National Board Certification as a Professional Tool Term Paper

Pages: 20 (5551 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … National Board Certification as a Professional Tool for Improving the Quality of the Teaching Workforce

America has many challenges to face in the 21st century: Currently, we're embroiled in a war against terror which seems to have a greater scope and grip internationally everyday; we're struggling with income disparities that are among the most egregious in our nation's history; violent crime in America is unique in the industrialized world; and AIDS, teenage pregnancy and other social problems have established that they are not just fleeting problems.

But perhaps the greatest challenge facing America today is the state of our education system. Ambitious projects such as No Child Left Behind establish the fact that education is on the forefront of our goals, and may now have the attention of the current administration too.

Amidst the various changes that are being implemented to better our education system, the thought of national board certification as a professional tool for improving the quality of the teaching workforce is a constant source of debate.

Is certification a means by which we can improve the education of our nation's youth? Or is it a bureaucratic nightmare that will not only stifle teachers' creativity but also their ability to earn a living, thereby further jeopardizing our educational system?

This paper seeks to research the issue thoroughly, presenting all viewpoints associated with national board certification for teachers in America.

Purpose of the Study

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The purpose of this study is to examine all of the data -- both qualitative and quantitative -- and truly make a policy assessment on national board certification for teachers in America.

Most of the available data is written with a particular goal in mind, so is biased. This study will maintain impartiality and arrive at a policy initiative based on the totality of the research available.

Research Objective

The research objective is simple in concept, but difficult in execution: to determine whether national board certification for teachers in America produces tangibles results in our classrooms.

Term Paper on National Board Certification as a Professional Tool Assignment

The secondary objective is to draw together the various previous efforts at researching this very topic into one succinct, broad yet detailed review.

Significance of the Study

As mentioned above, the study could not be timelier, given our nation's current focus on education and teacher and school standards via the recent passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The study tackles the root cause of America's many problems, rather than symptoms. By attacking income disparity, crime and targeted issues such as teenage sexual promiscuity, we can only ameliorate symptoms. However, by improving our nation's education system, we have a chance to head off many of nation's problems at the pass, or nip them in the bud.

That is why a study on national board certification for teachers in America is so significant and timely today.

Definition of Terms

CHAPTER 2 -- REVIEW OF LITERATURE

The history of national board certification for teachers in America

For almost the last 20 years, the American education establishment has urged teachers to seek national certification via the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and has suggested that these supposedly superior teachers be eligible for significant state and local bonus structures to bolster their compensation plans. In 1996, the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future urged that the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the NBPTS become two equal portions of a system wherein education professionals (including the powerful teachers' unions) would control more stringently the entrance to teaching and compensation and rewards within the profession.

Critics of the move noted that there have been no studies showing that NBPTS-certified teachers are more adept at raising student achievement than are non-NBPTS-certified teachers. One of these critics, Professor John Stone, "looked at value-added data of the 16 NBPTS-certified teachers in Tennessee for whom such data were available and found that achievement gains for students taught by the nationally certified teachers were no greater than for students taught by non-NBPTS-certified teachers. The Education Commission of the States (ECS) then assembled a panel of "experts" to find fault with the Stone study. The tax-funded ECS, which has promoted NBPTS participation, has never paid for a single study to check on the NBPTS' many claims of success. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has made a $5 million grant to an emerging American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), which is seeking to set up a credentialing system that will be based on teachers' grasp of knowledge and their ability to impart what they know to their students, in verifiable ways. Healthy competition in teacher certification could result." (Holland, 2002)

How does certification work?

Before discussing the merits and detractions of national teacher certification, it is beneficial to examine first how such a system functions in a particular state; or, in the case, the commonwealth of Virginia.

NBPTS was established in 1987 to set high standards for what experts believe teachers need to know and be able to do, and to certify those particular teachers who strive hard to meet those standards. NBPTS acts as an independent, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organization governed by a 63-member board of directors, the majority of whom are -- or at least were -- classroom teachers themselves.

National board certification is a demonstration of teaching practice as measured against high and rigorous standards. It is a badge of "commitment to excellence in teaching." (VA NBC, 2005) Administered on a voluntary basis to classroom teachers with at least three years of teaching experience, the system of national board certification complements, but does not supplant, state licensing. There are currently 23,930 National Board Certified teachers in our 50 states, overseas, and Washington, DC.

Candidates take part in an extensive yearlong assessment of actual teaching exercises. Teachers applying for national board certification are asked to demonstrate principled, professional judgment in a variety of situations.

The performance-based assessments require teaching portfolios, consisting of student work, work samples, videotapes, and thoughtful, written analyses of the candidates' classroom work and of the students' actual learning. Candidates also finish many timed, written exercises designed to explore the depth of their subject matter knowledge, as well as their understanding of how to teach those subjects to their kids in class. National board certification is unique in that it measures not only the knowledge teachers have in their subjects of specialty, but the actual utilization of their skills and professional judgment in the classroom as they strive to increase student learning. A candidate's attempts will generally take most of a school year and take a total of 200-400 hours of work.

A teacher can shoot for national board certification if he or she holds a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, has taught in a classroom for a minimum of three years, and has held a valid state teaching license for those same three years.

In Virginia, the candidate fee is $2,300. (VA NBC, 2004) The Virginia General Assembly appropriated $75,000 for each year of the 2002-04 biennium to support $1,000 of the application fee for 75 candidates. (VA NBC, 2004) Virginia also received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to assist in funding application fees. There are currently 202 national board certification candidates who were awarded either a $2,000 or a $1,000 federal or state subsidy grant for the 2002-03 process. (VA NBC, 2004) In addition, several Virginia school divisions are providing full or partial fee payment for approximately 50 candidates. (VA NBC, 2004) There are also 94 advanced candidates for this assessment cycle.

The Division of Teacher Education and Licensure runs the subsidy grant program that grants subsidy grants to candidates using state and/or federal funds. The 2003-04 subsidy grant application process finished with 246 candidates being randomly selected and distributed among the eight superintendents' regions: 75 candidates received a $2,000 grant; 169 received a $1,000 grant. (VA NBC, 2004) The 2005-06 subsidy grant application process will begin in April 2005 for teachers who desire to seek National Board Certification during the 2005-06 school year.

Virginia is one of 48 states offering regulatory or legislative support for national board certification. In addition to the candidate subsidy funding initiative, the 1999 Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in HB 2710, The Education Accountability and Quality Enhancement Act, section 22.1.299.2 to provide a National Board Certification Incentive Reward to those teachers in Virginia who have achieved National Board Certification. (VA NBC, 2004)

The commonwealth of Virginia feels that "National Board Certification is a catalyst for teachers' professional growth, and candidates may use this activity toward license renewal." (VA NBC, 2004) Candidates have to contact their employing school division regarding using this activity for renewal.

A National Board certificate is good for 10 years from the exact date of certification. NBPTS policy states that the certificate may be renewed. A renewal program and its procedures are currently under development by the NBPTS board of directors. (VA NBC, 2004)

What is the current certification political mood in America?

The United States education establishment has maintained for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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