What is a National Board Certified Teacher?

What is a National Board Certified Teacher? 

A National Board Certified teacher is a teacher who has completed the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification process and achieved the minimum score of weighted 110 after initial certification. National Board Certification is completely voluntary but is an advanced certification for PreK-12 educators that helps teachers identify teaching expertise through a performance-based, peer-reviewed assessment, which culminates in the four components of the Initial Certification and the two components for the Maintenance of Certification (MOC Process). 

The process is extremely rigorous and provides a lot of professional development for teachers going through the process. In fact, the certification process can be transformative to help establish the quintessential foundations of what accomplished teachers should be doing within their classrooms. Through this process, teachers embody the architecture of accomplished teaching and in turn implement five core propositions that link to it in their classrooms. National Boards for teachers, while at times stressful, is very rewarding and leads to a number of benefits and incentives from states all over the country. 

Qualities of a National Board Certified Teachers

Many qualities of a national certified teacher are embodied in 5 core propositions that were first established in 1989 and later updated in 2016. Think of these like the Hippocratic Oath for medical professionals, except the 5 core propositions are for teachers and include:

  1. Teachers are committed to students and their learning
  2. Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students
  3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring students’ learning 
  4.  Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience
  5. Teachers are members of learning communities 

 These five propositions become central to everything that you will do in the classroom. National Board Teachers become reflective and diagnostic with their teaching, use assessment to drive their instruction, and ultimately differentiate instruction for their students. These qualities are married to the standards that the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards publishes for the 25 different certification areas.  

 These qualities help to also prove a teacher's ability to advance student learning and achievement. Based on the University of Washington Bothell, a study published in 2015, found that “NBCTs are “more effective than non-certified teachers with similar experience.” The research also points out that NBCTs are about to produce gains of up to “nearly 1.5 months of additional learning” for students. Another independent study (published in 2008)  titled “A Validity Study of the Certification System of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards” shows through student work samples that evidence of deeper learning takes place in 74% of cases as opposed to their peers of only 29%. There are a number of compelling articles on the effectiveness of National Boards for Teachers and it is particularly noteworthy when these figures are compared with the research on the effectiveness of teachers with master’s degrees. 

 Bottom Line: National Board Certified Teacher 

A National Board Certified Teacher is empowered by professional development and learning and through a growth mindset is able to create rigorous and differentiated lessons where students are responsible for ownership in their learning with student needs as the driving force. Assessment data from formative, summative, and self assessments drive instruction and planning for these teachers to lead robust and empowering classrooms to meet the needs of students. These are the overarching principles of the 5 Core Propositions and hold true as a foundation of a National Board Certified Teacher. Those wishing to start the National Board for Teachers process are invited to join in one of my professional development experiences for Component 3 or Component 4. 


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