P.O. BOX 2120




March 5, 2004




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Virginias High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation for Experienced Teachers


During the February 25, 2004, meeting, the Board of Education approved Virginias 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.


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 in the case of 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 current teachers can demonstrate competency in each subject they teach.


The NCLB legislation allows states to establish a process of evaluating teachers knowledge and ability based on a high objective uniform state standard of evaluation. 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.


Attached is the approved HOUSSE for Virginia. The chart provides the requirements allowed by the NCLB legislation, as well as state options for elementary, middle, secondary, and prek-12 teaching assignments.


The Department of Education and the Virginia Association of School Personnel Administrators (VASPA) will host an institute on Friday, March 26, prior to The Great Virginia Teach-In: A Call to Teach at the Richmond Convention Center. This will be an opportunity to share information and discuss topics, such as the High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE), No Child Left Behind requirement for highly qualified teachers, the use of the SAT test as a substitute test for Praxis I, and the Virginia Instructional Reading assessment. The institute will begin with lunch at 12:15 p.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. You are invited to attend a reception that evening at 5:30 p.m. hosted by Governor Mark Warner. Please complete the attached response form, and return it to this office by March 17 if you and other staff members, such as your human resource director and licensure specialist, plan to attend the institute and the reception. To register for the Teach-In and to obtain information on hotel accommodations, please visit the Department of Educations website at and click The Great Virginia Teach-In: A Call to Teach. The toll free number for the Teach-In is 1-866-373-7004.


If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, assistant superintendent for teacher education and licensure, (mailto:, at (804) 371-2522.