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The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1368

Research Paper

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS): An examination of the National Board’s impact on student achievement.

Introduction

In 1983, American educators released a report which directed attention to student academic achievement, which was assumed to be too low for the economic success of the United States. Risk’ (United States Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) Three years later, another report was released which presented recommendations to improve America’s educational system by focusing on the quality of the nation’s teaching force (Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986). These milestones in the history of the American educational system show the importance of teacher quality, which is reflected in the amendments made by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, challenging Americans to put a “highly qualified teacher” (NCLB Act, 2001)  in every classroom by the year 2006. As authorized under the NCLB Act of 2001, educators who teach core academic subjects must be licensed by the state, hold at least a bachelor’s degree at minimum, and demonstrate competence in the subject teaching area (NCLB Act, 2001). Additionally, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) supported and enforced this goal by aligning the requirements for special education teachers with the NCLB Act of 2001 requirements in order to improve student’s academic achievement.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a not for profit, nonpartisan organization that is governed by a 63-member board of directors that has a primary goal of upholding acceptable standards of teaching in the American educational system. A majority of the NBPTS directors agreed with the NCLB Act of 2001 requirements, but believed that those requirements are not the only requirements that will help produce highly qualified teachers (NBPTS, 2008). Because of the NBPTS’ commitment to shaping the kind of teaching profession that the nation needs, it established the following guidelines in its mission statement in order to advance the quality of teaching and learning: (a) maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do, (b) providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, and (c) advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers (NBPTS, 2008). Additionally, the NBPTS, which is dedicated to a mission statement that includes elevating the teaching profession identified five core propositions for National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), which are that (1) Teachers are committed to students and their learning, (2) Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students, (3) Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning, (4) Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience, and (5) Teachers are members of learning communities (NBPTS, 2008). These five core propositions form the foundation and combination of knowledge, skills, dispositions and beliefs that characterize National Board Certified Teachers. Given these developments forwarded by the NBCT, this paper seeks to investigate the extent to which NBCTs’ activities and commitments have had clearly identifiable effects on student achievement.

Problem Statement

Since its inception 22 years ago, two percent of the nation’s teaching population is National Board Certified (NBPTS, 2008), and millions of dollars in tax payer’s money are being expended yearly on certification processes. A review of literature suggests that increased student learning and achievement have never been accredited directly to the National Board Certification process (NBPTS, 2008). This is despite the fact that thousands of teachers have become National Board Certified, and that the number continues to grow yearly (NBPTS, 2008). Since the organization was established in 1987, more than 47,000 teachers have earned NBPTS certification and an additional 20,000 have applied for one of the 24 different certificates covering 14 different subject areas (Harris & Sass, 2007). Considering the number of teachers that are National Board Certified, coupled with the amount of money expended to obtain certification, more research is needed to validate the relationship between certification and student achievement. Although there have been research and review that attribute National Board Certification process to producing better teachers once they go through the certification process, most of the data is based on self-reporting, such as those in Burns (2007) and Petty et al. (2010), with limited emphasis on the direct link between certification and individual student achievement. That is, there is limited empirical data linking the National Board Certification with improved student achievement.

According to Goldhaber and Anthony (2005), there is no “evidence that the NBPTS certification process itself does anything to increase teacher effectiveness” (p. 3). This is further supported by the study of Rouse (2008) which found no difference between the achievement of students of NBCTs and students of non-NBCTs in the K-8 level, and by the study of Stronge et al. (2007) which found that teaching effectiveness of NBCTs are indistinguishable from the teaching effectiveness of non-NBCTs. Furthermore,   Harris and Sass (2007) claimed that the “NBPTS certification provides a positive signal of a teacher’s contribution to student achievement only in a few isolated cases” (p. 1). While many advocates of NBPTS embrace both the signal and catalyst hypothesis about their program’s benefits, critics and other research studies argue that there is little evidence to support either view and indeed question the significant investments that have been made in the program (Finn, 2003). However, such evidences do exist, such as a study of Phillips (2008) in the physical education field. It was also implied by Humphrey et al. (2005) in their study that NBCTs are of a high caliber than non-NBCTs, and by Cannata et al. (2010) which inferred that NBCTs have greater classroom management and leadership skills than non-NBCTs. Given this divergence in current research, there is an impetus to more extensively examine the impact of NBPTS certification on student achievement.

Purpose Statement

This research study will use a mixed methods approach to examine the impact of NBPTS certification on student’s achievement. The purpose of the research study is to examine and determine if the teachers that are National Board Certified are producing students with improved academic achievement. That is, if such students perform better academically than the students of non-National Board Certified teachers in American schools.

Hypothesis

This research hypothesizes that the students of teachers who are National Board Certified are able to perform better than the students of teachers who are not National Board Certified.

Research Questions

In alignment with the purpose of the study and the hypotheses that were formulated, the following research questions were developed.

Q1: Is there a significant difference between the scores of students of NBCTs in State and National exams and the scores of students of non-NBCTs on the same exams?

Q2: Is there a significant difference in the average grade point average (GPA) of NBCT’s students compared to the average GPA of non-NBCT’s students?

Q3: Is there a difference between the proportion of honor students (GPA greater than 3.0) taught by NBCTs and the proportion of honor students taught by non-NBCTs?

These questions were chosen because the three factors considered, scores in standardized examinations, GPAs, and honor roll inclusion, are the traditionally accepted measurements of student achievement. Thus, answer the research questions can prove whether or not NBCTs are truly having positive effects on student learning and achievement.

The Significance of Research

There are various stakeholders who stand to benefit from the outcomes of this study. Foremost among them is the National Board of Teachers, which will receive an objective, third-party assessment of the impact of their certification on student achievement. This study can provide the organization with empirical insights on whether it is succeeding or failing in its goals, and help it in mapping out its future plans. This research is also significant to the educational system of the United States, as it can inform administrators if the money that is being used to fund board certifications is money well spent. This research also benefits teachers who are not yet certified, or certified teachers who are scheduled for certification renewal, as the outcomes can help them decide on whether or not they should aim for certification or re-certification. Last but not the least this study will help contribute to the literature in the field of education.

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