The ABCTE plans to implement a somewhat different approach to measuring effective teaching (American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, 2007). It currently plans to base certification decisions on four components: (1) three one-hour structured classroom observations conducted by trained observers; (2) a structured evaluation of the teacher’s professionalism and leadership qualities conducted by his or her supervisor; a computer-based assessment of subject-matter expertise; and (3) evidence from statistical value-added analyses quantifying the impact the teacher has made on students’ score gains on standardized achievement tests. The ABCTE plan is still under development, and the organization is conducting research on the reliability, validity, and feasibility of each component. Additional information is available at http://www.abcte.org.
The Carnegie task force envisioned that a program that certifies accomplished teachers might affect overall teacher quality in a variety of ways. For example, by identifying the most effective teachers, the program could enable schools and districts to recognize and reward them and thus more easily retain excellent teachers. Participation in the program might improve teachers’ practice, and their practice might in turn influence that of their colleagues. The existence of the program might also influence teacher preparation programs more broadly, which could affect the practice of teachers who never even seek certification. Furthermore, by professionalizing teaching as a career, the board might influence the next generation of teachers and attract more effective applicants into education careers.
These potential impacts of a certification program for accomplished teachers differ in kind, and many are difficult to assess in a rigorous way. The committee was charged not only with evaluating the NBPTS, but also with developing a framework that could be used both for that purpose and for the evaluation of other advanced-level teacher certification programs. Thus, we began our work by considering in detail the ways a certification program for advanced-level teachers might improve the schooling of children and the field of teaching in general. To provide a framework for our evaluation, we developed a list of key questions to ask about a program designed to accomplish these goals. With this evaluation framework in place, we identified specific research questions associated with each of our primary evaluation questions and considered the nature of the evidence that would be needed to answer each of them. The committee then reviewed the available research literature and data, analyzed its application to the evalu-