No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Standard for "Highly
To be highly qualified under NCLB, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a teacher must
1. At least a bachelor’s degree; and
2. Full state certification; and
3. Demonstrated subject-matter competency in the core academic subjects assigned.
All teachers in core academic subjects must have been highly
qualified by the end of the 2006-07 school year
(regardless of whether they are teaching in a Title I
program). Teachers hired after the first day of
instruction of the 2002-03 school year who teach a core
academic subject in a Title I program must be highly
Core academic subjects
• Reading or language arts
• Foreign languages
• Civics and government
• Arts (art, music, theatre arts and dance)
Demonstrating Subject-matter Competency
Subject-matter competency, the third requirement, can be demonstrated at
the elementary level by passing the appropriate ExCET/TExES or by meeting the High Objective Uniform
Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE). Specialist Elementary Education Teachers: A recent change in the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of “highly qualified” requires some specialist elementary education teachers, such as art or music teachers, to hold generalist certificates as well as their specialist certificates.
For more information see New Interpretation of Highly Qualified Teacher Standards for Elementary Single-subject Teachers.
Competency can be demonstrated at the
secondary level by passing the appropriate ExCET/TExES,
meeting HOUSE, or holding an academic major or the
equivalent in the subject taught.
See below for details on HOUSE for elementary and
Texas requires teachers who teach special education to
have a special education certificate. NCLB requires
teachers who teach special education to be “highly
qualified” in the subjects they teach.
Example: If a special education teacher teaches math,
science and English to special education students in grades 9-12,
the teacher would have to prove competency in each of the
three subjects (either by passing the content ExCET/TExES,
having an undergraduate major or meeting HOUSE).
Example: If a special education teacher teaches math,
science and English to special education students in PK-6,
the teacher could demonstrate competency by using HOUSE
for elementary teachers as long as she can demonstrate
that English/language arts, math, science and social
studies are all represented in the 24 points through
experience, college coursework or professional
development. Note: She has to have social studies points
even though she is not teaching social studies.
TEA releases “highly qualified” resource for special
The Texas Education Agency has released a chart to help
special education teachers understand changes to the
definition of a “highly qualified” educator passed as part
of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You
can view the chart at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/nclb/PDF/HQ021505.pdf.
Possible Flexibility for Special Ed Teachers
Teacher-of-record: Only the teacher-of-record has to be “highly qualified.” The
teacher-of-record is the teacher responsible for the class who gives assessments, issues grades,
etc. If a special education teacher pulls special education students out of a regular class for
supplemental help or tutoring, she may not have to be highly qualified.
Special education teachers are not required to demonstrate subject-matter competency in any
core academic subject if they are only: (1) providing consultation services to other teachers,
such as adapting curricula, using behavioral supports and interventions, or selecting
appropriate accommodations for children with study skills or organizational skills; or
(2)reinforcing instruction that the child has already received from a highly qualified teacher
in a core academic subject.
Life skills classes: Teachers may not have to be highly qualified if they are teaching students with
disabilities in cases where 90 percent of students are receiving functional (life)
skills instruction (identified as participating in a
functional-based LDAA assessment) and are not receiving
instructions in the TEKS.
NCLB: Highly Qualified and the HOUSE Standard
The Texas Education Agency released the High Objective
Uniform Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE)—the alternative
method for experienced teachers to demonstrate competency
to meet the “highly qualified” standard of the No Child
Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Only "experienced teachers" can use the HOUSE option. TEA required all
experienced teachers (those hired before the first day of instruction of the 2005-06 school year)
to complete the HOUSE procedures by June 1, 2007. Exceptions are listed below.
Beginning with the 2007-08 school year, HOUSE procedures will be approved only for the
- Experienced or newly hired multi-subject secondary teachers in
schools who are highly qualified in a subject when hired may use HOUSE to demonstrate
competency in additional subjects within three years of their hire date.
- Multi-subject special education teachers new to teaching or new to teaching special
education may use HOUSE to demonstrate competency in additional subjects within two years of
their hire date if they are highly qualified in language arts, mathematics, or science at the
time of hire. This option may only be implemented after completing one year of teaching.
- Visiting international teachers participating in SBEC/TEA recognized foreign teacher
exchange programs may use HOUSE to demonstrate highly qualified teacher status for a period
not to exceed three years.
- Experienced secondary teachers eligible to use HOUSE option prior to end of the 2006-07
school year who were highly qualified in prior assignment and are subsequently asked or
required to add or change teaching assignments may use HOUSE to demonstrate highly qualified
status in new assignments. This use of HOUSE is not available for teachers who request changes
in assignment and will be phased out at the end of 2008-09.
- Experienced secondary teachers of a foreign language in which Texas does not currently
provide both a written and oral teacher certification exam may use HOUSE to demonstrate highly
qualified status. This option will be phased out as additional written and oral certification
exams are developed and implemented. As applicable certification exams are implemented for a
foreign language, teachers of that foreign language will no longer be able to use this HOUSE
- Experienced secondary teachers may continue to use HOUSE to demonstrate subject-matter
competency in mathematics or science. This option is in preparation for the new 4 x 4 high
school graduation requirements and will be phased out at the end of 2012-13.
- Any experienced teacher who is documented as highly qualified by their district and who is
subsequently determined by TEA not to be highly qualified during the highly qualified teacher
validation process using the original method, but who is determined to be highly qualified
using HOUSE options may be documented as highly qualified at TEA’s discretion. This option is
intended for teachers who were found to be highly qualified based on documentation provided
(HOUSE options) but not by the method (certification exam or college coursework) used by their
district. This option is only to be implemented when the district is part of the highly
qualified teacher validation process and has made an error. TEA will notify the district when,
and if, the HOUSE option may be used for a teacher.
The HOUSE standard will be most relevant for educators who
took the TECAT and have not subsequently taken an ExCET/TExES and also for those educators who are teaching
in an area not covered by their certification (out-of-field).
NCLB: Requirements for Paraprofessionals
Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, all Title I
paraprofessionals must have a secondary school diploma or
its recognized equivalent (including paraprofessionals who
serve as translators or who conduct parental involvement
activities). All Title I paraprofessionals who have any
instructional support duties must satisfy one of the
- Completed two years of study at an institution of higher education [further defined as
completion of 48 semester hours (or equivalent trimester hours) of college coursework or an
applicable number of semester hours as defined by the institution of higher education
attended, whichever is less]; or
- Obtained an associate’s (or higher) degree; or
- Met a rigorous standard of quality and be able to
demonstrate, through a formal state or local academic
assessment, knowledge of and the ability to assist in
instructing reading, writing and mathematics (or knowledge of, and the ability to assist in
instructing reading readiness, writing readiness and mathematics readiness, as appropriate).
All paraprofessionals who provide instructional support in
a program supported with Title I, Part A funds are covered
by NCLB, including
- Provide one-on-one tutoring if such tutoring is
scheduled at a time when a student would not otherwise
receive instruction from a teacher;
- Assist with classroom management, such as organizing
instructional and other materials;
- Provide instructional assistance in a computer
- Conduct parental involvement activities;
- Provide support in a library or media center;
- Act as a translator; or
- Provide instructional support services under the
direct supervision of a highly qualified teacher.
Teacher Quality and Title 1 Paraprofessional Qualifications (MS PowerPoint) and http://www.tea.state.tx.us/nclb/newpolicy/t1para.pdf
for more information.
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