacity (Darling-Hammond, 2002). As teachers acquire knowledge and skills to teach children well, they build capacity guiding students to higher academic achievement (Lopez, 1995; Darling-Hammond, 2002). According to data (Lopez, Darling-Hammond), teacher classroom experience is the most important source of teacher capacity in a student’s learning process. The studies indicate that, on average, teachers require six to seven years of classroom experience to fully develop the knowledge and skills necessary to produce higher student academic gains.

However, the Center for Teaching (1999) research studies show that a well-prepared teacher is more likely to acquire capacity earlier, producing higher student academic gains immediately. In actuality, teacher effectiveness improves with teaching experiences which bridge theory and practice. Hence, a teacher’s preservice experience is key to reducing the time necessary to build teacher capacity. TEACH’s curriculum extends a candidate’s capacity.

TEKS: An acronym for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum required by the state. Districts are required to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills of the appropriate grade levels in the foundation curriculum.

TExES Content Area: An acronym for Texas Examinations of Educator Standards designed to measure a candidate’s content area knowledge in relation to a standard set of criteria rather than performance of other candidates. Two levels of one-on-one tutoring offered.

TExES PPR: An acronym for Texas Examinations of Educator Standards, Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities designed to measure a candidate’s educational teaching and learning knowledge in relation to a standard set of criteria rather than performance of other candidates.

THEA Basic Skills Test: An acronym for Texas Higher Education Assessment designed to provide information about the reading, mathematics, and writing skills of students entering public colleges, universities, and educator preparation programs in public and private institutions.