Measuring what matters: NBCTs on National Board Certification

More than 150 research studies have examined the impact of National Board Certification for teachers. Now, for the first time, a team of NBCTs have revealed their analyses of the research — from the perspective of highly accomplished teachers who have completed the process themselves and seen its impact first-hand on their practice and their students.

The new report, Measuring What Matters: The Effects of National Board Certification on Advancing 21st Century Teaching and Learning, was released on July 16 during an NBPTS policy summit in Washington, D.C. Among the 10 NBCT-authors are eight members of the Teacher Leaders Network Forum. The team represents a diverse cross-section of teachers from different grade levels, school settings and regions of the nation.

The report was commissioned by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and developed under the auspices of the Center for Teaching Quality as part of its TeacherSolutions program, which supports accomplished teachers in studying and offering their unique perspectives on important policy issues.

Education Week’s coverage of the report is highlighted on the website today. It summarizes the findings of the group this way:

Conflicting data on the extent of the impact that nationally certified teachers have on student achievement do not paint a complete picture of the benefits of the rigorous certification process on the participants, their schools, and their students, a report by a group of teachers that have earned the credential concludes.

Teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the group says, should take a more active role in policy discussions and instructional decisions, and promote a definition of teacher quality that goes beyond test results.

“If we continue to sit by and let others define effective teaching, we will always be reactors, not actors, on the school reform stage where the policies that control our daily work play out,” says the report….

After studying research on the program that spans more than a decade, the team of 10 teachers found “a great disconnect between what matters most to teaching effectiveness and what was actually being measured by researchers, both in terms of teacher efficacy and student learning.”

On the issue of teacher leadership, the Education Week story includes this passage:

The [National Board for Professional Teaching Standards] is also working on developing standards for teacher leaders, to help certified educators continue their professional growth.

“So often, these teachers are all dressed up and have nowhere to go,” Mr. Aguerrebere said, referring to their advanced preparation and few opportunities to contribute beyond their classrooms. “This would help teachers take the next logical step” and be leaders in their schools and districts.”

The report includes an executive summary and an Open Letter to the nation’s NBCTs titled “A Call to Leadership.”

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