National Board Certification Pass Rate

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 deciding whether the process is right for you - What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  

  • Would you compare the $1,900.00 price tag for NBPTS initial certification to the price of a single masters’ level (3 hour) course that ranges from $1,700-$3,500 nationwide to see how affordable this process really is? (Plus you grow many times more in this process than in a master’s class.)
  • Would you embrace a growth mindset and recognize that the NBPTS certification process is really about your growth as a teacher (so you will focus on growing and changing your practice) which will ultimately ensure you PASS the rigorous certification process because you begin with the end in mind?
  • Would you begin to research incentives being offered by your state and/or district for achievement of NBPTS certification and rally for lawmakers to institute even more financial and professional benefits around the process?
  • Would you begin to visualize yourself as a National Board Certified Teacher - a teacher that WILL pass the rigorous National Board Certification process?
  • Would you remind yourself that TEACHERS (just like you) wrote the NBPTS standards and process for becoming certified with the bottom line being the impact on student learning in all classrooms?
  • Would you seek to find a cohort of others and possibly a NBPTS coach to support your growth through this process?

As a master coach for NBPTS candidates, I’m asked repeatedly what’s your candidates’ pass rate?  As if I do the work for them and their pass rate is an indication of my practice.  

The truth is… you will get out of the process what you put into it.  If you put in a lot of hours spinning your wheels on “not knowing” what the National Board is asking or pondering “whether your lesson is meeting the standards” then you will get that same kind of vague score from the assessor.  

However, if you dedicate your time to truly understanding the process and changing to meet the standards and rubric before you even begin to plan lessons or answer guiding questions for the written commentaries (This is what I coach my candidates to do.) you will come out with a score that matches the highest level of the rubric provided by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.  A great coach will channel your growth mindset and determination to become a better teacher (aka - becoming the NBPTS standards for your certificate area) by supporting you in aligning your practice with the writing styles and systematic planning necessary to ensure success on the rubric given to you at the beginning of the process.  

I say to you… when do you give your students a rubric for a task with the expectation that they will choose to ignore it or achieve at its lowest level?

You have a choice…

Focus on the dismal achievement rate (40% achieved on their first attempt) of the whole that embark on the process.


 Focus on YOU and how the process (done right) will elevate you to a level in the profession that you haven’t yet known.  Focus on your super powers to dive deep into the rubric and the NBPTS standards® that tell you exactly what you should be doing/showcasing to earn the prestigious title of NBCT behind your name.

 Ready to get started with the process? Visit today to elevate your practice to a level you haven’t yet known.

Never work alone!  Join me as your coach at


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