Poster Paper: Effects of National Board Certified Teachers on Student Achievement and Behavioral Outcomes: Studies Conducted in Two States

Friday, November 3, 2017
Regency Ballroom (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

David Manzeske, So Jung Park, Feng Liu, Trisha Borman, Natalya Gnedko-Berry, Benjamin R. West and Evelyn Deng, American Institutes for Research

A number of studies demonstrate that teacher effectiveness is a significant contributor to student learning (see, for example, Chetty, Friedman, & Rockoff, 2014).. However, the identification of effective teachers remains a challenge, and efforts have taken myriad forms. Policies and practices vary widely as states and school districts try to develop procedures that will allow them to identify, recruit, and retain effective teachers. One such practice mirrors that used in medicine: board certification. In medicine, board certification acts as a trustworthy, universal signal of ensuring physician effectiveness for their patients.

Using a medical model, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has established and maintained definitive standards of effective teaching, much like physicians’ board standards. Since 1987, more than 112,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have achieved status as a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). For National Board certification, teacher pedagogy and content knowledge are evaluated against a set of standards established by the National Board such that certification criteria and status are identical across the country. Other markers of effective teachers are neither consistent in their criteria nor national in scope.

The consistency and presumed quality of National Board certification is evidenced by the fact that in 33 states across the country, either state or local education agencies have policies to provide stipends, salary increases, or other incentives to teachers for achieving NBCT status and serving in their schools (NBPTS, 2015). For example, in North Carolina, NBCTs are placed on a salary schedule that is 12 percentage points above base pay and first-time candidates receive a $1,900 loan to pursue certification. In Kentucky, NBCTs receive a $2,000 annual stipend, and numerous districts pay for candidate fees. Policies such as these have their origin in the belief that NBCTs outperform their non-NBCT peers.

The purpose of this work was to examine the effect of NBCTs on mathematics and reading achievement and behavioral outcomes (attendance and discipline referrals) for students in Grades 4 and 5. Two studies were conducted separately to examine the effect of NBCTs in North Carolina and Kentucky, using statewide data. In each study, propensity score matching was used to match students of NBCTs to similar students of non-NBCTs from the same schools. Within each grade and within each study, propensity score matching yielded similar student groups (those taught by NBCTs and those not taught by NBCTs) on observed characteristics such as prior-year outcomes and demographics. For each grade level, the academic and behavioral outcomes of students of NBCTs were compared with the outcomes of the matched students taught by non-NBCTs. In North Carolina, there were no statistically significant student achievement or behavioral differences at either grade between students of NBCTs and students of non-NBCTs. In Kentucky, Grade 5 students taught by NBCTs scored higher than students of non-NBCTs on state student achievement in mathematics and reading by 0.06 standard deviations. There were no statistically significant differences in the behavioral outcomes between the student groups at either grade level in Kentucky.