more hands-on mechanisms. Standardized tests often do not assess higher order critical thinking skills and cannot measure enthusiasm for learning. Furthermore, as we laid out in Chapter 7, there are many methodological issues associated with conducting studies that focus on students’ standardized test scores that may depress potential effects.
In our judgment, the existing research does not provide documentation that the certification process enhances teachers’ skills at improving students’ achievement test performance. Neither does it refute this claim. At this stage, the available research focuses only on reading and mathematics achievement in two states and primarily in the elementary grades. These studies are exploratory in nature and not based on a theory of the ways in which the certification process might impact teachers’ effectiveness or when these impacts are likely to be evident. We think it is premature to conclude that these findings would generalize to all other states, content areas, and grades. We think there is a need for replication of these studies in other states, grades, and content areas, but we do not want to see all resources invested in such studies. We therefore encourage multiple avenues for research.
Large-scale studies that use standardized test performance as the outcome measure are relatively easy to conduct when these tests are routinely given to all students and the data are maintained in state databases. These resources offer an efficient means for conducting such studies. However, such studies should not be the only kind conducted. We encourage researchers to find ways to evaluate students’ performance on other measures that are more aligned with the skills that the board emphasizes, such as assessments of critical thinking skills or evaluations of students’ attitudes toward a given subject. These studies combined with surveys and research that directly evaluates teachers’ classroom practices should provide a more complete picture of the impacts of the certification process.
We therefore make the following recommendations for additional research:
Recommendation 8-1: We encourage the NBPTS and other researchers to undertake research to investigate the effects of the process on the candidates. The studies should use pretest-posttest and longitudinal designs and should allow for comparison of responses from successful and unsuccessful candidates.
Recommendation 8-2: We encourage the NBPTS and other researchers to pursue more mixed-method studies, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods, to examine the effects of board certification on teachers’ practices. These studies should examine a variety of measures and a variety