It is clear from new federal and state legislation that teacher preparation programs and student outcomes assessment are going to be more closely linked in the years ahead. Report cards are increasingly going to grade programs on the percentage of students passing performance measures. This trend is one not to fear, but is rather one requiring some program adjustments in how teachers are prepared and what they are expected to know and to do while in a graduate school preparation program.
Fortunately, there already exist some model pilot programs which are using as one criterion for success how well teachers in graduate programs are performing on student outcome measures. This article reports on such a program where teachers working toward National Board certification are not only working on national certification but are also gaining university credit toward a master's degree. Student Performance Assessment
A pervasive criticism of schooling, teaching and teacher education has prevailed in our country since the early 1980's (Sikula,1990). Since then a number of reform measures have been suggested and tried. Few have met with as much support as the notion of improving teaching in schools via a voluntary process whereby experienced teachers improve their effectiveness with students by engaging in an ongoing assessment of student performance.
This new emphasis on student and teacher performance is influencing the ways that teachers are being selected, prepared, licensed, and recognized. Teaching effectiveness in the future will be more commonly assessed via student performance. This is increasingly becoming evident in schools and personnel development programs. A record of student performance is becoming a common part of teacher assessment portfolios. In the National Board certification process candidates develop school-site portfolios that show evidence of teaching practice through student work, videotapes of classroom interaction, and written commentaries that reflect their actions and provide a window into what they do and how they think about it. Long-term involvement with both the parent and educational community is expected to be documented in the portfolios. Eventually, at assessment centers, in a day-long series of essay examinations, teachers trying for national certification focus on content knowledge and on age-appropriate content and strategies used to teach subject matter.
A Trend in the Making
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) developed a voluntary certification system based on performance standards and assessments of accomplished practice for teachers in a dozen fields, with plans to eventually expand to 30 plus certification areas. The National Board's work is becoming more aligned with national certification standards as developed by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE is moving more toward performance-based accreditation. Teacher candidates' performance - not just curriculum and other input measures - will be evaluated by onsite examing teams as part of NCATE 2000.
The NBPTS and NCATE have formed a partnership to: (a) assist colleges and universities in modifying master's degree programs so that they are built upon NBPTS standards; (b) encourage teacher preparation programs to develop standard-based, practice-oriented master's degree curricula; (c) redesign master's programs to integrate subject matter and pedagogical content and include portfolios; and (d) describe models that are closely linked to the standards for accomplished teaching.
Research to Date
So far the research analyzing the impact of Board certified teachers has been meager. Several avenues of research need to be further developed. What appears to be the case thus far was best summarized in a February, 1998, Phi Delta Kappan article entitled "National Board Certification: Increasing Participation and Assessing Impacts" (Rotberg, Futrell & Lieberman). …