NBPTS Standards – What are they and why do they matter?
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards first published “What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do” in 1989. They later updated the document in 2016. This list of five core propositions is the backbone for which the NBPTS teaching standards were then written and later revised by practicing “master” teachers at work in their classrooms. The NBPTS Standards now drive the instruction of over 122,000 NBCTs nationwide in 25 certificate areas.
During the NBPTS initial portfolio, teachers become intimately aware of these national teaching standards and begin to mold them into part of their muscle memory. This ensures they become reflective in their practice and consistently showcase teaching that encourages a deep understanding of their students, while also planning for a presentation of rigorous content knowledge. These standards drive NBCTs to use data and assessments to drive instruction at every point of learning – beginning, middle, and end! The NBPTS standards also invoke participation in learning communities and continuous learning by NBCTs as it is an integral part of the five core propositions that drive these standards.
The NBPTS standards are written as a guide for what TEACHERS should be doing to effect student learning. To become nationally board certified, you will need to know these standards well and insert snippets of them into your analytical and reflective writing throughout the portfolio. These standards and the fact that you can connect your teaching practice to them in writing, help the assessors know you understand what is affecting growth in your students and why/how you can continue to see future impact on student learning.
State or Common Core Content Standards – What are they and why do they matter?
State or Common Core Standards for instruction are written as what STUDENTS should be doing to prove mastery of grade level skills they should know and be able to do in each content area. These standards drive content and pedagogical planning and instruction by teachers to make sure the students can master the goals set within each strand and content area.
The verbs used in these goals and objectives are measurable and should be translated into effective teaching practice by aligning them into units of study where you begin with the end in mind. The clearer you are as a teacher about what you expect the student to know and be able to do in the end, the higher student proficiency will be and the easier it is to plan from the assessments backwards to the activities. The end is the mastery of these objectives by every student in your classroom.
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe write, “It reminds us to begin with the question, ‘What would we accept as evidence that students have attained the desired understandings and proficiencies?’ before proceeding to plan teaching and learning experiences?” When we picture what exactly students can do by the end, and how exactly they’re going to show it, we can better design our steps leading up to that outcome.
The state content standards are merely a road map to all the desired outcomes we want our students to have in the end. Curriculum is used to plan for these outcomes in advance, however the master teacher can stay focused on the outcomes (learner standards) and be ready to adapt and mold his/her curriculum or lesson ideas to the students as their needs and skills change. Hence, proving that student achievement depends on assessment driven instruction.