To the Editor:
In response to “NBPTS Upgrades Profession, Most Agree, Despite Test-Score Letdown” (June 14, 2006):
Attaining certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a powerful, reflective process that does make better teachers. I have gone through it and can say that my effort made a positive difference in my students and their learning.
The NBPTS focuses on the importance of knowing students and how they learn. Educators are not preparing young people simply to pass standardized tests; we are preparing them for life. If lessons are more engaging, encourage collaboration, and involve parents and the community in real-world applications, students will have the skills they need to succeed.
There are many stories about successful people who were not top scorers on standardized tests or graduates of the best schools. To measure nationally certified teachers’ effectiveness simply by looking at students’ standardized-test scores is shortsighted and will only weaken an effort that is sorely needed in the field.
Let’s prepare students for our global society, not just to fill in bubbles on an answer sheet. To determine national certification’s effectiveness, test scores may be the easiest place to look, but we need to consider other, more instructive ways to determine success, such as student feedback, focus groups, tendency toward lifelong learning, and positive community-school relationships. If all teachers embraced the board and its standards, we would not have to worry about test scores because our best and brightest would be changing the world for the better.
A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week as Test Scores as Indicators of NBPTS Effectiveness?