National Board Certification: Is North Carolina Getting Its Money's Worth?

  • Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
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The N.C. Education Alliance is a special project of the John Locke Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute based in North Carolina. The Alliance was created in 1998 and is directed by Lindalyn Kakadelis, a former teacher and Charlotte school board member. Its Steering Committee is made up of reform-minded school board members, county commis-sioners, business executives, educators, and other local leaders. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or board of the Foundation.

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... NBPTS certification has been reported to be more difficult to attain than state teacher licensure (Goldhaber & Anthony, 2007)., 2007), and there remains a question whether the process of National Board Certification is an effective means of identifying teacher quality, or if it is simply one that strengthens the existing labor force within the particular commercial context of education (Goldhaber & Anthony, 2007). In a policy report for the North Carolina Educational Alliance, NBPTS was criticized for standards that were vague, lacking the specificity of knowledge or strategy that teachers can realistically utilize (Leef, 2003). Moreover, the process for NBPTS evaluation and certification has been criticized. ...
... Critics of the National Board certification process also cited issues with internal validity when the research reported positive findings; gains in achievement were calculated against Board standards rather than external measures of validity (Goldhaber & Anthony, 2004; Podgursky, 2001). Moreover, in several instances, indicators of student outcomes and teacher effectiveness were based on results considered to be nebulous and difficult to measure (Leef, 2003; Podgursky, 2001). Such indicators include " exhibiting deeper learning outcomes " (Smith, Gordon, Colby & Wang, 2005, p. xvi); " differences in certain grades and subject areas " (Sanders, Ashton & Wright, 2005). ...
... 4) and based on an analytical model that did not account for a proper nesting structure of the data. Overall, there has been repeated critique of the NBPTS certification process with regard to the public and private monies allocated versus hard evidence that having the certification makes a significant and positive difference in student achievement (Leef, 2003; Vandevoort, Amrein-Beardsley, Berliner, 2004). Moreover, inconsistencies in research that convey impacts of NBCTs on student achievement, both negative and positive, have been widely reported and have been the impetus for continued study (Archer, 2002; Keller, 2002). ...
In 1986, the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy published A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century in which it recommended that a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) be established to ascertain and institute criteria for teacher excellence (Steiner, 1995). No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) mandated that every classroom employ a "highly qualified teacher" (No Child Left Behind, 2001a); moreover, NCLB articulated the relationship between improving student achievement and higher standards for qualifying classroom teachers (Rotberg, Futrell & Lieberman, 1998). Research conducted in Miami-Dade County supports Florida's use of National Board Certification (NBC) as an "effective signal of teacher quality"(CNA Corporation, 2004, p.1). Critical theorist, Michael Apple, emphasized the role of education as an agent for the maintenance of hegemony (Apple, 2004). However, Apple further posited that the actual bureaucracy of school – the institution of education itself – is reflective of the same consumerist ideology of society, thus making the hegemony even more complete. Using the aforementioned theoretical construct, the researcher examined the development of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the distribution of Nationally Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in a central Florida school district, and their professional responsibilities as a means of examining whether this mechanism for identifying "highly qualified teachers" achieves its stated aim of providing every student with access to a "highly qualified" teacher, as is legislated and funded per NCLB.
... As might be expected, therefore, the sizable commitment by the state to the NBPTS has its critics. For example, Leef (2003) wrote for the North Carolina Education Alliance that the state's financial commitment to NBCTs had topped $25 million dollars annually while the Board's standards, he claimed, had little relevance to teaching competency and were loaded with ideas drawn from "progressive education theory." (p. ...
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Contemporary research on teaching indicates that teachers are powerful contributors to students’ academic achievement, though the set and interrelationships of characteristics that make for high-quality and effective teaching have yet to be satisfactorily determined. Nevertheless, on the basis of the extant research and a vision of exemplary teaching, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards stipulated a definition of a superior teacher. The Board did this without empirical evidence to support their claim that teachers’ who meet the standards set by the Board were superior in promoting academic achievement to those who did not meet those standards. In the 17 years since the founding of the National Board, only a few empirical studies have addressed this important issue. In this study we compare the academic performance of students in the elementary classrooms of 35 National Board Certified teachers and their non-certified peers, in 14 Arizona school districts. Board Certified teachers and their principals provide additional information about these teachers and their schools. Four years of results from the Stanford Achievement Tests in reading, mathematics and language arts, in grades three through six, were analyzed. In the 48 comparisons (four grades, four years of data, three measures of academic performance), using gain scores adjusted for students’ entering ability, the students in the classes of National Board Certified Teachers surpassed students in the classrooms of non-Board certified teachers in almost threequarters of the comparisons. Almost one-third of these differences were statistically significant. In the cases where the students of non-Board certified teachers gained more in an academic year, none of the differences found were statistically significant. Effect size, translated into grade equivalents, informs us that the gains made by students of Board Certified teachers were over one month greater than the gains made by the students of non-Board certified peer teachers. Teachers identified through the assessments of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are, on average, more effective teachers in terms of academic achievement, one of the many outcomes of education for which teachers are responsible. This study does not address whether other, cheaper, or better alternatives to the National Boards exist, as some critics suggest. On the other hand, the results of this study provide support for the policies in many states that honor and provide extra remuneration for National Board Certified Teachers.
  • Board Games
  • Chester E Finn
  • Danielle Dunne Wilcox
Board Games, by Chester E. Finn and Danielle Dunne Wilcox, National Review, August 9, 1999, p. 26.