The Effectiveness of National Board Certified Teachers: Policy Implications

Article excerpt

In this mixed-method research study, data from public school personnel were used to determine the professional preparation of teachers through the National Board Certification process. The major goals of the study were to (a) analyze the perceptions of public school principals on the effectiveness of National Board certified teachers, (b) analyze the perceptions of teachers on the effectiveness of National Board certified teachers, and (c) determine whether differences exist in their perceptions based on gender, ethnicity, school role, and school level. The results from the mixed-method analysis showed that public school personnel's perceptions on the effectiveness of National Board certified teachers varied.


The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is an independent, nonprofit organization with the goal of establishing standards for teaching effectiveness. National Board Certification process is highly extensive and it involves yearlong assessment of actual teaching practice based on rigorous standards established by NBPTS (NBPTS, 2002b). The assessment process for teachers has two parts. The performance-based part of the assessment is done at the teacher's school where they build a portfolio that contain videotapes of classroom teaching, lesson plans, student work samples and reflective logs. The written assessment part involves a series of timed, written examinations for subject matter knowledge as well as pedagogical content knowledge. There are currently more than 55,000 National Board Certified Teachers in all 50 states (NBPTS, 2007). Participation in the programs has dramatically increased over the years partly due to the financial incentives associated with the certification.

States like North Carolina has invested heavily on National Board Certification, and the state has the largest number of National board Certified teachers. North Carolina encourages teachers to seek NBPTS certification, and has implemented statewide incentive for the process. The state pays the application fees of $2,300 for teachers who wish to pursue the certification and certified teachers receive an automatic 12 percent increase in their base salary. Limited research has been conducted on the perceptions of public school personnel on the effectiveness of NBPTS certification.

This study analyzed the perceptions of public school principals and teachers on the effectiveness of NBPTS certified teachers. In this study, the following research questions were addressed:

1. What are the perceptions of public school principals on the effectiveness of NBPTS certified teachers?

2. What are the perceptions of public school teachers on the effectiveness of NBPTS certified teachers?

3. Are there differences in their reported perceptions based on gender, ethnicity and school level?

Theoretical Framework of the Study

This research was based on the Five Core Propositions that described what quality teachers regardless of certification status should know and be able to do (NBPTS, 1989). The propositions state that teachers are committed to students and their learning, teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students, teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning, teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience, and teachers are members of learning communities (NBPTS, 1999). The basic goal of NBPTS is to promote and advance the quality of teaching and learning through established standards (NBPTS, 2002b). Prior work in the area of National Board Certification has evaluated the relationship between national board certification status of teachers and student academic achievement (Cavalluzo, 2004; Finn, 2003; Goldhaber & Anthony, 2004; Podgursky, 2001; Stone, 2002). Cavalluzo (2004) concluded that national board certification is an effective measure of teacher quality. …