The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards first published “What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do” in 1989. They later updated the document in 2016. The NBPTS Standards now drive the instruction of over 125,000 NBCTs nationwide in 25 certificate areas.
The NBPTS standards are written as a guide for what TEACHERS should be doing to affect student learning. These standards and the fact that you can connect your teaching practice to them in writing, help the assessors know you understand what is affecting growth in your students and why/how you can continue to see future impact on student learning.
State or Common Core Content Standards – What are they and why do they matter?
State or Common Core Standards for instruction are written as what STUDENTS should be doing to prove mastery of grade level skills they should know and be able to do in each content area. These standards drive content and pedagogical planning and instruction by teachers...
How do I understand what the Portfolio Questions are asking me to do, and what is the best way to plan to answer them?This is the 24-million-dollar question that almost every National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) candidate asks themselves at one point or another during the initial or retake portfolio process! The questions seem vague and repetitive at first glance. Then you realize what it truly is they want you to do. The National Board (NBPTS) wants you to unpack the question to fit your situation. We are all different. Our student population is not the same, and our professional experiences are unique to the communities we serve. Therefore, you must tackle the written commentary portion of National Board Certification for Teachers (NBPTS) from the lens of a doctor. Let’s look at an example of how this would look:
The first questions in a written commentary set are descriptive in nature. THINK & WRITE DESCRIPTIVELY!
The doctor asks:...
Accomplished teachers are committed to teaching children in ways that are fair and equitable. It is significant that NBCTs have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to address inequities and promote fair and equitable approaches to instructing students – not always equal! In addition, as a NBCT you will also focus on developing a learning environment where students appreciate the diversity of their peers and the diverse opinions of others. NBCTs empower students to treat each other respectfully and in turn the teacher practices fairness in his/her practice as well. Most importantly, accomplished teachers understand and appreciate the individual differences and unique needs of the students they teach. Diversity in a NBCT’s classroom is represented by multiple perspectives and sensitivity to the individual needs of all students.
10 Must Dos to create a Safe, Fair, and Equitable Learning Environment
Use a variety of teaching methods to reach all...
As an NBPTS candidate, you don’t have to work alone while you journey toward being among the best of the best educators in the U.S. and abroad.
But since you may work in a district that doesn’t provide adequate candidate support, you may be feeling some self doubt over whether you can actually do this creeping in.
Creating your NBPTS portfolio is just one more thing on your plate — at a time when being a teacher is already asking for everything you’ve got.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not the only one.
The NBPTS certification process is a long and complicated process — I’ve been through it and renewed certification twice myself! — and recent changes that included reducing candidate support have proven to add even more pressure to the process that should make you feel alive and accomplished as a teacher but instead causes anxiety.
But the stress surrounding this process shouldn’t...
Finally understanding how to connect the dots and bring everything you do back to impacting the student is the critical component of earning National Board certification. It is a learning process. It’s all about the right focus and being intentional (plus specific) with your written commentaries. Think about things differently and you will be successful!
What went wrong? As the pass rate for initial certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is only around 40% on the first attempt, many teachers find themselves asking this very question. While coaching teachers through the NBPTS process for the past 23 years I’ve found particular themes that seem to encompass the work of most teachers who seek my support for figuring out - What went wrong? Why did I receive this score? In no particular order these mistakes are as follows:
Are you seeking to reflect upon and improve your teaching practice? If you answered yes, National Board Certification for teachers may be just the thing you need to reach the next level. Let’s dive into the process to see if it would be worth it for you!
What? It is a National Certification process (Think advanced board certifications that doctors or therapists achieve and add behind their names.) that is centered around five core propositions that show teachers are committed to their students and learning, are knowledgeable of the subjects they teach, and can effectively teach those subjects to students. In addition, National Board teachers are members of learning communities, and they're responsible for managing and monitoring their learning, as well as thinking systematically about their practice.
When? The registration window opens each year in September and portfolio entries (called components) are due by mid-May of that school year. To be eligible for a...
This is a question that comes up often from teachers considering the National Board Certification process. I am assuming this is the “elephant in the room” because those asking the question see the investment as a financially large undertaking or it isn’t typical for a teacher to have what is seen as “limited control” over the outcome of a scenario in his/her classroom.
I’m always puzzled by teachers I consider to be amazing in the classroom - artists of building classroom communities grounded in student-centered learning, developers of growth mindsets in their students and innovators of collaborative relationships wherever they are needed to advance student learning say, “No, I can’t sign up for National Board Certification because I’m afraid I will fail and it isn’t a risk I’m willing to take.”
With all of that being said, I say to you as a master teacher reading this blog and potentially...
Actual Questions from the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Process
Respond to the following prompts for each of your PGEs.
Provide a context of the professional situation that indicates what relevant need(s) of students, the professional community, parents/guardians, and/or yourself you are addressing with your PGE.
Identify your PGE (e.g., provide a title), describe your PGE, and explain how your PGE demonstrates a response to the identified need(s).
In the context of your PGE, explain how you have acquired and deepened your certificate area–specific content knowledge and/or your pedagogical knowledge and skills to remain current, including use of research and/or use of other professional activities.
Analyze ways in which your PGE and related activities positively impacted student learning whether directly or indirectly.
Reflect on the PGE presented, including the steps, milestones, or goals you accomplished through this...
First, standards - refers to the universal model or approved content and/or pedagogy that should be followed to meet the underwritten standard for an organization. Think about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. They are the guiding principles that NBCTs follow to achieve and maintain excellence in the classroom. Your state has adopted standards that outline the specific information students must know and be able to do across each grade level to be able to perform proficiently on the End of Year assessment tool. Standards are typically seen as overarching when compared to goals, targets or objectives when being used in the classroom.
Second, goals - refers to the specific information you want your students to know and be able to do within the scope of a lesson or unit of study/project. Goals are measurable and use verbs found on the Bloom’s Taxonomy scale. Sometimes they are called learning targets or objectives. They...
The broader context refers simply to the bigger idea or overarching understanding that you have used within your planning of this lesson. The broader context is generally so large that it combines many goals over a long period of time for students to begin to internalize it. Think about it as your big idea (the umbrella) of everything under it (goals - seen as raindrops in the image below) and together planning from a broader perspective into a more narrow, measurable focus students will result in large puddles of learning (see the graphic below) for the students in your classroom. For the sake of the NBPTS Maintenance of Certification process you aren’t expected to prove that students meet the broader context. Instead, the assessor is looking for evidence that you are able to plan with the larger picture in mind.
Question #2 in Component 2 of the Maintenance of Certification Process asks: For the featured lesson, what were your goals, and how...