Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Helping Teachers Make the Grade: NBPTS, HBCUs Partner to Prepare African American Teachers for National Certification. (Noteworthy News: The Latest News from across the Country)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Helping Teachers Make the Grade: NBPTS, HBCUs Partner to Prepare African American Teachers for National Certification. (Noteworthy News: The Latest News from across the Country)

Article excerpt

RESTON, V.A.

The role of historically Black colleges and universities in preparing Black teachers for national certification was highlighted during "Recreate the Legacy of Educational Excellence," a half-day conference session sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) last month in Reston, Va.

NBPTS sponsored the session to discuss ways to partner with HBCUs, which produce nearly 50 percent of the African American teaching force, says Treopia Washington, NBPTS vice president of strategic partnerships. The purpose was to give HBCUs "an opportunity to view the direct correlation between the National Board's Standards and teaching excellence--which is key to creating and revamping teacher education programs based on the Standards," she says.

To become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), teachers volunteer to go through a rigorous assessment that includes a nearly year-long process of documenting their subject matter knowledge, showing evidence that they know how to effectively teach their subjects and demonstrating their ability to manage and measure student learning. According to the NBPTS, as of March 2002, more than 16,000 teachers across the United States have earned National Board Certification.

In 2000-2001, 148 out of 491 African American teachers who graduated from HBCUs and applied for certification were certified, according to Dr. Daria Thomas, a researcher for NBPTS.

Thomas, who is studying the differences between the success rates of White candidates and Black candidates, reported that the overall certification rate is 50 percent, but that there is a discrepancy when comparing the certification rate of White candidates and Black candidates. White teachers experience a 62 percent pass rate while Black teachers experience an 18 percent pass rate.

Thomas is conducting adverse impact research to "find out why more African American teachers are not coming forward to be certified," and "why they are not being certified at the same rate."

The number of candidates appears to be on the rise, however. Last year, 333 African American primary and secondary teachers earned national board certification--the highest number ever in one year, reports the NBPTS. That brings the total to 623 African American primary and secondary certified teachers across the United States. States with the highest number of African American nationally board certified teachers are North Carolina (110), South Carolina (49), Florida (41), Mississippi (31) and California (25).

The conference highlighted HBCUs' efforts in realigning their teacher education programs with NBPTS standards, sponsoring support programs for teachers and partnering with school districts to recruit teachers for certification.

Dr. Vinetta Jones, dean of Howard University's School of Education, talked about Howard's work as a Center for Assessment and its commitment to encourage urban teachers from Maryland and Washington to become NBCTs. "Our goal has been to let them know that there is a support system for them," she says.

Jones applauded the work of the NBPTS as well as the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) in providing the opportunity for HBCUs to share what is working for the various institutions. …

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