Descriptive Writing for NBPTS Portfolio Success


Unlike the initial certification process for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the renewal process allows for only a few pages of written commentary, which requires extreme control on the part of the writer to use his/her words wisely.  Therefore, it is important to understand the types of writing needed and when to use them. 

In this post I will be discussing the first and maybe most important writing style necessary for producing a portfolio that is clear and concise. 

Descriptive writing is used in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) portfolio to “set the scene” for each PGE in Component One.  In fact, most of Component One’s 8-page written commentary will be descriptive writing.  In addition, you will use descriptive writing to set the stage for your lesson in Component Two. You will need to logically order a detailed description of your instructional choices and situation.  This description is extremely important for the assessor to understand the what, when, where, and who related to each PGE you are highlighting.

Important things to remember about descriptive writing in the National Board Renewal Process:

  1. Descriptive writing may answer what, how, state, list, which, or describe questions
  2. You may list or describe in detail the content you teach, instructional challenges you face, achievement levels you support and any other information that will help the assessor visualize being in your classroom.
  3. Descriptive writing is the writing style you use to outline things like goals, objectives, and any other planning BEFORE you are ready to analyze the student work or video lesson evidence.
  4. Your descriptive writing should fully prepare the scorer to understand your analysis and reflection found in Component Two and through the Analysis and Reflection questions in Component 1.
  5. Don’t include information that is irrelevant to your instruction or student learning. No fluff - Just the right stuff!

Join the MOC #GetItDone Bootcamp for a complete walk through of the different writing styles for NBPTS and a copy of your very own analytical and reflective stems.

Here is the beginning of example 1 of descriptive writing (bold-face text) given in the NBPTS general portfolio instructions.





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