Measuring What Matters: The Effects of National Board Certification on Advancing 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Center for Teaching Quality
June 2008

Two years ago, the Center for Teaching Quality, typically a redoubt of conventional thinking, launched its TeacherSolutions initiative, by which it invites expert teachers to weigh in on the educational research literature. The (reasonable) idea is that practitioners, via their in-the-trenches experience, have a unique perspective on policy issues--one not possessed by researcher and policymaker types. This latest TeacherSolutions paper presents the collective ruminations of ten National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) about the National Board literature. What they say, however, fails the unique or solution-oriented litmus test. After examining roughly a dozen studies on National Board certification, they decree they're based "on limited or misguided thinking about what effective teaching looks like." What follows is the tired clarion call for using multiple measures to assess student learning and evaluate teachers. A handful of recommendations, however, are pretty sensible. For instance, the teachers suggest offering NBCTs incentives to lead efforts to improve their schools and spread teaching expertise to their colleagues. They also recommend that the vault of teacher videos and student work--which are routinely submitted by candidates to the Board--be systematically analyzed (and made public) so the field has a deeper understanding of what effective teaching looks like (and doesn't look like). You can pan for the golden nuggets here.

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