P.O. BOX 2120




January 9, 2004




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Virginia's Proposed High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) for Experienced Teachers



The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 requires all states and school divisions to ensure that all teachers of the core academic subjects be highly qualified by the end of the 2005-06 school year. The law applies to teachers in core academic areas that include English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography. The law requires that to be designated as highly qualified new teachers must hold a bachelors degree, have full state licensure (including alternative licensure), and demonstrate subject-matter competence in the core academic subjects taught.


Experienced teachers must meet requirements by the end of the 2005-06 school year to be designated as highly qualified. No Child Left Behind provides the following options for meeting the highly qualified definition:


(a) passing a rigorous state academic subject matter

test; or


(b)         completing an academic major, graduate degree, coursework equivalent to an academic major, or advanced certification or credentialing for middle or secondary school teachers; or


(c)         using the High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE). The HOUSSE provides states with a method by which teachers can demonstrate competency in each subject they teach.


The NCLB legislation allows states to establish a process for evaluating teacher knowledge and ability based on a high objective uniform state standard of evaluation that meets each of the following criteria [Section 9101(23)(c)(ii)]:

                    Is set by the state for both grade-appropriate academic subject matter knowledge and teaching skills;

                    Is aligned with challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards and developed in consultation with core content specialists, teachers, principals, and school administrators;

                    Provides objective, coherent information about the teachers attainment of core content knowledge in the academic subjects in which a teacher teaches;

                    Is applied uniformly to all teachers in the same academic subject and teaching in the same grade level throughout the state;

                    Takes into consideration, but not be based primarily on, the time the teacher has been teaching in the academic subject; and

                    Will be made available to the public upon request.


The law recognizes that teachers who have been in the classroom have a variety of experiences and preparation that may demonstrate their competency in the subjects they teach. Therefore, the HOUSSE system may involve multiple, objective measures of teacher competency.


The proposed HOUSSE for Virginia may be accessed on the following Teacher Education and Licensure Web page:

On this page, please refer to the topic, Virginia's Proposed High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) for Experienced Teachers. The chart on this site provides the requirements allowed by the NCLB legislation as well as the options recommended in the HOUSSE for elementary, middle, secondary, and prek-12 teaching assignments. In developing the HOUSSE, the document has been reviewed by a number of individuals, including human resource directors representing the superintendents eight regions.


The proposed HOUSSE was received by the Board of Education for first review on January 7, 2004. The board will receive the proposal for final review at its regular meeting on February 25, 2004. Subsequently, personnel in the Department of Education will schedule a training workshop on this new policy as well as provide technical assistance as needed.


If you have questions or comments regarding the proposed HOUSSE, please contact Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, at (804) 371-2522,( or Patty S. Pitts, director of professional licensure, at