A school-wide National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS Website) program may be the solution for supporting teachers to align their decisions through all aspects of teaching. With increases in the complexity of curriculum, higher levels required to meet Adequate Yearly Process (AYP), numbers of schools on low performance lists, and student diversity. School leaders are implementing a variety of actions to meet a multitude of curriculum, instruction, and assessment mandates. What may be missing is the means to bring all school improvement activities together in the classroom to impact student learning. The National Board Certification process gives teachers the opportunity to collaboratively make the connections to analyze all aspects of their teaching decisions and make adjustments that appropriately result in moving students toward state, district, school, and classroom goals.
A growing body of independent research shows that NBCTs are more effective at improving student learning than their non-board certified counterparts. The independent National Research Council (NRC 2008) published that the teachers completing the NBPTS process had a positive impact on on student learning and teacher retention. "Evidence is clear that National Board Certification distinguishes more effective teachers from less effective teachers with respect to student achievement... NBCTs raise student achievement and are committed to improving their schools." Building a continuum toward National Board Certification within a school is an effective strategy for school improvement. The IPA Bulletin March 2009 (pdf) shows research, models of schools, and strategies to build a continuum for embedding the high standards of analytical and reflective thinking in the school community.
The NBPTS process may be used as a lever for teachers to focus on how their teaching decisions impact student learning. Teachers plan and select a videotape, student work, and collaboration accomplishments to respond to questions through a written commentary. The process was designed for teachers to show how they think, plan and instruct students to meet learning goals and reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching decisions. Teachers show evidence of their thinking and performance through the aspects of teaching outlined the NBPTS framework, the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching (pdf). Teachers think deeply and show how they: