board contained background characteristics for teachers who applied for and earned board certification between 1993-1994 and 2005-2006,1 as well as information about the states in which these applicants resided and the types of schools in which they worked at the time of application. Information identifying the school districts in which teachers worked at the time of application was not included on the electronic data file because of confidentiality concerns, but the national board provided the information we needed in response to specific requests. Below we summarize the information we obtained with regard to national, state, and district participation rates, as well as the characteristics of national board participants in comparison with the full population of teachers in the United States.

National Participation Rates

The national board’s assessments became operational in 1993, and since that time approximately 99,300 teachers have applied for board certification and approximately 63,800 have achieved it.2 It is not possible to determine how many of these teachers are still teaching, and we therefore cannot determine the precise percentage of the current teacher workforce these numbers represent. However, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), there were just over 3.7 million teachers in the country in the 2003-2004 school years, and approximately 3.1 million (83 percent) teachers were eligible to apply for board certification.3 The total number of applicants for board certification represents 2.6 percent of the entire teaching force and 3.2 percent of the eligible teaching force. The total number of teachers who have earned board certification represents 1.7 percent of the entire teaching force and 2.0 percent of those eligible. These rates of both participation and achievement are likely to be overestimates of their share of the workforce, since it is not likely that all of the applicants and achievers are still teaching.4


Unless specified otherwise, our analyses throughout this chapter are based on data from 1993-1994 through 2005-2006 because those were the data available to us during the course of the project.


These figures include the numbers for the 2006-2007 school year, which became available just prior to the release of this report.


NBPTS prerequisites are that a teacher must have earned a bachelor’s degree, must have completed three full years of teaching, and must have a valid license throughout that period. See Chapter 4 for further details about the eligibility requirements.


In calculating the percentages, we used as the numerator the total cumulative numbers of teachers who have pursued and obtained board certification during the life of the program; there is no way to verify whether they are currently teaching or not. The denominator includes the number of licensed teachers employed in the 2003-2004 school year. It is unlikely that all of the teachers who have pursued board certification were still working as of 2003-2004, and, as a result, the participation rates we report are likely to be overestimates.

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