National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

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The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in the United States, dedicated to promoting excellence in education. Founded in 1987, the board improves teaching and student learning by enhancing overall educator effectiveness and recognizing and rewarding highly accomplished educators who meet high and rigorous standards. It develops and maintains advanced standards for educators and offers a national, voluntary assessment, National Board Certification, based on the NBPTS Standards. As of December 2010, more than 91,000 educators have become National Board Certified Teachers in the United States. Its headquarters is located in Arlington, Va.[1]


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The mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by

  • Maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do[2]
  • Providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, and
  • Advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers.


The board was formed in response to a 1986 report issued by the Task Force on Teaching as a Profession, a group funded by the Carnegie Forum on Education, of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The report, entitled A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century,[3] called for the creation of a board to “define what teachers should know and be able to do” and to “support the creation of a rigorous, valid assessment to see that certified teachers do meet these standards.” The founding president of NBPTS was James A. Kelly, and the original chair of the board of directors was the Honorable James B. Hunt Jr., former governor of North Carolina.


NBPTS standards are based on "Five Core Propositions"[4] — the foundation of what all accomplished teachers should know and be able to do — and provide a reference that helps educators link teaching standards to teaching practice. The board publishes standards of “accomplished teaching” for 25 subject areas and developmental levels for pre-K through 12th grade. These standards were developed and validated by representative councils of master teachers, disciplinary organizations and other education experts.

National Board Certification[edit]

National Board Certification is advanced professional certification based on the NBPTS standards. There are 25 different certificates available. Assessment consists of a multimedia teaching portfolio that is used to evaluate pedagogy and student outcomes, and a three-hour assessment center examination.[5]

The assessment fee is $2500; however, financial support is available, and many candidates pay less than half that amount themselves.[6]

Take One![edit]

Take One! provides a standards-based approach for improving teaching practice and links student learning to effective instruction. Teachers prepare and submit one pre-selected video portfolio entry from any of the current certificate areas of National Board Certification. A teacher can later transfer the score if he or she pursues National Board candidacy.[7]

National Board Certification for Principals[edit]

To create a consistently reliable process to develop, recognize and retain effective principals, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has announced an initiative to develop National Board Certification for Principals. National Board Certification for Principals, the first national certification program focused on principals, is also the first phase of an expanded umbrella program, National Board Certification for Educational Leaders, which builds on the National Board’s highly successful program, National Board Certification for teachers and school counselors. National Board Certification for Educational Leaders not only creates standards and an assessment process for principals, it also lays the groundwork for a new educator-leadership initiative for assistant principals, teachers and other school-based educators who positively impact the culture of learning in schools.[8]


Since its founding, the board has become one of the most researched areas of education. Research has reviewed the impact of National Board Certification on student performance,[9] the quality of teaching by National Board Certified Teachers in the classroom, and the influence of the process on teacher retention. Most, but not all of the research, is positive.[10]

In 2008, the United States National Research Council a division of the National Academies published a report stating that "Students taught by NBPTS-certified teachers make greater gains on achievement tests than students taught by teachers who are not board-certified."[11]


All 25 of the NBPTS Standards are published and available on the internet.[12] NBPTS also has a number of published resources about National Board Certification.[13]

In 2010, the board published Accomplished Teachers, Institutional Perspectives,[14] with provides perspectives from policymakers, administrators and practitioners on the value and utility of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In describing their various experiences working with NBPTS, the authors challenge the nation’s pre K-12 and post secondary education system and state/local governing bodies—as well as the National Board itself—to expand the linkage between the NBPTS standards and assessment process and teacher preparation, program accreditation and state licensure.[15]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]