We also sought information and insights from teachers with a variety of experiences related to the NBPTS program. The National Research Council has a standing committee of teachers, called the Teacher Advisory Council (TAC). The council includes 11 high school, middle school, and elementary teachers of reading, mathematics, and science who have been recognized for their exceptional work.2 This group serves as an advisory panel and resource for committees of the National Academies, to help make sure that the perspectives of teachers at the top of their field are taken into account in the conduct of education-related projects and to improve the usefulness, relevance, and communication of research-based findings. At the time, four of the TAC members were board certified. We attended their March 2006 meeting to learn more about their perceptions of the NBPTS and specifically to follow up on some of the findings reported in the research with regard to the influences of board-certified teachers in schools and school systems. In preparation for this discussion, we distributed a set of questions to the TAC members in advance of their meeting, which inquired about their reasons for deciding to pursue (or not pursue) board certification, their impressions of the program, and, for those who were board certified, any ways that it has impacted their practices or career. We then conducted a two-hour structured discussion to hear their responses to these questions.

A segment of our third committee meeting (June 2006) was also devoted to hearing firsthand accounts from teachers and teacher educators. The goal of this panel was to learn more about the ways in which the NBPTS has influenced teacher education and professional development. Mary Futrell, dean of education and former member of the NBPTS board of directors, and Maxine Freund, professor of special education, both with the George Washington University School of Education, discussed their perceptions of ways that the NBPTS has affected teacher training at their institutions. (Freund’s work in developing mentoring programs for NBPTS applicants is documented in Freund, Russell, and Kavulic, 2005.) In addition, we invited two board-certified teachers with documented involvement in professional development activities in their school systems (see Cohen and Rice, 2005): Sara Eisenhardt, an elementary teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Carol Matern, employed with the Indianapolis public schools and an adjunct faculty member with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The committee focused considerable attention on the body of research related to student outcomes. We listened to presentations by authors of 6 of the 12 studies—Linda Cavaluzzo, Dan Goldhaber, Douglas Harris and Tim Sass, Thomas Kane and Jon Fullerton, Helen Ladd, and William Sanders. Together, the findings from these studies presented a complex set of results.


More information about this group can be found at http://ww7.nationalacademies.org/tac/.

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