What are the Four Components to the National Board Certification Process?

The National Board Certification process for teachers is broken up into what is called four components. Component 1 National Board Certification is completed at a testing center via the computer where you are tested on your content knowledge and pedagogical practice from the National Board Certification certificate area that you have chosen to pursue. Now this probably isn't a test that you're used to. There are 45 multiple choice questions on a part of it that are called selected response items and then there are constructed response exercises which are a little bit more than like an essay question. Through Component 1 you will have the ability to study some sample scenarios and the content being scored. You will be able to practice the writing for Component 1 through the rubrics provided in the scoring section of the candidate guide.  Stimuli that you must look at and analyze for some prompts can sometimes be tricky for teachers to “off the cuff” analyze in a high stress timed environment. Therefore, practicing what it will be like and studying the content is highly recommended. National Board Certified teachers are diagnostic in their practice that is also full of depth and breadth. Therefore, the 45 selected response items (otherwise known as multiple choice) will be around the content for your age band and area as well as those constructed response exercises. Some teachers say, “Well I only teach second grade so I should only be tested on second grade,” however, the reality is that you can (and will) be tested across your age band and content area that you chose for the process as a whole.


National Board Certification Component 2 is a portfolio where you are going to have to showcase your ability to use differentiation and instruction. It is completed while you are in the classroom and dependent upon which certificate area you are certifying in throughout the year work sampling may occur anywhere from three weeks to twelve weeks.  I like to call this component the portfolio of “case study” because you aren't looking at all of the students in your class when you actually complete the portfolio's writing. You will take a couple of students or just one student depending on what your certificate area says to find their  strengths and needs. Next, you will design and Implement instruction or assessment (depending on your certificate area which one you will do) to impact student learning toward the needs you identified for each student. This component is really like a unicorn for all of you. It is the one that is not going to look the same across the certificate areas, so the students' work samples might be let's say writing for some of you and it might be an assessment for others of you. What your assessor must see is that you are differentiating instruction and that your student is actually growing over time. Therefore, you must able to analyze why that growth happened and what your instructional choices had to do with supporting the student in being able to have the growth that you're showcasing through their work samples or assessment information 


National Board Certification Component 3 is the video based portfolio where you are showcasing your teaching practice and the assessors are watching you interact with the students and are scoring you on how you describe, analyze, and reflect on the goals that you put into these lessons.  Scorers want to know why you're interacting with students the way you're interacting with them and how that engagement is impacting their learning over the course of the lesson. This is all covered in two different videotaped lessons that are 10-15 minutes long each.  It is important to remember the value of showing your depth and breadth when choosing pedagogical strategies to use to teach the content in the videotaped lessons. You want the assessor to see different tools that are in your tool bag.  You must also make sure to choose two of the three types of student grouping - whole group, small group, and one-on-one support. I love component 3, in fact here at TraceyBryantStuckey.com I have a full course where I coach teachers like you to break the process down into smaller pieces and to help you to connect the standards and the scoring rubric for your area for Component 3 to make sure that you are choosing the most engaging lessons and that you're able to pick your work apart and analyze it for the assessor in a way that they can find the evidence quickly when scoring your paper. 


And finally we have Component 4 National Board Certification which is where you are going to become an effective and reflective practitioner. I'm always beginning with the end in mind and that's because it's my belief after 23 + years working as a candidate support provider that through the component 4 NBPTS process teachers become national board certified teachers. I’m so passionate about teachers starting at this point that I have also created an easy to follow course for working through this component that you can find at www.traceybryantstuckey.com. It definitely is the hardest of the four portfolios to work through while it requires the most evidence and the longest paper. However, the work you do through this portfolio will develop you into a national board-certified teacher while you learn to prove that you're an effective and reflective practitioner. You are going to have to use assessment to know what your students know and to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. You will also have to build a group profile to plan and teach a unit around your students needs and embed the use of  formative assessment, student self assessment, and summative assessment to be able to discuss the growth that your students have had because of your effective planning. You will also be proving your collaboration with other professionals in the field to advance your students’ learning and growth around whatever you saw as a student learning need and you're going to be picking a professional learning need that you worked toward improving over time.


All components of National Board Certification come together to showcase your ability to meet the five core propositions for the national board certification process and the national board’s standards for teaching which these propositions were made up of when the process was developed. A teacher who earns the distinction of National Board Certified Teacher meets the minimum score of at least 110 points overall when all four component scores are added together. All portfolios combined will showcase you as a teacher that is committed to his/her students and their learning. You will know the subjects you teach and how to teach those subjects to students. You will be responsible for managing and monitoring students’ learning and you will think systematically about your practice while learning from experience. Finally, you will work as a member of a learning community to become a rockstar within the national board certification process


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