Our evaluation framework also includes questions about the impact of the program on the characteristics of teachers who enter the profession. At present there are no data that could be used to address this question. No data have been collected to ascertain whether applications to schools of education have increased since board certification became available or whether the characteristics of applicants have changed over time.
The final question in our framework dealt with the allocation of teachers across schools. We were interested in the extent to which principals and administrators use board certification status to assign teachers to high-needs schools or classrooms with the most challenging students. We were not able to answer this question either. In Chapters 6 and 9 we described the problems with the existing data systems (i.e., that there are no ways to determine where teachers currently work or to track their placements on a national level), and we refer the reader to those sections of the report for details about the problems with data collection in these areas.
Investigating spillover effects caused us to consider what might look different if states, districts, and schools around the country had actively embraced the board certification program from the start. As Chapter 6 discusses, this has not happened, except in a few places. There is a stark contrast between the particularly ambitious goals of the Carnegie task force and the very modest spread of the national board certification program. We could find no studies or evidence to answer questions about why the national board has not become more deeply ingrained in the U.S. education system, but it is clear that systemic effects go hand in hand with the volume of certified teachers.
Having reviewed the evidence on all of these questions, we think that board-certified teachers are unlikely to have a significant impact without broader endorsements by states, districts, and schools of the NBPTS goals for improving professional development, setting high standards for teachers, and actively using the board-certified teachers in leadership roles. Furthermore, we think that the NBPTS program is unlikely to have broad systemic effects on the field of teaching unless greater numbers of teachers become board certified and the Carnegie task force’s other recommendations—for creating a more effective environment for teaching and learning in schools, increasing the supply of high-quality entrants into the profession, and improving career opportunities for teachers—are implemented.
Our review of the evidence led us to draw the following conclusion:
Conclusion 10-1: There is not yet sufficient research to evaluate the extent to which the NBPTS is having systemic impacts on the teaching field and the education system.