Board-Certified Teachers More Effective, New Studies Affirm

National Board for Professional Teaching StandardsThe National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has offered a national certification for interested teachers since the late 1980s. There are currently 110,000 National Board certified teachers across the U.S. This blog wrote about changes the NBPTS made to its certification process to incentivize more teachers to become board-certified. With new research out showing that board-certified teachers help students achieve more in the classroom, perhaps even more educators will decide to undertake the rigorous certification process.

Following is an excerpt from an Education Week article about the new studies:

The first study, funded by the NBPTS and conducted by the Arlington, Va.-based CNA Analysis and Solutions, is based on the analysis of scores of thousands of Chicago and Kentucky secondary students between 2000 and 2012 linked to their teachers—an important addition to the research, because most prior studies have been based in Florida and North Carolina and focused on the lower grades.

In addition to looking at student performance on an ACT suite of assessments, the researchers also observed a subsample of teachers pursuing board certification and used a common framework to track growth in their abilities.

In all, the study found that board certification served as an effective “signal” of teacher quality, with students taught by those teachers doing better than students not taught by them, controlling for a variety of background characteristics.

A second study released last month, by James Cowan and Dan Goldhaber, both of the Center for Education Data & Research at the University of Washington Bothell, looked at the test scores of students taught by elementary and middle school teachers in Washington state; it found similar results to those of the CNA study.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that these studies do not evaluate teacher improvement over the course of their certification or compare before and after results, meaning that the reason that board-certified teachers do better may be because the best teachers were the ones who decided to pursue their board certification in the first place.

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