Requirements for Intervention Specialists of Students Taking Alternate Assessments

Highly Qualified Teacher update for intervention specialists of students eligible for the alternate assessment in grades 7-12

Starting in 2016-2017, intervention specialists of students eligible for the Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities in Grades 7-12 will need to comply with new requirements to meet highly qualified teacher status. These intervention specialists provide instruction for students with significant cognitive or low incidence disabilities.

The changes affecting intervention specialists relate to their need to show evidence of content knowledge in the core academic subjects of their teaching assignments. As before, a highly qualified teacher also must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as a valid Ohio teaching license appropriate to the teaching assignment.

Intervention specialists for Grades 7-12 will no longer be using Form D in the HQT Toolkit to complete HQT reporting. By the beginning of 2016-2017, they will need to annually document how they meet highly qualified teacher status on Form E.

Options for Showing Evidence of Content Knowledge

By the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, intervention specialists of Grades 7-12 are to show evidence of relevant content knowledge by having completed one of the options below in each core academic subject(s) of their teaching assignments. In addition, the department highly recommends that all teachers take training in the Ohio Learning Standards – Extended for Grades 7-12 in the content areas of their teaching assignment. The four options are:

  1. Taking and passing an Ohio Assessment for Educators exam, e.g. the Middle Grades Math or having taken and passed (with evidence) a previous licensing exam (Praxis II) in the core subject area as noted on Form E; or
  2. Showing evidence of having completed 30 college semester hours (an academic major); or
  3. Having a master’s degree in the core academic subject, e.g. master’s degree in reading; or
  4. Completing 90 clock hours of professional development (post-initial licensure).*

*About the Professional Development Option

To meet the federal highly qualified teacher definition, the intervention specialist can select option four above and complete at least 90 total clock hours of professional development. Please note the following about this professional development requirement:

  • Teachers must complete at least 45 unique clock hours of professional development related to the content of each subject area they teach.
  • To meet the 90 clock-hour minimum, teachers also can count up to 45 clock hours of pedagogy (universal or content-specific) toward the requirement
  • 90 clock-hours must be completed post-initial licensure as an intervention specialist
  • Pedagogy clock hours may relate specifically to the subject area instructed, or may be described as universal pedagogy focusing on content integration. For example,
    • Balanced literacy is specific to the subject of English language arts and would represent pedagogy specific to the subject; and
    • Formative Instructional Practices is pedagogy that is used across all content areas and would represent content integration.

If meeting highly qualified teacher status through the professional development option, intervention specialists should make a plan to participate in, and verify, clock hours. Some professional development taken during the past two years may count toward earning highly qualified teacher status. See the department’s Resource Guide, which outlines this option in more detail.


  • Resource Guide   This guide will outline a variety of free and low-cost professional development options in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. The guide also will provide resources that intervention specialists can complete as part of professional learning communities.
  • Guidelines for Professional Development  The department prepared this handbook primarily for principals and supervisors of Grades 7-12 intervention specialists who instruct students with significant cognitive or low incidence disabilities. This brief document provides guidance on selecting and documenting professional development in accordance with highly qualified teacher requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (updated 10/9/2014)

Who does this apply to? 
The new requirement applies to any intervention specialist for Grades 7-12 who is providing instruction for students who take, or are eligible to take, the Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. These teachers provide all of the instruction and assign grades for a given academic content area.

When do I have to be in compliance with this new requirement?
The requirements must be in place when hiring for the 2016-2017 school year takes place.

Who can help me meet this new requirement?
The Ohio Department of Education has developed a Resource Guide (provide link) for intervention specialists to obtain professional development and training through regional education agencies such as State Support Teams.

I am a teacher of several content areas. Do I have to complete unique pedagogy clock hours for each core subject area?
You may choose to count a maximum of 45 clock hours in pedagogy professional development (universal or content-specific) toward the 90-hour professional development requirement. You may apply the same pedagogy clock hours (universal or content-specific) to multiple subject areas of your teaching assignment.

Please remember also that you must complete at least 45 clock hours of content-specific professional development for each subject area of your teaching assignment.

When I complete the work for highly qualified teacher status, who do I submit or report my evidence to?
Teachers should keep documentation of all coursework and/or professional development opportunities they have completed for highly qualified teacher purposes and turn it into their school districts each year. The Ohio Department of Education does not review or maintain documentation; it is important that teachers and schools keep their own records.

If I have taken and passed a licensing exam in a core subject area and hold evidence of this, do I need to also take the Ohio Assessment for Educators exam in that same core subject area?
If a teacher has evidence (a results sheet from the testing company) that he or she has taken and passed an appropriate licensing exam in the core subject area (acceptable exams are listed in the HQT toolkit) then the teacher would not need to sign up and take an Ohio Assessment for Educators Exam in the same core subject area.

The HQT Guidance for Intervention Specialists says "Some professional development taken during the past two years may count toward earning highly qualified teacher status." What does this mean?
The two year timeline begins with the 2011-2012 school year. Beginning in 2011, professional development opportunities were offered to special educators that addressed the extended learning standards (as noted on the Resource Guide HQT Integrity Checklist). Please check the HQT Integrity Checklist for some examples of offerings that could count toward earning highly qualified teacher status. 

If I took HQT courses offered since 2002 by the Educational Service Centers, will I meet changes in HQT for intervention specialists by 2016-17?
If you took HQT online modules focused on 7-12 content in language arts, mathematics, science or social studies through regional entities and have certificates of completion, this can be used. If prior HQT status was attained through face-to-face or online PD, it may or may not be approved to meet the new HQT requirement. Prior PD may apply IF the content and title of the PD was specific to grades 7-12 in any of the four content areas.   It is encouraged that approved professional development is aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards grades 7-12 and training in the extended standards. Professional development targeted in content areas for grades K-6 only cannot be used.

For more information
Please direct any questions regarding the requirements to

Last Modified: 4/20/2017 3:23:11 PM