National Board Certification (NBC) is available in many professions, and achievement of National Board Certification indicates an individual has successfully met high and rigorous standards in their particular certificate area. National Board Certification in the teaching profession is “recognized as the ‘gold standard’ in teacher certification,” according to the Guide to National Board Certification located at www.nbpts.org. Currently there are 125,000 educators who have met the gold standard and achieved national board certification.
What is National Board Certification?
We talked about National Board Certification (NBC) being the gold standard, but let’s get more specific. NBC is an “advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure” (www.nea.org). There are Five Core Propositions that are foundational to all National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards. These propositions and related standards are comparable to propositions, oaths, etc. in other professions such as the Hippocratic Oath in medicine, the foundations of the National Board of Trial Advocacy for lawyers, the standards of practice identified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and more. The Five Core Propositions to the National Board Standards for Professional Teachers are:
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
- Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
- Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
- Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
- Teachers are members of learning communities.
The National Board Standards are built upon the Five Core Propositions, and they explain that which high quality teachers should know and be able to do. Standards are present in 25 different certificate areas.
Achievement of National Board Certification means an educator has proven to be an accomplished educator as defined by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and their Five Core Propositions, much like a board certified surgeon has proven to meet the defined standards of the American Board of Surgery and other board certified professionals have met rigorous standards in their chosen fields.
Why Should You Get Board certified?
With student achievement being our main reason for teaching, it stands to reason that we should want to improve our practice to help students achieve more and experience greater gains.
National Board Certified teachers benefit students by growing them one to two months more, over a defined instructional period, when compared to the growth of students who are taught by those who are not board certified. Such gains are confirmed through research and are discussed in an Impact Brief entitled The Proven Impact of Board-Certified Teachers on Student Achievement.
The impact on student achievement is even greater in critical needs areas or areas densely populated with minority and low-income students. According to The Impact of National Board Certified Teachers on the Literacy Outcomes of Mississippi Kindergarteners and Third-Graders, kindergarten students are 31% more likely and third grade students are 11% more likely to achieve proficient scores on the K Readiness Assessment and the 3rd grade state MAAP Assessment respectively when taught by National Board Certified Teachers.
Other than increases in student achievement, teachers who go through the National Boards process experience on-going, in-class professional development. Learning the standards, reflecting on their own teaching practices, analyzing student work, making adjustments and being able to verbalize and write about the work are parts of the cycle that grow educators. Educators are professionally challenged and changed during the process.
Receiving incentives for high quality work is yet another reason to pursue National Board Certification. Many states incentivize National Board Certified teachers with monetary stipends or other monetary support. These states want to recognize and encourage high-quality teaching and professional growth through the NBCT process.
How to Get National Board Certification
The National Board Certification process is rigorous and requires commitment, money, time, writing, reflection, analysis, recording, instructing, communicating, goal-setting, use of data, planning based on student artifacts, revisions, assessments, professional learning, and more.
Candidates must complete three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment for a total of four components. Directions, instructions, and assessment items differ according to certificate areas. Candidates will need to study requirements defined within their chosen field of certification. Generally, however, the components to certification include the following:
- Component 1: Content Knowledge (computer-based assessment)
- Component 2: Differentiation in Instruction (portfolio entry)
- Component 3: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment (portfolio entry)
- Component 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner (portfolio entry)
Eligibility requirements to register for the National Boards process include:
- You must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- You must have completed three years of successful teaching (counseling for ECYA/School Counseling certificate) in one or more early childhood, elementary, middle or secondary schools.
- You must have held a valid state teaching license (or school counselor license for ECYA/School Counseling certificate) for each of the three years of employment you verify.
Visit the website and make up your mind to go for the gold. Be an educator who meets the “gold standard” in the teaching profession. You deserve it, and your students deserve it.