Panel: Using Portfolio-Based Certification to Identify, License, and Deploy Effective Teachers

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 17 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Natalya Gnedko-Berry, American Institutes for Research
Discussant:  Gretchen Weber, American Institutes for Research

For decades, teacher certification has remained a gateway to the teaching profession. Teacher certification is a contentious topic. Opponents of certification contend that it is an obstacle for bringing talented individuals into the teaching profession and call for alternative pathways to teaching that require no certification or a more flexible certification process. Proponents defend the traditional certification’s ability to identify teachers with the subject matter and pedagogical knowledge needed to succeed in the classroom. Reacting to these arguments and the need to recruit and retain effective teachers, many states have been revisiting their certification requirements. 

The proposed panel will focus on portfolio-based approaches states have been using to supplement or revise teacher certification. The purpose of portfolio-based approaches is to review a range of teaching skills and knowledge through multiple mechanisms as opposed to a standardized test. We will discuss two such approaches: The National Board Certification (NBC) and pre-service assessments of teaching skills. NBC is a voluntary portfolio-based certification for teachers who meet basic eligibility requirements. All 50 states participate in NBC and 40 allow teachers to use NBC toward advanced teaching certificates, such as professional or master certificates ( Pre-service assessments of teaching skills are portfolio-based assessments taken during student teaching placements. Some states use these assessments during the initial certification process to identify teaching candidates with the combination of knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the classroom.

The proposed panel includes four papers. Three papers examine the relationship between NBC and teacher and student outcomes. These papers focus on the value of National Board Certified Teachers outside their classrooms, for example as instructional leaders, expanding on prior research that almost exclusively focused on the effectiveness of certified teachers in their own classrooms. This expansion is important, because one intention behind NBC, and one reason why all 50 states invest in it, is to identify and deploy effective teachers who can foster instructional growth of their colleagues. The fourth paper examines the predictive validity of the Candidate Assessment of Performance, a practice-based assessment of teaching skills similar to NBC. The Candidate Assessment of Performance is a requirement for completing teacher preparation programs in Massachusetts. This assessment is an example of what many states are shifting toward to ensure that their pre-service assessments measure teaching skills more accurately than traditional licensure tests. 

The discussant for the proposed panel combines research and practice experience and is a former teacher who is National Board certified. The discussant will review the merits of each paper and their individual and combined contribution to the field of teacher certification. The discussant will also examine how the research presented in the panel aligns or does not align with the expectations and experiences of professionals in teaching. The discussant will solicit feedback from the audience and guide the conversation between the audience and presenters. The audience will benefit from learning about the most recent research about NBC and the assessment of teaching skills through a portfolio-based approach.

How Is the Concentration of National Board Certified Teachers Related to Student Achievement and Teacher Retention?
Natalya Gnedko-Berry, So Jung Park, Liu Feng, Trisha Borman and David Manzeske, American Institutes for Research

Effects of National Board-Certified Instructional Leaders on Classroom Practice and Student Achievement of Novice Teachers
Bo Zhu, Natalya Gnedko-Berry, Trisha Borman and David Manzeske, American Institutes for Research

From the Clinical Experience to the Classroom: Assessing the Predictive Validity of the Massachusetts Candidate Assessment of Performance
Bingjie Chen1, James Cowan1, Dan Goldhaber2 and Roddy Theobald1, (1)American Institutes for Research, (2)University of Washington

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