CCSA Answers: How to Get "Highly Qualified" Under NCLB

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June 22, 2012

Question: I have four experienced teachers with multiple subject teaching credentials teaching single-subject courses at the middle school level. How can I get them "highly qualified" under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)?

Answer: When a teacher is teaching outside of their subject area or outside of what their credential allows, and wants to become a highly qualified teacher under NCLB, the teacher must first obtain an "appropriate credential" to teach the subject matter in the setting. There are two options available:

Option 1: Apply for an Introductory or Subject Matter Authorization, which is aligned with the NCLB requirements and can be attached to any credential.

To obtain a Subject Matter Authorization, a teacher must either:

  • complete 32 semester units (48 quarter units) of non-remedial course work (exception: the subject of History requires a minimum of 16 semester units in both world history and U.S. history) OR
  • earn a degree major from a regionally-accredited college or university in a subject directly related to the subject to be listed on the credential

Option 2: Teacher obtains a second credential.

To obtain a second credential, a teacher must:

  1. Demonstrate subject matter knowledge/competency by either:
    a) Passing all sections of the appropriate CSET exam OR
    b) Completing 32 semester units (48 quarter units) of non-remedial course work (exception: the subject of History requires a minimum of 16 semester units in both world history and U.S. history) OR
    c) Holding/earning a degree major from a regionally-accredited college or university in a subject directly related to the subject to be listed on the credential
  2. Have completed appropriate pedagogy coursework (High School for Single Subject, K-8 for Multiple Subject)


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