National-board teachers have gained a weighty reputation over the years, and many states now offer teachers who go through the rigorous process to get the credential attractive bonuses. Not surprising then that the numbers of board-certified teachers continues to grow each year.
In its latest figures released this week, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards says 9,600 teachers achieved board certification in 2008: a 12 percent increase over 2007 and a record high. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia had at least a 20 percent increase from 2007 to 2008 in the number of teachers who became board-certified.
According to the NBPTS, the number of teachers achieving the credential has more than doubled in the past five years, from more than 32,000 in 2003 to nearly 74,000 in 2008. And states with the highest number of teachers achieving national-board certification were Florida with 1,826 teachers, North Carolina with 1,453, Washington with 918, South Carolina with 754, and Illinois with 703.
The credential seems especially popular in the Carolinas: In North Carolina now, 15 percent of the total teaching force has the credential. In South Carolina, 14 percent does. Interestingly, South Carolina had last year considered axing bonuses for board-certified teachers, although the proposal was later shelved.
While even teachers’ unions back increased pay for board-certified teachers as a form of merit pay, the jury never has been unequivocal on how effective these teachers are. A long-awaited report from the National Research Council earlier this year found that board-certified teachers are more effective, but the committee struggled over the question of whether the test-score impact, which had an overall effect size of .04 for studies of students in Florida and North Carolina, should be characterized as “small” or “as large as possible.”
An earlier study, released in 2006, found that board-certified teachers were actually no more effective than their counterparts who did not have the credential.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.