Ken Frank is a statistician who teaches at Michigan State’s College of Education. The release of the National Research Council report on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a good time to profile his recently published article asking whether NBPTS certification affects the number of colleagues a teacher helps with instructional matters. His research team collected sociometric data from 47 elementary schools in two states. Teachers reported which teachers were helpful with instruction, and Frank and colleagues found that NBPTS certified were more likely to provide instructional help to their colleagues. He concluded:
As a major reform in American education, NBPTS certification has yet to prove itself in certain terms. But we interpret the evidence so far as indicating for the most part that NBPTS certified teachers are effective teachers, and that the status of NBPTS certification can serve a number of potentially useful functions in schools and districts. If NBPTS certification status promotes helping behavior among teachers, it is one important indicator of their leadership potential in such formal roles as mentor teacher, instructional coach, cooperating teacher (with university-based teacher education), team- or grade-level leader, and others. Such leadership is increasingly important because many schools across the country are developing teacher leader positions intermediate between the principal and a school’s staff (see, e.g., Mangin and Stoelinga, in press). NBPTS certification is one natural device for “certifying” a teacher’s capability in filling these new roles; evidence indicating both that NBPTS certified teachers provide help more than comparable peers and that certification status enjoys a causal relationship with such help is an important finding in the evolving social organization of the teaching occupation.
Here is a partial list of publications coming out of the project, including contact info if you’d like a copy of the paper.
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