TeacherSolutions: National Board Certification
Nearly 64,000 teachers throughout the United States have achieved National Board Certification, a rigorous assessment and certification process designed to recognize quality teaching. However, research studies are mixed on the impact that this certification process has on student learning, and several studies show little or no effect between the standardized test scores of the students taught by National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) and those taught by non-NBCTs.
As a result of these conflicted findings, some policymakers are beginning to question whether the certification process can promote the kinds of 21st century teaching needed for America’s economy and its democratic society. Perhaps the largest gap in data arises from the absence of NBCTs themselves, who have seldom been given the opportunity to express the impact of the certification process on their individual teaching practices. The TeacherSolutions National Board Certification team, comprised of expert teachers who are all NBCTs, is working to both analyze and augment the research findings through the lens of their own certification and classroom experiences. Their work is ultimately beginning to frame a new research agenda that will fill existing gaps around certification efficacy. In other words, to fully consider the impact of certification, the TS-NBCT is illuminating their experiences in their classrooms as a result of being NBCTs.
The TS-NBCT team is currently drafting a series of analyses and recommendations that consider the impact of certification on teacher development, student learning, and teacher leadership to assist policymakers in making informed decisions about the critical support of the certification process. As Nancy Flanagan – a National Board Certified Teacher, former Michigan State Teacher of the Year, and TeacherSolutions National Board moderator – has asserted:
"Making substantive connections between policymakers and teachers is the holy grail of teacher leadership, but nobody has devised good ways to make that happen. Currently, there is a profound misunderstanding of each other’s worlds and needs—on both sides. If TeacherSolutions could break through misinformation, it would be an incredible service to public education in America."
Be on the lookout for the TeacherSolutions National Board report in May 2008.