Standards

National Board Teachers No Better Than Other Educators, Long-Awaited Study Finds

By Bess Keller — May 09, 2006 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Students of teachers who hold certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards achieve, on average, no greater academic progress than students of teachers without the special status, a long-awaited study using North Carolina data concludes.

The study—conducted by William L. Sanders, the statistician who pioneered the concept of “value-added” analysis of teaching effectiveness—found that there was basically no difference in the achievement levels of students whose teachers earned the prestigious NBPTS credential, those who tried but failed to earn it, those who never tried to get the certification, or those who earned it after the student test-score data was collected.

“The amount of variability among teachers with the same NBPTS certification status is considerably greater than the differences between teachers of different status,” says the report. The study examined more than 35,000 student records and more than 800 teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County districts in North Carolina.

Mr. Sanders, who manages the value-added assessment and research center at the private SAS Institute in Cary, N.C., said one way to think about the implications of the study would be to envision two teachers with identical experience and education applying for the same job—one holding national board certification and one not. To choose the board-certified teacher over the teacher without the credential would be “only trivially better than a coin flip,” the researcher said.

The Arlington, Va.-based national board offers teachers special certification if they go through a lengthy evaluation process. Many states and districts, in turn, offer financial benefits to teachers who earn the certification.

Sitting on the Results?

The results of the study came to light last week after Andrew Rotherham—co-founder and director of Washington-based Education Sector, a nonprofit think tank—used a posting on his Eduwonk blog to note that the privately organized national board had apparently been “sitting on” the results because they were not favorable.

The board, which has the support of most of the nation’s most powerful education groups, commissioned the research as part of a broad effort, starting in 2002, to examine the worth of its credential. His research findings were completed by late 2004 or early 2005, according to Mr. Sanders.

The board, which has been granting the advanced teaching credential for more than 10 years, posted an “overview” of the research on its Web site last week, though officials there denied the posting was prompted by Mr. Rotherham’s blog entry. They said they did not intend to provide a link to the full study.

The overview is largely critical of the study, citing methodological problems. For instance, the overview said the study lacked a sufficient number of teachers.

“I wouldn’t look at the results as damaging in any way,” said Mary E. Dillworth, the vice president for higher education initiatives and research at NBPTS. “We hope to use this report as well as others for a better certification system.”

Mr. Sanders refuted the NBPTS criticisms in an interview this week.

Despite the findings of his study, he said he believed in the concept of the national board and had been urging officials there to modify the certification process so that it would better reflect the research findings on student test-score gains.

But Mr. Rotherham said in an interview that the board’s failure to be more open about this research was likely to hurt it in the long run. “They have needlessly aroused suspicion about what they’ve done and needlessly handed their critics ammunition,” he charged. “It’s all so … political.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Explainer What’s the Purpose of Standards in Education? An Explainer
What are standards? Why are they important? What's the Common Core? Do standards improve student achievement? Our explainer has the answers.
11 min read
Photo of students taking test.
F. Sheehan for EdWeek / Getty
Standards Florida's New African American History Standards: What's Behind the Backlash
The state's new standards drew national criticism and leave teachers with questions.
9 min read
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the Celebrate Freedom Foundation Hangar in West Columbia, S.C. July 18, 2023. For DeSantis, Tuesday was supposed to mark a major moment to help reset his stagnant Republican presidential campaign. But yet again, the moment was overshadowed by Donald Trump. The former president was the overwhelming focus for much of the day as DeSantis spoke out at a press conference and sat for a highly anticipated interview designed to reassure anxious donors and primary voters that he's still well-positioned to defeat Trump.
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in West Columbia, S.C., on July 18, 2023. Florida officials approved new African American history standards that drew national backlash, and which DeSantis defended.
Sean Rayford/AP
Standards Here’s What’s in Florida’s New African American History Standards
Standards were expanded in the younger grades, but critics question the framing of many of the new standards.
1 min read
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21, 2023. Harris spoke out against the new standards adopted by the Florida State Board of Education in the teaching of Black history.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21, 2023. Harris spoke out against the new standards adopted by the Florida state board of education in the teaching of Black history.
Fran Ruchalski/The Florida Times-Union via AP
Standards Opinion How One State Found Common Ground to Produce New History Standards
A veteran board member discusses how the state school board pushed past partisanship to offer a richer, more inclusive history for students.
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty