HOUSSE: High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation
An alternative method to assessing teacher subject matter competency is the High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE). HOUSSE allows current teachers to demonstrate subject matter competency and Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirements through a combination of proven teaching experience, professional development, and knowledge in the subject acquired over time through working in the field. Some examples of requirements that States use to measure a teacher’s competency in his or her subject area are writing curriculum, assessments, or both; teaching a course at an institution of higher learning; being a peer mentor; receiving regional, national, or State teaching awards; and having a certain amount of teaching experience, just to name a few. Hours spent completing the requirements earn a certain number of points that each teacher must accumulate to prove that he or she is highly qualified. A teacher may choose this route instead of demonstrating competency through examination, college major, college major equivalency, graduate degree, or advanced certification in the core content area taught.
The law gives states the latitude to create an evaluation process of subject matter competency, as long as it meets seven criteria. The evaluation should
- Be set by the State for both grade appropriate academic subject matter knowledge and teaching skills
- Be aligned with challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards and developed in consultation with core content specialists, teachers, principals, and school administrators
- Provide objective, coherent information about the teacher's attainment of core content knowledge in the academic subjects in which a teacher teaches
- Be applied uniformly to all teachers in the same academic subject and the same grade level throughout the State
- Take into consideration, but not be based primarily on the time the teacher has been teaching in the academic subject
- Be made available to the public upon request
- May involve multiple, objective measures of teacher competency (ESEA Section 23(c)(ii))
Link to Online Database of State HOUSSE Information and Options
The Education Commission of the States’ NCLB/Teaching Quality Online Database provides HOUSSE information and HQT definitions by State, State Comparisons, and State reports on HOUSSE options and HQT definitions by all grade levels (elementary through secondary).