Certification Tests, Background checks, Foreign Language Requirement, and Other FAQs
The following are responses to questions commonly asked by teacher education candidates in initial and advanced programs.
1. Do I have to pass all of my certification tests in order to graduate from ECU?
The satisfactory completion of all three tests is a state requirement, not an ECU program requirement. It is possible to complete a teacher education program and for ECU to recommend a candidate for licensure but the state will not issue the license until all three tests have been passed.
In order for the State of Oklahoma to issue a license, a candidate must have passed all three state licensure tests. All three state certification tests must be successfully completed. NO EXCEPTIONS. Candidates must have passed the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) for the area of their certification program, and the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam (OPTE) before the OSDE will issue a Teaching License.
2. Can I take more than one block at a time in the teacher ed program?
Once a candidate has been admitted to teacher education it is possible to take more than one block at time. This is not recommended and it should be noted that student teaching block may not be taken with any other blocks.
3. Where do I turn in my certification test scores?
Candidates should keep copies of their certification test scores for inclusion in their portfolio. The only score that may need to be shared with the Director of Teacher Education (Dr. Brenda Sherbourne) is the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET) score. The OGET passing score is one of the possible pathways to admission into Teacher Education. A passing score on the OGET may be used by candidates who have less than a 3.0 GPA in their liberal arts courses.
4. Whom do I talk to if I have questions about certification?
All questions about certification issues should be directed to the Dean for the College of Education and psychology who also serves as the Director of Teacher Education and the Certification Officer. Although the Chair for the Department of Education, education program directors, and education unit faculty may know the answers to many, if not all questions, candidates are encouraged to check with the Dean's office for the most recent information.
5. Does ECU have to sign off on my certification application?
The Certification Officer at ECU must sign all license applications for candidates completing initial teacher certification programs offered at ECU. Once an initial program has been completed and the teaching license issued, candidates may add other initial program areas by passing the appropriate subject area test and then filing an application to add the areas directly with the Oklahoma State Department of Education- ECU does not need to sign for candidates to add certification areas unless those areas require completion of an approved program. Forms for adding certification areas may be secured from the Oklahoma State Department of Education web site.
Candidates completing advanced programs such as Library Media Specialist, Reading Specialist, School Administration, School Counselor, School Psychometrist and School Psychologist must also have their applications signed by the Certification Officer to document that they have completed an approved program. Candidates must also have completed the appropriate subject matter test in order for the Oklahoma State Department of Education to add the area to their certificate.
6. What does it mean that I have to be recommended for certification by ECU?
In order for a teacher education candidate to receive a teaching certificate in Oklahoma candidates must either complete an approved program of study from an institution of teacher education or receive approval through the Alternative Certification process. When ECU's signs the application for an initial license or for adding an advanced area of certification, the certification officer is verifying that the candidate has completed a program course of study that has been approved by the state of Oklahoma and/or the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Candidates must complete all additional requirements for certification before the state will issue the license or add to a certificate. For example, the certification officer may sign an application demonstrating a candidate has completed a course of study for school counseling, but, if the appropriate subject area test has not been completed, the state will not issue the certificate. The reverse is also true -- candidate may pass a subject area test for school counseling but the state will not issue the certificate until the candidate has completed an approved course of study through an approved program.
7. Can I be a school counselor or School Psychometrist or Psychologist if I do not hold a teaching certificate?
Candidates seeking certification related to advanced programs School Counseling, School Psychometrist or School Psychologist must hold a current Oklahoma Teaching Certificate or include documentation that they have applied for certification through the Alternative Certification process. Those candidates seeking a certificate in school administration who have not completed a master’s degree in school administration or its’ equivalent, must also seek approval for an alternative certificate for school administration.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education can provide information about the Alternative Certification process. 405-521-3337
8. How can I meet the requirement to demonstrate competence of a foreign language at the high novice level at ECU for certification purposes?
In order for ECU to verify candidates demonstrate candidate's competence of a foreign language as mandated by the state of Oklahoma, candidates must either complete a college-level foreign language course with a grade of “C” or above, test out of a college level foreign language course, or, provide evidence of the completion of two years (four semesters) of a foreign language in high schools with a “C” or better in every semester.
9. Do I have to have all of my courses taken before I student teach?
If a candidate has completed all professional education courses and lacks only a course or two to finish their program, it is possible to complete some classes for a program of study after student teaching. The candidate must secure the permission of the Director of Field Experience and the Program Director before such an arrangement may take place. Questions about this arrangement should be directed to the Field Experience Coordinator.