November 21, 2003, Extra Credit
Archived Information

  Subscribe  Share this page Share this page
November 21, 2003
Past Extra Credits
 November 20
 All issues

Defining Highly Qualified, Part Two

As part of meeting No Child Left Behind's highly qualified teacher standard, teachers in core academic subjects must demonstrate their subject matter competence as defined by the state. The law includes provisions to consider the differences between elementary and middle and high school teachers as well as between newly hired teachers and those with experience.

Elementary school teachers who are new to the profession must demonstrate competency by passing a rigorous state test on subject knowledge and teaching skills in reading or language arts, writing, mathematics and other areas of the basic elementary school curriculum. At the middle and high school levels, new teachers must demonstrate competency either by passing a rigorous state test in each subject they teach, or by holding an academic major or course work equivalent to an academic major, an advanced degree or advanced certification or credentials.

Teachers with experience must either meet the requirements for new teachers, or they may demonstrate competency based on a system designed by each state. NCLB recognizes that many teachers who have experience may already have the qualifications necessary to be deemed highly qualified. Therefore the law allows states to create a high, objective, uniform state standard of evaluation (HOUSSE) based on the following criteria:

  1. Are set by the state for grade-appropriate academic subject matter knowledge and teaching skills.
  2. Are aligned with challenging state academic content and student achievement standards and developed in consultation with core content specialists, teachers, principals and school administrators.
  3. Provide objective, coherent information about the teacher's attainment of core content knowledge in the academic subjects in which a teacher teaches.
  4. Are applied uniformly to all teachers in the same academic subject and the same grade level throughout the state.
  5. Take into consideration, but are not based primarily on, the time a teacher has been teaching the academic subject.
  6. Are made available to the public upon request.
Teachers interested in learning more about No Child Left Behind's highly qualified teacher requirements can order a free copy of the U.S. Department of Education's "Toolkit for Teachers" by:

  • Calling the U.S. Department of Education's Publications Center (ED Pubs) toll-free at 1-877-4-ED-PUBS (1-877-433-7827); TTY/TDD: 1-877-576-7734; FAX: 1-301-470-1244;
  • Ordering online at:;
  • Emailing; or
  • Writing to request a copy: ED Pubs, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398.

About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

Subscribe to get the Extra Credit emailed to you.


Print this page Printable view Send this page Share this page
Last Modified: 11/24/2003