number of board-certified teachers. Even if all of the 63,800 teachers who have earned board certification were still teaching, this translates to only an average of three board-certified teachers for every five schools and about 2 percent of all the 3.7 million members of the current teaching force. Except in a few districts, the numbers of board-certified teachers are likely to be too small for them to have an impact on their school systems.
With regard to the other areas in which spillover effects may have occurred, there simply is no research to draw from. For example, there have been no systematic attempts to evaluate the content of teacher preparation programs to see if changes related to the national board have occurred over the past decade. Such research is difficult to carry out, but it is not impossible. Studies could evaluate the content of course syllabi or curriculum standards and note changes that occur over time. Surveys of administrators of teacher preparation programs could also shed light on these issues. These kinds of studies may not use the stringent kinds of methodologies that would allow one to attribute any detected changes directly to the NBPTS, but they would provide the beginnings of a research base on these questions. We think that such studies lie within the purview of the NBPTS. The board established these goals from the outset and should implement the kinds of research that would make possible evaluation of the extent to which these goals have been realized. Late in our evaluation process, the board embarked on this kind of study, and we encourage the completion of this investigation.
There is also no way for us to evaluate the impacts of the national board on professional development programs for teachers because no research has examined the extent to which the NBPTS standards have influenced inservice programs. This type of research could also be conducted. Researchers who have studied the effects of professional development on instruction have found ways to characterize different kinds of professional development, to identify theoretical approaches, and to examine the effects of different approaches on teachers’ classroom practice (Desimone et al., 2002; Garet et al., 2001; Guskey, 2003; Hawley and Valli, 1999; Porter et al., 2000; Wilson and Berne, 1999). This body of work provides research models that could be useful in efforts to trace the influence of the NBPTS approach on professional development programs. This literature also indicates that a consensus seems to be emerging about the key features that make professional development effective, such as opportunities for teachers to work as a group and to develop their learning over an extended period of time; opportunities for active learning; a focus on content; and links among the professional development activities, the curricula with which the teachers are working, and the standards they are using. These newer findings regarding professional development seem to reinforce many of the elements recommended by the national board.