Under the terms of the NCLB Act, individual states have considerable latitude in establishing the requirements for teachers to meet the “highly qualified” competency standard. In late October 2003, Texas completed and released the last remaining option for some Texas teachers to meet subject competency in the form of the High, Objective, Uniform Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE) plan. The requirements differ for elementary and secondary teachers.

Experienced elementary school teachers HOUSE

Competency is demonstrated by meeting all of the following criteria:

  • The teacher has at least one creditable year of teaching experience (occurring in 2008-2009 or earlier).

AND

  • The teacher has a minimum of 24 points derived from any combination of the following:

    1) Experience teaching at the elementary level
    1 year=1 point
    (maximum of 12 points)

    2) College coursework in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and/or Social Studies*
    1 college hour=1 point

    3) Professional development that meets the standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit established by SBEC rules, as codified in the Texas Administrative Code (Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 232, Subchapter R).
    15 CPE clock hours=1 point

AND

  • Each of the subjects (English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies*) is represented in the 24 points, whether through experience, college coursework or professional development.

*Note: The Social Studies requirement may be met through coursework or CPE hours in government, history, economics, geography or political science.

Flexibility options

In efforts to provide flexibility to experienced teachers, TEA will allow the campus and school district to count other state certification examinations or national assessment instruments for teacher licensing as professional development points toward meeting the elementary HOUSE A option. For each elementary examination or assessment instrument for teacher licensing taken by an elementary teacher, the campus/school district may count two points toward the 24 point requirement.

This flexibility only exists to allow a teacher to count an examination or assessment instrument for teacher licensing for points toward professional development in the applicable HOUSE procedures and in no way relates to a teacher becoming certified in Texas. The campus/district must maintain proper documentation in order to implement this flexibility.)

Secondary school teachers HOUSE plan

Competency is demonstrated by meeting both of the following criteria:

  • The teacher has at least one creditable year of teaching experience in the subject to be taught or in a closely related field;

AND

  • The teacher has a minimum of 24 points (at least six of which represent the subject to be taught) derived from any combination of the following:

    1) Experience teaching at the secondary level in the subject to be taught or in a closely related field
    [ 1 year=1 point (maximum of 12 points) ]

    2) College coursework in the subject to be taught or in a closely related field
    [ 1 college hour=1 point ]

    3) Professional development in the subject to be taught or in a closely related field that meets the standards for CPE credit established by SBEC rules as codified in the Texas Administrative Code (Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 232, Subchapter R).
    [ 15 CPE clock hours=1 point ]

TEA has defined which fields may be considered "closely related" when determining a secondary teacher’s status under HOUSE. For foreign languages, there are no closely related fields. This list is not comprehensive; LEAs (school districts) may consider other fields as "closely related," as appropriate, but must maintain clear documentation of what is used to determine "highly qualified" status.

English

  • Reading
  • Speech
  • Journalism

Reading/Language Arts

  • English
  • Speech
  • Journalism

History

  • Geography
  • Government
  • Economics
  • Political Science

Economics

  • Government
  • History
  • Geography
  • Political Science

Geography

  • History
  • Economics
  • Government
  • Political Science

Civics and Government

  • History
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Political Science

Science

  • Life Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Life/Earth Science
  • Physics
  • Chemistry

Arts

  • Art
  • Music
  • Theatre arts
  • Dance

Mathematics

  • Engineering
  • Statistics
  • Accounting

Foreign Languages

None—For purposes of HOUSE, one foreign language is not considered "closely related" to another; therefore, experience teaching French, for example, cannot be counted toward experience teaching German.

Flexibility option

In an effort to provide flexibility to experienced teachers, TEA will allow the campus and school district to count other state certification examinations or national assessment instruments for teacher licensing as professional development points toward meeting the Secondary HOUSE option. For each secondary examination or assessment for teacher licensing taken, in the core academic subject or closely related field, by a secondary teacher, the campus/school district may count two points toward the 24 point requirement.

This flexibility option only exists to allow a teacher to count an examination or assessment instrument for teacher licensing for points toward professional development in the applicable HOUSE procedures and in no way relates to a teacher becoming certified in Texas. The campus/district must maintain proper documentation in order to implement this flexibility.)

HOUSE for Secondary Special Education Teachers

The special education teacher has at least one creditable year of teaching experience in the subject to be taught or in a closely related field and must document 24 points derived from:

• Meeting the standard for Elementary Highly Qualified (9 points for competency in reading/language arts, math, science, or social studies);

OR

Passing an appropriate TExES Certification Exam (Note: Special Education Supplemental TExES does not demonstrate subject competency):

  • EC-12 Special Ed (or competency in reading/language arts or math) ;
  • or 4-8 Generalist (for competency in reading/language arts, math, science, or social studies);
  • or 4-8 Content Specific Exam (for specific content area only) (12 points for competency in the appropriate content area)

AND

Experience teaching in the core academic subject area or related field at the secondary level [1 year = 1 point (maximum of 12 points) 2];

AND/OR

College coursework in the core academic subject area or closely related field (1 college hour = 1 point);

AND/OR

Professional development in the core academic subject area or related field that meets the standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit {as defined in TAC, Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 232, Subchapter R} [ 15 CPE clock hours = 1 point ].

NOTES:

  1. If using the Elementary HOUSE option for documenting the 9 points for meeting the standard for Elementary Highly Qualified, the teacher may not count the same college coursework or professional development for meeting Elementary HOUSE and Secondary Special Ed HOUSE.
  2. If using the Elementary teaching experience under the Elementary HOUSE option for documenting the 9 points for meeting the standard for Elementary Highly Qualified, the teacher may only count a maximum of 12 years teaching experience in any combination under this HOUSE option.
  3. Districts may allow 6 points of college coursework or professional development for Special Education strategies and modifications.)

TCTA efforts benefit teachers

TCTA worked closely with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in the development of HOUSE, primarily urging that the standards not require another test or similar artificial hurdle for teachers who are clearly “highly qualified” by virtue of having met earlier certification standards and having years of successful teaching experience.

We also were successful in persuading the TEA of the following:

  • The year of creditable teacher service required for existing teachers can be at any grade level.
  • College coursework or CPE credit that incorporates methods for teaching a subject can count for credit under HOUSE, at least for elementary teachers.
  • Only six of the 24 points required for secondary teachers under HOUSE must be in the subject taught, due to teachers’ lack of control over their assignment and, in many instances, professional development.
  • Any prior coursework, professional development or CPE credit earned may count for HOUSE.
  • The same broad criteria as set out in SBEC rules for allowable types of professional development activities will count toward HOUSE points.
  • It is premature for school districts to notify parents that teachers employed prior to the first day of instruction of the 2002-03 school year are not “highly qualified,” since these teachers have until the end of the 2005-06 school year to meet this standard.