in preparing for the assessment and in assembling the portfolio itself may present candidates with an opportunity to develop and hone their teaching strategies. Therefore, in our evaluation framework, we investigate whether going through the NBPTS certification process could have an impact on a teacher’s practices and ultimately on student learning. The question that we take up in this chapter is whether there is any evidence that this occurs.
Question 5: To what extent do teachers improve their practices and the outcomes of their students by virtue of going through the advanced-level certification process?
Figure 2-1 shows where this piece of the evaluation fits within the committee’s framework, displaying our model of the ways a certification program for accomplished teachers might influence the teaching profession and the way our evaluation questions map onto this model. To respond to this aspect of the evaluation, we identified three subsidiary questions to investigate. Specifically:
To what extent do teachers who go through the certification process improve their teaching practices and classroom climate, regardless of whether they become board certified?
Do teachers who obtain board certification become more effective at increasing student achievement in ways that are evident in their students’ achievement scores?
Do teachers have a greater impact on other student outcomes (e.g., higher student motivation, higher promotion rates) after they obtain certification than they did before they were certified?
Our literature review revealed that little research has addressed these questions, and the evidence that is available is not conclusive. In this chapter, we discuss the available evidence on each of the subquestions and the limitations of the findings, and we propose ways to improve upon the existing research base. We begin with Subquestion b because the studies that address this question were just discussed in Chapter 7. We then move to Subquestion a, for which there were two studies that objectively evaluated the impact of the process on teachers’ practices (Darling-Hammond and Atkin, 2007; Lustick and Sykes, 2006) and four survey-based studies that provide self-reports from teachers about their perceptions of the impacts of the assessment on their practices (Indiana Professional Standards Board, 2002; National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2001a,d; Yankelovich Partners, 2001). We found no studies that addressed Subquestion c. Table 8-1 provides a summary of the studies discussed in this chapter.