National Board Certification and Developmentally Appropriate Practices: Perceptions of Impact

Article excerpt

The study investigated a relationship between National Board certification and perceived use of developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). A self-developed survey, the Early-childhood Teacher Inventory of Practices, was e-mailed to participants. Participants included 246 non-National Board-certified (non-NBCT) and 135 National Board-certified (NBCT) early childhood teachers. Descriptives were reported for age, years of teaching experience, grade level currently teaching, ethnicity, degree type, certification type, and degree level. Inferential statistics were used to understand the differences between perceived use of DAP. NBCTs scored significantly higher than non-NBCTs in three of the four target areas and on the total of the scale. Pearson product-moment corelations were used to determine a relationship between years of experience or level of education and NBCTs' perceived use of DAP. Years of experience were significantly related, but level of education was not. The findings indicate that NBCT teachers perceive they incorporate more developmentally appropriate practices into their teaching than do non-NBCT teachers.

Keywords: National Board certification, developmentally appropriate practices


Teacher quality has been in the public focus for decades and is a pivotal factor in determining student success (Darling-Hammond, 2000). There is a positive relationship between subject matter knowledge and teacher performance (Colker, 2008; Darling-Hammond, 2000), and coursework and education affect the quality of the teacher (Walsh & Tracy, 2004). Clotfelter, Ladd, and Vigdor (2007) reported a relationship between teachers' effectiveness and years of teaching experience, and the teacher's level of literacy has been found to contribute to teacher success (Walsh & Tracy, 2004). Clotfelter et al. found certified teachers to be more effective than noncertified teachers. Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde (2005) found that effective teachers use practices that are experiential, expressive, holistic, authentic, reflective, social, cognitive, challenging, constructivist, collaborative, democratic, student centered, and developmental.


The need for quality teachers has been the focal point of the education reform movements of the 20th century. A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) escalated public concern regarding the state of education in America, expressing concern that the American education system was "failing to keep pace with a changing American and global society" (Harman, 2001, p. 1). In response, A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century (Carnegie Corporation, 1986) concluded that American education was in a state of crisis and the solution was to devise a way of identifying and recognizing exemplary teachers by establishing a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) (Vandevoort, Amrein-Beardsley, & Berliner, 2004). The central goal was to create a set of national standards for what excellent teachers would need to know and be able to do, and the board would grant advanced certification to the teachers who met those standards (Harman, 2001). In 1990, the National Board used the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) position statement on developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), coupled with current research on how young children learn, to develop a set of early childhood generalist standards detailing what must be achieved to become an accomplished early childhood teacher (Sadowski, 2006).


Research supports the use of developmentally appropriate practices and connects DAP to the developing brain of the young child (Rushton & Larkin, 2001). In early childhood classrooms where learning is child initiated, children appear to be more creative and to use more divergent thinking than students in more didactic, academic-centered classrooms (Hyson, Hirsh-Pasek, & Rescorla, 1990). …