Can the National Board certification process support school improvement where large proportions of students score below grade level on standardized tests?
This SCOPE study examines a project that sought to seize and capitalize upon the learning opportunities embedded in the National Board certification process, particularly opportunities to learn from teaching and the relationship between teaching and student learning.
As an improvement strategy, the team examined the ways that the certification process and concomitant support enriched teaching, regardless of whether or not a teacher candidate actually received certification. Researchers also studied how, if at all, this particular use of the certification process affected school culture.
The team found the project had positive influences on individual teachers and the schools in which they worked. Specifically:
Teachers strengthened aspects of their instruction, such as the way they designed student tasks and assessed students’ performance, through their participation in the project;
Pursuing National Board certification with a group of school colleagues who received ongoing support from onsite National Board Certified Teachers as well as from an expert support provider increased teachers’ opportunities for learning; and
The project, as designed, laid the initial groundwork for changing aspects of school teaching culture—such as creating a community of teachers in which teaching became “de-privatized,” where teachers had a common focus on improving student learning, and where practices developed to support teacher learning about instruction.
Detailed information about the study, its findings, and a full explanation of recommendations are available in the full report and research brief.
"Turning Schools Around: The National Board Certification Process as a School Improvement Strategy" was prepared with the generous support of the Stuart Foundation and The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. We gratefully acknowledge their support as well as the staff at the case study schools and the National Board Resource Center who were willing to let us learn from their work. The research was conducted independently by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and does not represent the views of the sponsors.
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