ERIC Identifier: ED351336
Publication Date: 1992-11-00
Author: Baratz-Snowden, Joan
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teacher Education Washington DC.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards--Update.
In response to a Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy recommendation,
the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was established
in 1987 with the mission of improving the quality of teaching and public
education (Carnegie Forum, 1986). The NBPTS is governed by a 63-member board
representing the primary stakeholders in education. Teachers make up the
majority of the board. NBPTS is a private, nonprofit body whose support comes
from foundations, corporate grants, and federal funding.
The goals of the National Board are to establish high
and rigorous standards for what teachers should know and be able to do in order
to improve student learning, and to certify teachers who meet those standards.
National Board certification differs from state licensing or "certification" in
several critical ways. First, a state's license, required to teach within its
jurisdiction, merely indicates that a licensee satisfies a minimum level of
requirements, generally equivalent to entry-level ability. In contrast, national
certification will be voluntary and will signify highly accomplished teaching
based on a specific set of professional criteria. Second, state license
standards vary from state to state, whereas National Board certification
standards will be uniform across the country. Third, National Board standards
are being developed through a process of teacher input that is different from
that used in state licensure procedures. Certification will be awarded to those
who successfully complete a series of performance-based assessments, involving
both on-site and assessment-center activities (Baratz-Snowden, 1990, pp. 19-20).
The National Board certification system involves three critical elements:
* standards setting--defining what accomplished teaching practice really is;
and establishing what accomplished teachers must know and be able to do;
* assessment instruments--evaluating teaching with a variety of performance
measures tailored to the standards of accomplishment; and
* professional development--providing teachers with the opportunity to
discuss the elements of excellent teaching and to incorporate such practice into
their teaching/learning environment.
This Digest will discuss the National Board's research and development
activities designed to develop an assessment system that meets the NBPTS
criteria (known as APPLE), i.e.,
* Administratively feasible,
* Professionally acceptable,
* Publicly credible,
* Legally defensible, and
* Economically affordable.
The standards setting process and the
assessment development and implementation process comprise the two main
components of the National Board's research and development agenda. In 1987, the
Board issued its initial policies, which included a statement about what
teachers should know and be able to do. That statement delineated five general
propositions about excellent teaching:
* Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
* Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to
* Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
* Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from
* Teachers are members of learning communities. (NBPTS, 1991b, pp. 13-15)
The National Board believes that a unitary certificate suggesting proficiency
in teaching all subjects to all students of all ages is unwarranted.
Consequently, NBPTS is establishing standards committees in each of 30
certification fields to define the standards. Student age levels are defined as
* Early Childhood (ages 3-8)--Generalist
* Middle Childhood (ages 7-12)-- Generalist, English Language Arts,
Mathematics, Science, Social Studies/History
* Early and Middle Childhood (ages 3-12)--Art, Foreign Language, Guidance
Counseling, Library/Media, Music, Physical Education/Health
* Early Adolescence (ages 11-15)--Generalist, English Language Arts,
Mathematics, Science, Social Studies/History
* Adolescence and Young Adulthood (ages 14-18+)--English Language Arts,
Mathematics, Science, Social Studies/History
* Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood (ages 11-18+)--Art, Foreign
Language, Guidance Counseling, Library/Media, Music, Physical Education/Health,
Vocational Education. (NBPTS, 1992)
To date, 14 standards committees are in place. Standards statements in the
fields of Adolescence and Young Adulthood--Mathematics and Early Adolescence
through Young Adulthood--Art were approved for circulation. Initial standards
statements in Early Adolescence--Generalist and Early Adolescence--English
Language Arts were circulated for comment in the fall of 1992. All standards
statements are to be completed by 1996.
The NBPTS assessment system will be performance
based and will employ a broad range of strategies. At present, the model for
assessment involves two modules, one requiring data collected in a candidate's
school setting and the second requiring data collected at an assessment center.
Changes may occur as a result of further assessment research activities. The
National Board will vote on final procedures (NBPTS, 1991a, pp. 37-38).
The current school site module consists of portfolio documentation and
on-site observation. The portfolio, developed by the candidate, might include
curriculum guides, a reflective essay, student projects and essays, and
attestation of teaching accomplishment from other teachers, students, and
parents. Two methods of on-site observation to be explored are videotapes of
classroom instruction and on-site classroom visits.
The current assessment center module focuses on structured interviews,
simulations, and knowledge of subject matter and content matter pedagogy. The
interviews could be developed from the materials in a teacher's portfolio, while
the simulations would center on exercises measuring a candidate's skill in
responding to student essays, math problems, and laboratory reports. The
knowledge component would assess a candidate's knowledge of a specific
discipline and the ability to teach that knowledge to students.
Contractors for all research and development activities are identified
through a peer merit review process. There are three main components of National
Board research and development strategies: Assessment Development Laboratories
(ADLs), a Technical Analysis Group (TAG), and a Field Test Network.
The Assessment Development Laboratories develop prototype assessment packages
and methods, conduct initial pilot tests, revise preliminary efforts, and
develop support materials. The Technical Analysis Group reviews, synthesizes,
and integrates the work of the various ADLs and advises NBPTS regarding the
research and development agenda. The TAG is working with assessment contractors
and the Field Test Network participants to assure valid, reliable, and bias-free
assessments. The recently established Field Test Network consists of two dozen
school districts and other education entities, which provide access to a
nationally representative sample of teachers covering approximately 8% of the
nation's elementary and secondary school teachers. The Network assists in
recruiting and in professional development activities.
NBPTS professional development
activities are an essential part of the National Board certification system. The
Board has devised professional development models in cooperation with schools
and districts within its Field Test Network that provide collegial opportunities
for growth and change. Other plans include using Board-certified teachers as
resources for candidates preparing for the assessments, collaborating with other
organizations within individual discipline areas to coordinate professional
development activities, and working with colleges of education to make teacher
preparation more compatible with the National Board standards.
COMMUNICATING THE MESSAGE
To ensure that its mission is
effectively disseminated to as broad a constituency as possible, the National
Board has devised a series of communication strategies including holding state
and regional forums, placing public service announcements on television and
radio stations nationwide, establishing a toll-free number (1-800-989-6899), and
producing a videotape explaining NBPTS.
The National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards plans to launch its first assessment in early 1993 by assessing some
2,000 Early Adolescence--Generalist and Early Adolescence--English Language Arts
teachers across the nation as part of its field test of the operating system. In
1994-95, assessments will be available for teachers in an additional four
fields, and by the 1995-96 school year, NBPTS certification assessments should
be available for two-thirds of the nation's teaching force. The full system of
National Board Certification will be completed by the 1998-99 school year.
References identified with an EJ or ED number
have been abstracted and are in the ERIC data base. Journal articles (EJ) should
be available at most research libraries; documents (ED) are available in ERIC
microfiche collections at more than 700 locations. Documents can also be ordered
through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 443-ERIC. For more
information contact the ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, One Dupont
Circle, NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20036-1186; (202) 293-2450.
Baratz-Snowden, J. (1990, August/September). Research news and comments: The
NBPTS begins its research and development program. Educational Researcher,
19(6), 19-24. EJ 417593
Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy's Task Force on Teaching As a
Profession. (1986). A nation prepared: Teachers for the 21st century. The report
of the Task Force on Teaching As a Profession. New York: Carnegie Corporation.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). (1991a). National
Board for Professional Teaching Standards report. December 31, 1991. The U.S.
Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Education and Labor. Detroit, MI: Author.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). (1991b). Toward
high and rigorous standards for the teaching profession. Initial policies and
perspectives of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (3rd
ed.). Detroit, MI: Author. ED 337440
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). (1992, February).
1991 Annual Report. Detroit, MI: Author.