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6 Teacher Participation in the Program The vision laid out in the national boardâs founding document, A Na- tion Prepared (Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession, 1986) is of a system in which board certification becomes increasingly well known, respected, and widespread. Not only would administrators be able to use certification status to guide accomplished teachers to high-needs schools, but growing numbers of board-certified teachers would assume mentoring roles and share their skills with other teachers. Moreover, the task force anticipated that board-certified teachers would be in high demand in that salary structures for teachers would provide substantial rewards for earn- ing board certification, and that states would encourage certification and support its underlying goals in other ways. Together, all of these improve- ments in the profession would keep the most accomplished teachers in the classroom, have a beneficial influence on the skills of all teachers, and help to attract larger numbers of able teachers to the field. Board certification cannot produce such effects unless there is suffi- cient participation in the program so that a critical mass of board-certified teachers is present in schools, districts, and states. Thus, a clear under- standing of the extent of participation, the factors that influence participa- tion, and the ways in which board-certified teachers are distributed among states, districts, and schools is a critical component of an evaluation of the program. In this chapter, we address the third question on our framework: 119
120 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING Question 3: To what extent do teachers participate in the program? Figure 2-1 shows how this question fits into our overall framework. To investigate this question, the committee identified the following subsidiary questions: a. How many teachers apply each year for board certification? Have there been changes in application rates over time? How do ap- plication rates compare across states and districts? What are the characteristics of teachers who apply compared with those who do not? What are the characteristics of teachers who successfully earn board certification compared with those who do not? b. Why do teachers choose to participate or not? What do various agencies (the board, states, school districts, teachers unions, etc.) do to encourage participation? How do these actions influence teachersâ attitudes toward certification and participation in the process? To address these questions, we relied on information from two sources. The first source was the National Board for Professional Teaching Stan- dards (NBPTS) itself. National board staff members provided written re- sponses to questions we submitted, as well as other information about participation rates, including an electronic version of their longitudinal candidate database for our own analyses. The second source was a research base consisting of seven studies that focused on teachersâ motivations for pursuing board certification. In the sections that follow, we first examine participation patterns, comparing participation rates over time and by state and school district, as well as the characteristics of teachers who pursue board certification. We then turn to a discussion of the reasons teachers decide to obtain board certification. Additional details about the specific sources we used are provided in the relevant sections. In the sections that follow, we use the terms âapplicants,â âcandidates,â and âparticipantsâ interchangeably, to refer to all teachers who apply for board certification by completing the entire assessment process, regardless of whether they pass the assessment or not. The term âachieversâ denotes teachers who earn board certification by completing the assessment process and receive a passing score. How many teachers have participated? The national board provided the committee with information that we used to determine the levels of participation in the program and the char- acteristics of participants. The electronic data set supplied by the national
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 121 board contained background characteristics for teachers who applied for and earned board certification between 1993-1994 and 2005-2006, as well as information about the states in which these applicants resided and the types of schools in which they worked at the time of application. Informa- tion identifying the school districts in which teachers worked at the time of application was not included on the electronic data file because of confiden- tiality concerns, but the national board provided the information we needed in response to specific requests. Below we summarize the information we obtained with regard to national, state, and district participation rates, as well as the characteristics of national board participants in comparison with the full population of teachers in the United States. National Participation Rates The national boardâs assessments became operational in 1993, and since that time approximately 99,300 teachers have applied for board cer- tification and approximately 63,800 have achieved it. It is not possible to determine how many of these teachers are still teaching, and we therefore cannot determine the precise percentage of the current teacher workforce these numbers represent. However, according to data from the National Center for Education Statisticsâ Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), there were just over 3.7 million teachers in the country in the 2003-2004 school years, and approximately 3.1 million (83 percent) teachers were eligible to apply for board certification. The total number of applicants for board cer- tification represents 2.6 percent of the entire teaching force and 3.2 percent of the eligible teaching force. The total number of teachers who have earned board certification represents 1.7 percent of the entire teaching force and 2.0 percent of those eligible. These rates of both participation and achieve- ment are likely to be overestimates of their share of the workforce, since it is not likely that all of the applicants and achievers are still teaching. â Unless specified otherwise, our analyses throughout this chapter are based on data from 1993-1994 through 2005-2006 because those were the data available to us during the course of the project. âThese figures include the numbers for the 2006-2007 school year, which became available just prior to the release of this report. âNBPTS prerequisites are that a teacher must have earned a bachelorâs degree, must have completed three full years of teaching, and must have a valid license throughout that period. See Chapter 4 for further details about the eligibility requirements. âIn calculating the percentages, we used as the numerator the total cumulative numbers of teachers who have pursued and obtained board certification during the life of the program; there is no way to verify whether they are currently teaching or not. The denominator includes the number of licensed teachers employed in the 2003-2004 school year. It is unlikely that all of the teachers who have pursued board certification were still working as of 2003-2004, and, as a result, the participation rates we report are likely to be overestimates.
122 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-1â Participation in NBPTS Certification 1993-2007 1993- 1994- 1995- 1996- 1997- 1998- 1999- 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Applicantsa 542 346 520 720 1,837 5,423 6,815 Achieversb 177 199 219 318 924 2,969 4,728 aApplicants include only first-time applicants who completed the entire assessment process. Although participation rates are low, they have increased over the years. Only 542 teachers attempted the assessment the first year board cer- tification was offered when certification was available in two areas, and just 177 were successful. Since 2001, the number of first-time applicants has been over 11,000 per year, and between 7,300 and 8,500 teachers have earned board certification each year. Table 6-1 displays the participation levels over the past 14 school years, showing the number of applicants and achievers nationwide. While the rate of growth has not been regular, the trend across the life of the program has been upward. Participation Rates by State Participation rates vary considerably from state to state, in part because of differences in the extent to which states encourage teachers to pursue board certification (an issue taken up in more detail later in the chapter). Table 6-2 displays the number of teachers who have applied for and earned board certification by state between 1993-1994 through 2005-2006. In this table, the entry for âstateâ indicates the location where the teacher was employed at the time she or he pursued board certification, not where the teacher currently works. For each state, the table shows the number of applicants and achievers as a percentage of the number of eligible teachers in the state. The percent- ages of eligible teachers applying range from a low of 0.2 percent in New Hampshire and Texas to a high of 21 percent in North Carolina. The per- centages of teachers who earned board certification range from 0.1 percent in New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Texas to a high of nearly 13 percent in â By1997-1998, certification was available in seven areas; by 2000-2001, 19 areas were available; by 2005-2006, there were 24, and there are currently 25. â All analyses by state are based on the electronic database we received from the NBPTS and report data for the 1993-1994 through 2005-2006 school years.
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 123 2000- 2001- 2002- 2003- 2004- 2005- 2006- 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Total 10,121 13,886 12,313 11,894 11,688 11,007 12,221 99,321 6,508 7,897 8,211 8,067 7,300 7,807 8,547 63,847 bAchievers include all candidates who achieved during their three-year candidacy; hence beginning in 1997-1998, the number of achievers in a given year corresponds to first-time applicants in that given year and a portion of first-time applicants from the prior two years who did not achieve in their first attempts. North Carolina. The majority of the board-certified teachers in the country, 66 percent, were found in seven states: California, Florida, Georgia, Mis- sissippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina. Participation Rates by School Districts There are approximately 14,000 school districts in the country and 96,513 public and private schools (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d06/ tables/dt06_083.asp). If board-certified teachers were evenly spread across the country (assuming that all of the 63,800 board-certified teachers were still working), this would translate to an average of four to five board- certified teachers per school district, three for every five schools. However, participation is not even across the country and varies as much by district as by state. The NBPTS assisted us in conducting an analysis of 13 yearsâ worth of data (1993-1994 through 2005-2006) on the districts where teachers were employed at the time they applied for board certification. These analyses revealed that, during this 13-year period in about 8,901 school districts (64 percent), there were no teachers who applied for board cer- tification. ÂAnother 2,513 (18 percent) districts had only one or two appli- cants. Approximately 1,008 districts (7 percent) had between three and five appliÂcants during this time period. In 593 districts (4 percent) there were between six and 10 teacher applicants, and in the remaining 985 districts (7 percent), 11 or more teachers applied. With regard to the distribution of board-certified teachers, in 9,846 districts (70 percent), there were no teachers who earned board certification during this time period, and another 2,200 districts (16 percent) had only one or two teachers who became board certified during this time span. Ap- â These figures are approximates because some candidates do not report their school district, and thus the district is unknown.
124 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-2â Certification Applicants and Achievers Nationwide and by State, 1993-2006 Total Teachers Applicants as Achievers as Eligible a Percentage a Percentage for Board of Eligible of Eligible State Applicantsa Achieversa Certificationb Teachersb Teachersb All states 87,112 55,324 3,097,271 2.8 1.8 Alabama 1,606 1,096 50,361 3.2 2.2 Alaska 115 76 7,765 1.5 1.0 Arizona 527 346 49,792 1.1 0.7 Arkansas 1,034 585 34,929 3.0 1.7 California 5,493 3,645 273,548 2.0 1.3 Colorado 424 271 46,784 0.9 0.6 Connecticut 162 126 43,946 0.4 0.3 Delaware 496 348 7,858 6.3 4.4 District of 78 18 5,080 1.5 0.4 Columbia Florida 15,222 9,223 145,826 10.4 6.3 Georgia 3,695 2,335 94,765 3.9 2.5 Hawaii 210 125 13,482 1.6 0.9 Idaho 420 327 14,427 2.9 2.3 Illinois 3,381 1,985 137,972 2.5 1.4 Indiana 280 131 61,097 0.5 0.2 Iowa 681 527 39,045 1.7 1.3 Kansas 340 236 36,790 0.9 0.6 Kentucky 1,616 1,120 45,935 3.5 2.4 Louisiana 1,923 1,032 53,155 3.6 1.9 Maine 141 104 19,060 0.7 0.5 Maryland 1,394 823 54,617 2.6 1.5 Massachusetts 656 439 80,792 0.8 0.5 Michigan 458 213 96,307 0.5 0.2 Minnesota 422 285 60,596 0.7 0.5 Mississippi 3,600 2,550 31,729 11.3 8.0 Missouri 601 341 72,455 0.8 0.5 Montana 81 58 12,381 0.7 0.5 Nebraska 88 49 26,150 0.3 0.2 Nevada 420 277 18,324 2.3 1.5 New 25 18 14,809 0.2 0.1 Hampshire New Jersey 282 134 110,326 0.3 0.1 New Mexico 510 234 19,525 2.6 1.2 New York 1,177 690 220,229 0.5 0.3
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 125 TABLE 6-2â Continued Total Teachers Applicants as Achievers as Eligible a Percentage a Percentage for Board of Eligible of Eligible State Applicantsa Achieversa Certificationb Teachersb Teachersb North Carolina 17,812 11,325 84,467 21.1 13.4 North Dakota 54 25 9,498 0.6 0.3 Ohio 4,258 2,624 135,515 3.1 1.9 Oklahoma 2,341 1,567 43,544 5.4 3.6 Oregon 346 208 27,573 1.3 0.8 Pennsylvania 460 297 128,605 0.4 0.2 Rhode Island 393 253 13,674 2.9 1.9 South Carolina 7,363 5,075 45,086 16.3 11.3 South Dakota 80 58 11,157 0.7 0.5 Tennessee 431 236 61,139 0.7 0.4 Texas 547 317 257,771 0.2 0.1 Utah 193 106 21,208 0.9 0.5 Vermont 131 90 10,308 1.3 0.9 Virginia 1,872 1,134 135,515 2.2 1.4 Washington 1,784 1,307 61,985 2.9 2.1 West Virginia 432 290 21,824 2.0 1.3 Wisconsin 607 402 73,500 0.8 0.5 Wyoming 178 77 7,149 2.5 1.1 aSOURCE: NBPTS data files. bBased on the number of public and private school teachers in the state in 2003-2004 who had met the prerequisites for board certification. SOURCE: SASS 2003-2004. proximately 800 districts (6 percent) had between three and five Âteachers who earned board certification during this time span; and 417 districts (3Â percent) had between six and 10 teachers. The remaining 707 (5 percent) districts had 11 or more teachers who earned board certification. There are some districts with fairly large concentrations of board-cer- tified teachers, such as certain areas of North Carolina and Florida. For example, Table 6-3 shows the number of applicant and board-certified teachers for five districts in relation to the total number of teachers and schools in each district. As the table shows, applicants as a percentage of to- tal teachers in these districts range from 7 percent in MiamiâDade County, Florida, to 16 percent in Wake County, North Carolina. The percentages of board-certified teachers range from 4 percent in MiamiâDade County to 11 percent in Wake County.
126 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING Another way to consider the concentration of board-certified teachers is in relation to the number of schools in the district. In all five districts in Table 6-3, the ratio of board-certified teachers per school exceeds the national average of three for every five schools. In these schools, the ratio ranges from about two board-certified teachers per school in MiamiâDade County to seven board-certified teachers per school in Wake County. On the basis of our review of participation ratesânationally, by state, and by districtâwe present two findings: Finding 6-1: Overall, participation rates in the NBPTS certification program are low. Approximately 3 percent of the eligible teachers in the country have pursued board certification, and approximately 2 percent of the nationâs eli- gible teachers are currently board certified. While these participation rates are low, the number of teachers pursuing board certification has increased significantly since the program began. Finding 6-2: The rates at which teachers apply for and earn board certifica- tion vary across states and school districts. TABLE 6-3â National Board-Certification Applicants and Achievers Between 1993 and 2006 in Five School Districts Applicantsa Achieversa Total Total Teachers Schools Number Percentageb Number Percentageb North Carolina: Charlotteâ Mecklenburgc 8,860 167 1,359 15 889 10 Wake Countyd 9,703 153 1,574 16 1,110 11 Florida: Broward Countye 16,756 288 1,615 10 979 6 Brevard Countyf 5,120 113 888 13 464 9 MiamiâDade Countyg 23,629 415 1,692 7 945 4 aSOURCE: NBPTS. bPercentage of total teachers. cSee http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/discover/pdf/fastfactssheet.pdf. dSee http://www.wcpss.net/basic_facts.html. eSee http://www.fldoe.org/eias/flmove/broward.asp. fSee http://www.fldoe.org/eias/flmove/brevard.asp. gSee http://www.fldoe.org/eias/flmove/dade.asp.
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 127 Characteristics of Participants Background Characteristics The NBPTS electronic data set supplied to the committee contained background characteristics for teachers who applied for board certification between 1993-1994 and 2005-2006, based on information they provided when they registered for the assessment, together with a pass/fail variable indicating successful and unsuccessful applicants. We did not have access to teachersâ scores on the assessment, and the data do not include the number of attempts teachers made before passing. The committee examined the characteristics of teachers who decide to pursue board certification (see Perda, 2007). We compared the characteris- tics of applicants for board certification with those of teachers in general, using data from the SASS for 2003-2004. Table 6-4 shows the percent- ages of all NBPTS-eligible teachers, of national board applicants, and of teachers who successfully earned board certification by gender, race, level of education, employment setting, and grade level taught, as well as the average age and years of experience for these groups. These data indicate that, overall, national board participants are predominantly white women. More than half have a masterâs degree and teach at the elementary level. On average, national board participants are 40 years old and have 13 years of experience. Table 6-4 allows comparison of the characteristics of the group of teachers who applied for board certification with the full group of ÂNBPTS- eligible teachers. The groups differ in several ways. While teachers in gen- eral were disproportionately female (75.9 percent), the applicant group was even more so (88 percent). African Americans were slightly more prevalent among the group of teachers who applied for board certification than among the overall population of teachers (9.5 versus 7.1 percent nation- ally), whereas the reverse was true for Hispanics (4.0 versus 5.6 percent nationally). Teachers who applied for board certification were more likely to have a masterâs degree (57.1 percent) than were NBPTS-eligible teachers in the national sample (49.8 percent). Board applicants were also younger and had less teaching experience (40.6 and 12.4 years, respectively), on average, than were NBPTS-eligible teachers in the national sample (44 and 15.8 years, respectively). Table 6-4 also shows the group distributions for teachers who success- fully achieved board certification. With respect to gender, age, experience, and grade level taught, teachers who earned board certification are similar to teachers who apply. In terms of race and ethnicity, however, there are differences between these two groups. As noted above, African Americans are overrepresented in the ap-
128 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-4â Characteristics of NBPTS-Eligible Teachers in Public and Private Schools in the United States (2003-2004) and National Board- Certification Applicants and Achievers (1993-2006) All NBPTS- Board- Board- Eligible Certification Certification Success Teachersa Applicantsb Achieversb Rateb Gender Women 75.9 88.0 88.8 64.1 Men 24.1 12.0 11.2 59.1 Race/ethnicity American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.5 0.8 0.6 54.9 Asian 1.2 1.1 1.1 61.3 African American 7.1 9.5 4.7 31.4 Hispanic 5.6 4.0 3.4 54.4 Pacific Islander 0.2 0.2 0.2 57.0 White, not of Hispanic 84.7 84.5 90.1 67.9 origin Multiple races, 0.7 0.0 0.0 â non-Hispanic Highest degree earned Less than bachelorâs 0.0 0.1 0.1 76.5 Bachelorâs 49.0 38.5 35.6 58.7 Masterâs 49.8 57.1 60.0 66.8 Education specialist 0.0 2.7 2.7 62.9 Doctorate 1.2 1.6 1.6 62.7 Age (mean, SD) 44.0 (10.6) 40.6 (9.1) 40.3 (9.1) Years of teaching 15.8 (9.9) 12.4 (7.6) 12.6 (7.6) experience (mean, SD) Type of school setting Rural 18.6 31.8 31.1 68.2 Suburban 52.6 33.2 35.9 75.6 Urban 28.8 35.1 33.0 65.6 Grade level taught Preschool/elementary 50.1 52.4 51.8 62.7 Middle 16.9 20.8 19.8 60.6 High 26.1 26.8 28.3 67.1 Combined 7.0 0.0 0.0 â aTeachers who held a bachelorâs degree, had three or more years of teaching experience and were certified by their state or other accrediting or certifying body. SOURCE: SASS 2003-2004. bSOURCE: NBPTS data files.
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 129 plicant group compared with their percentages in the general population of teachers, but, at 4.7 percent of those who earn certification, they are underrepresented in the successful applicant group. Column four of Table 6-4 shows the success rate for each groupâa combination of the initial pass rate, based on results from the first attempt on taking the assessment, and teachersâ persistence levels (teachers may retake the assessment until they obtain the required passing scores). The success rate for African American teachers is less than half that for white teachers (31.4 versus 67.9 percent). A lower success rate for Hispanics (54.4 percent) also contributes to their lesser representation in the successful applicant group (3.4 percent), com- pared with their representation in the full applicant group (4.0 percent) and in the national sample of NBPTS-eligible teachers (5.6 percent). Successful applicants also tend to have higher education levels than the full applicant group and the national sample of eligible teachers. The suc- cessful applicant group included fewer teachers who have only a bachelorâs degree (35.6 percent) than did both the full applicant group (38.5) and the national eligible sample (49.0 percent) and higher percentages of teachers with masterâs degrees (60 percent) than did the full group of applicants (57.1 percent) and the national eligible sample (49.8 percent). Board-Certified Teachersâ Employment Settings There are currently no national data sets that provide information about the locations where board-certified teachers work. The data set maintained by the NBPTS indicates only the type of school setting in which teachers worked at the time of application, and even this indicator provides minimal information (e.g., whether the school is classified as rural, subur- ban, or urban). As shown in Table 6-4, board applicants are fairly evenly distributed across rural, urban, and suburban schools, and the same is true for teachers who earn board certification. By contrast, the majority of the national sample of NBPTS-eligible teachers was employed in suburban schools (52.6 percent), with only 18.6 percent teaching in schools in rural areas. Beyond this, there is no existing, routinely collected, national infor- mation about where board-certified teachers work. Two groups of researchers have investigated this issue in depth, using data collected and maintained by six states and one large school district. Using these data, Goldhaber, Perry, and Anthony (2003) and Humphrey, Koppich, and Hough (2005) compared the characteristics of employment settings for board-certified and nonboard-certified teachers. The initial â These are eventual success rates, which reflect multiple attempts to pass the assessment. Thus the success rate reflects both the initial pass rate and teachersâ persistence in reattempts to pass the assessment.
130 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING study by Goldhaber et al. (2003) focused on teachers working in North Carolina schools. Humphrey et al. (2005) expanded on this, studying the employment settings of board-certified teachers in the six states that employ nearly 65 percent of the board-certified teachers: California, Florida, Mis- sissippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina. We focus on the latter study because of its broader coverage of multiple states. One underlying goal of board certification was to provide information that could be used in employment decisions, so that the most accomplished teachers could be placed in schools with high-needs students. Humphrey et al. (2005) investigated the extent to which this goal is being realized. The researchers classified schools according to their performance on the stateâs achievement tests and based on characteristics that tend to correlate with academic achievement (large numbers of minority children and children who participate in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program). The authors characterized the schools in each state as âhigh-poverty schoolsâ (in which at least 75 percent of the students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunch), âhigh-minority schoolsâ (in which at least 75 percent of the students are racial/ethnic minorities), and âlow-performing schoolsâ (schools with state test scores in the bottom three deciles for two of three years between 2000-2001 and 2002-2003). They reported that across all six states, 12 percent of the board-certified teachers (2,297 teachers) taught in high-poverty schools, 16 percent (3,076 teachers) worked in high-minority schools, and 19 percent (3,521 teachers) were employed in low-performing schools. Examination of these data at the state level in six states indicates that, with the exception of California, board-certified teachers are less likely than teachers in general to work in high-poverty, high-minority, and low- performing schools (Table 6-5). These data show that, in five of the six states studied, board-certified teachers are not in abundance in the schools in which they are needed most, and they are much less likely to be in these schools than are other teachers in general. California is the exception, but the researchers attributed this to particular characteristics in Los Ange- les resulting from specific policy incentives intended to encourage board- certified teachers to work in high-needs schools. Examination of the data for California with Los Angeles data excluded reveals that 26 percent of board-certified teachers work in low-performing schools, compared with 28 percent of all teachers in the state; these percentages are similar to those for teachers in general in other states. However, it is important to point out that other research has shown that students in high-poverty, less advantaged schools are less likely than other students to be taught by high-quality teachers, regardless of how teacher quality is measured (e.g., by NBPTS certification or by other ways of mea- suring teacher quality such as years of experience or having an advanced
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 131 Table 6-5â Percentages of Board-Certified and All Teachers in High- Poverty, High-Minority, and Low-Performing Schools in Six States High Poverty High Minority Low Performing Board All Board All Board All State Certified Teachers Certified Teachers Certified Teachers Californiaa 26 27 58 45 40 33 Florida 11 17 17 22 16 25 Mississippi 18 34 16 32 11 26 North 6 11 6 13 17 27 Carolina Ohio 6 10 8 11 20 26 South 10 18 9 18 14 25 Carolina aThe different pattern in California appears to be attributable to the Los Angeles school district. When results are reported separately for California with Los Angeles schools excluded, the patterns of percentages resemble those of other states. SOURCE: Adapted from Humphrey, Koppich, and Hough (2005, Exhibits 3, 4, and 5). Data are for 1998 through 2003. Reprinted with permission from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, http://www.nbpts.org. All rights reserved. degree) (Boyd et al., 2005; Darling-Hammond, 1987; Ingersoll, 2002, 2008; Oakes, 1990; Radenbush et al., 1998). To date, we know of no research that has investigated whether board-certified teachers are any less likely to teach in schools with high-needs students than teachers who are considered highly qualified based on other measures (e.g., years of experience, having an ad- vanced degree). Moreover, in general, when teachers change jobs, they tend to move to more advantaged schools (Ingersoll and Perda, 2008). ObtainÂing board certification is likely to increase teachersâ mobility, probably because it may increase their bargaining power, which would be another factor decreas- ing the likelihood that they will teach in high-needs schools. These issues are addressed in greater detail in Chapter 9. Why Teachers Participate Attempting to obtain national board certification is a significant un- dertaking. It costs $2,500 and generally requires an investment of roughly 400 hours over a full school year, as well as the support and assistance of colleagues and administrators. At a minimum, candidates must obtain per- mission to videotape their students in the classroom and recruit a colleague to operate the camera. They are also encouraged to engage colleagues in collaboration as they prepare their submissions (see, e.g., National Board
132 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING for Professional Teaching Standards, 2006a). Because teachers who attempt it must be videotaped teaching lessons to their students, the fact that they are applying, and the possibility of their failing, are very public within their schools. Thus, one might wonder why a teacher would decide to undertake this endeavor. Board certification is not a requirement for any teacher in this country. The decision is a voluntary one. Some teachers may pursue it for personal satisfaction and the sense of accomplishment. Others may seek the exter- nal recognition of their teaching. Still others may be encouraged by the administrators and supervisors in their school districts or states. States and districts differ substantially in their perspectives about board certification. Some offer significant rewards to teachers who earn the credential, while others have no means for explicitly recognizing these teachers. In the next section, we explore teachersâ motivations for pursuing board certification. We begin with a review of the incentives states provide and follow this with information gathered from teachers about their reasons for becoming board certified. State Incentives Although states vary in their level of endorsement of national board certification, the most visible strategies they use to encourage teachers to participate are financial incentives. The national board keeps track of state and district incentives and provided us with the information displayed in Table 6-6, the main incentives offered by each state for 2004, 2005, and 2006. As can be quickly discerned from this table, the financial incentives vary considerably. Teacher participation in the program tends to reflect these incentives. North Carolina and South Carolina, for example, in which roughly 21 percent (17,812 teachers) and 16 percent (7,363 teachers), respectively, of NBPTS-eligible teachers apply, both currently offer comparatively generous incentives. In South Carolina, the programâs fees are covered by loans that are forgiven for successful candidates, and half the amount is forgiven for applicants, regardless of whether they succeed. Board-certified teachers in that state also receive a $7,500 annual salary increase for as long as they remain certified. The test fees are paid outright for teachers in North Caro- lina who apply for board certification, and those teachers also receive 12 percent salary increases for the life of their board certification (10 years). North Carolina candidates are also eligible for three days of release time to prepare their portfolios. In other states, the incentives are much more modest or nonexistent, and the numbers of participants seem to reflect that. For example, Alaska, with a 2 percent participation rate (a total of 115 applicants), does not
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 133 cover the fee and has no incentives. New Hampshire, which has a 0.2 per- cent participation rate (25 applicants), has recently discontinued the policy of subsidizing the application fee, and North Dakota, with a 0.6 percent application rate (54 applicants), offers a one-time stipend and will assist no more than 17 total candidates per year with 50 percent of the fee. These examples illustrate the possible influence of financial incentives. The committee analyzed data about incentives and participation rates for the 2004-2005 school year, the most recent year for which complete data were available for all of the variables studied. We considered each stateâs history of providing incentives for the five-year period prior to the 2004- 2005 school year (i.e., between 1999-2000 and 2003-2004). We conducted the analyses two ways. First, we grouped states according to the number of years during that period in which they had provided any form of financial incentive, either fee assistance or any salary bonus, regardless of the size. The average participation rate across the states that provided some sort of ongoing financial incentive over that time period was six times that of other states (Table 6-7). Table 6-7 shows that 30 states provided incentives during at least four of the years between 1999 and 2003. In these states, 0.6 percent of teach- ers applied for board certification, on average. While this participation rate is still low, it is clearly higher than the 0.1 percent participation rate for states that provided incentives during three or fewer years during this time period. The right half of the table shows participation rates by the kinds of support that was offered during the 2004-2005 school year. The average participation rate remained at 0.6 percent (or slightly higher) for states that offered a salary bonus alone or combined with fee assistance. Fee assistance alone did not seem to be associated with higher participation rates. We also examined these data a second way by converting the financial incentive packages into dollar figures. We then expressed the financial pack- age as a percentage of each stateâs average teacher salary (using 2004-2005 figures) and considered these percentages in relation to the state participa- tion rates. This relationship is depicted in Figure 6-1 and Table 6-8. In Figure 6-1, values on the x-axis are the sum of the amount of test fee reimbursement provided by the state and the amount of the annual bonus offered to teachers upon certification. The values are expressed as percentages of the average teacher income in each state (National Educa- tion Association, Estimates of School Statistics, 1969-1970 through 2004- 2005). Values on the y-axis represent the percentage of teachers in the state who apply for board certification. The correlation between the two values is fairly high, at 0.63, which suggests a positive relationship between the financial incentives offered and the percentage of teachers who pursue board certification.
134 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-6â Financial Incentives for National Board Certification Offered by States 2004-2006 Fee Assistancea State 2004 2005 2006 Alabama $2,500 per $2,500 per $2,500 per candidatec candidate recipientd Alaska Arizona Arkansas $2,500 per $2,500 per $2,500 per 1st- candidate candidate time candidate California Colorado $1,000 each for $1,000 per 60 candidates candidate (limit implied) Connecticut $1,000 for 10 candidates Delaware Loan program District of Columbia $1,000 each for $1,000 each for $1,000 each 20 candidates 20 candidates for 1st-time candidates Florida $2,250 per $2,250 per $2,250 for 1st- candidate candidate time candidates Georgia $2,500 per $2,000 per $1,000 per recipient candidate candidate Hawaii $1,500 per Up to $3,000 per Up to $3,000 per candidate, $1,000 candidate candidate per recipient Idaho Illinois $2,000 per $2,000 per $2,000 per candidate candidate candidate Indiana $2,000 for 60 candidates Iowa $1,250 per $1,250 per $1,250 per candidate, plus candidate, plus candidate, plus $1,250 per $1,250 per $1,250 per recipient recipient recipient Kansas Up to $45,000 Fee assistance $1,000 per 1st- total available time candidate Kentucky $1,875 per $1,875 per $1,875 per recipient recipient, plus recipient, plus unspecified stipend $400 stipend Louisiana $2,000 per $850 per $2,000 per candidate candidate candidate (limited number) Maine Grant, unspecified Grant, unspecified Grant, unspecified
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 135 Salary Bonusb 2004 2005 2006 $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $4,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $2,000 per year $2,000 per year $2,000 per year 12% annual increase 12% annual increase 12% annual increase $5,000, one time $5,000, one time $4,000, one time 10% annual increase; 10% 10% annual increase; 10% 10% annual increase; 10% increase for mentoring increase for mentoring increase for mentoring 10% annual increase 10% annual increase 10% annual increase $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $3,000 per year; $1,000 to $3,000 per year; $1,000 to $3,000 per year; $1,000 to $3,000 to mentor $3,000 to mentor $3,000 to mentor $2,500 per year $2,500 per year $2,500 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $2,000 per year, plus pay for $2,000 per year, plus pay for $2,000 per year, plus pay for mentoring mentoring mentoring $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $3,000 per year Continued
136 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-6â Continued Fee Assistancea State 2004 2005 2006 Maryland $1,650 each for $1,650 each for $1,650 each for 500 candidates 750 candidates 500 candidates from the state, from the state, from the state, plus $850 per plus $850 per plus $850 per candidate from the candidate from the candidate from the district district district Massachusetts Michigan $100,000 $100,000 $1,250 per appropriated for appropriated for candidate (limit fee assistance fee assistance implied) Minnesota Mississippi $2,500 per $2,500 per recipient recipient Missouri $1,875 per $1,875 per $750 for 100 candidate candidate candidates Montana Nebraska Nevada $2,000 per $2,000 per recipient recipient New Hampshire $1,000 each for $1,000 each for 10 candidates 10 candidates New Jersey Fee assistance for Fee assistance for $625 per 175 candidates 175 candidates candidate New Mexico New York $2,500 per $2,500 per $2,000 per 1st- candidate candidate time candidate North Carolina $2,500 per $2,500 per $2,500 per candidate candidate candidate North Dakota $1,250 each for $1,250 each for $1,250 each for 17 candidates 17 candidates 17 candidates Ohio $2,000 each for $2,000 each for $2,200 per 1st- 550 candidates 400 candidates time candidate Oklahoma $2,500 each for $2,500 each for $2,500 each for 200 candidates 400 candidates 400 candidates Oregon Subsidies available, unspecified Pennsylvania $1,250 each for 500 candidates Rhode Island $2,000 per $1,000 per candidate candidate (limit implied)
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 137 Salary Bonusb 2004 2005 2006 $4,000 per year $4,000 per year $4,000 per year $6,000 per year $6,000 per year $6,000 per year Career ladder advancement Career ladder advancement $5,000 per year $3,000 per year $3,000 per year $6,000 per year Promotion to master teacher status 5% annual increase 5% annual increase 5% annual increase $4,000 per year $4,600 per year $5,200 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year 12% annual increase 12% annual increase 12% annual increase Stipend, unspecified Stipend, unspecified $2,500 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 per year Continued
138 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-6â Continued Fee Assistancea State 2004 2005 2006 South Carolina $1,150 per $1,150 per $1,250 per candidate, plus candidate, plus candidate, plus $1,150 per $1,150 per $1,250 per recipient recipient recipient South Dakota $2,500 per $2,500 per $2,500 per public recipient recipient school recipient Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont $650 each for 30 $850 each for 30 $850 each for 30 candidates candidates candidates Virginia $1,000 each for $1,000 each for $1,000 each for 75 candidates 75 candidates 75 candidates Washington $1,250 each for 500 candidates West Virginia $1,250 per $1,250 per $1,250 per candidate, plus candidate, plus candidate, plus $1,250 per $1,250 per $1,250 per recipient for 200 recipient for 200 recipient for 200 Wisconsin $2,000 per $2,000 per $2,000 per recipient recipient recipient Wyoming $1,000 per $2,000 per candidate; $500 candidate for retakes NOTE: All incentives and the conditions for receiving them may vary from year to year due to changes in leadership and budgeting. â aFee assistance is defined as those funds appropriated by states from their own budgets to help candidates meet the costs of pursuing board certification. It excludes funds provided by independent organizations and foundations. From this examination of the effects of statesâ financial incentives on participation rates, we find: Finding 6-3: Greater numbers of teachers opt to pursue board certification in states that offer significant financial incentives, such as salary increases, bonuses, payment of the NBPTS fee, and release time for the assessment activities, than in those that do not. It is likely that such financial incentives serve as a proxy for the stateâs general perspective on board certification. It may be that the states that offer significant incentives also provide other types of supports that not only encourage teachers to apply but also contribute to a general climate
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 139 Salary Bonusb 2004 2005 2006 $7,500 per year $7,500 per year $7,500 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $1,000 per year $3,000 per year $2,000 per year $2,750 per year $2,750 per year $2,750 per year $3,500 per year $3,500 per year $7,000 per year $2,500 per year $2,500 per year $2,500 per year $2,250 per year $2,250 per year $2,250 per year Variable, $1,000 to $3,000 $8,000 â bSalarybonuses are those funds appropriated by states from their own budgets to give teach- ers rewards or benefits for achieving board certification. â cCandidate = a teacher who attempts to earn board certification. â dRecipient = a teacher who earns board certification. SOURCE: NBPTS. of encouragement for the board standards and approach, but there are no systematically collected data that permit investigation of this possibil- ity. There are studies, however, that have probed teachersâ reasons for participating in the program. These studies shed some light on the role of financial incentives versus other factors that contribute to teachersâ deci- sion making. Studies of Teachersâ Decisions to Participate A number of researchers have explored teachersâ thinking about their reasons for pursuing board certification, and we found seven studies that provide evidence relevant for our evaluation. Summaries of the studies
140 TABLE 6-7â Relationship Between State Financial Incentives and National Board Participation Average Participation Rate by Type of Support in 2004-2005a Number of Years in Which Average Financial Incentives Were Participation Provided Between Rate Between Fee Assistance and 1999 and 2003 1999 and 2003a Bonus Bonus Only Fee Assistance Only No Support 4 or 5 years (n = 30)b 0.6% 0.7% 0.6% 0.1% 0.3% (n = 22) (n = 4) (n = 2) (n = 2) 2 or 3 years (n = 7) 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% (n = 3) (n = 1) (n = 1) (n = 2) 1 or 0 years (n = 14) 0.1% â 0.4% 0.0% 0.1% (n = 1) (n = 2) (n = 11) aBecause of data limitations, participation rates are based on the percentage of all teachers in the state, not NBPTS-eligible teachers. bNumber of states.
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 141 Percentage of NBPTS-Eligible Teachers Who Apply 25.0 20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 Incentives as a Percentage of Teacherâs Salary FIGURE 6-1â Percentage of teachers who apply by amount of support provided by the state, 2004-2005. Values on the x-axis are the sum of the amount of test-fee reimbursement provided by the state and the amount of the annual bonus offered to teachers upon certification. The values are expressed as the percentage of the 6-1 average teacher income in the state. Values on the y-axis represent the percent- age of NBPTS-eligible teachers in the state who apply for board certification. The c Â orrelation between the two values is .63. we considered appear in Appendix A, and an overview is presented in Table 6-9. These studies use a combination of surveys, focus groups, and interviews to investigate what teachers say about their reasons for pursuing or not pursuing board certification. Five studies examined reasons why teachers decide to pursue board certification. Two relied on small, single-state samples (Indiana Profes- sional Standards Board, 2002; Wayne et al., 2004) and provide limited evi- dence. Three studies had relatively large samplesâBelden (2002); ÂKoppich, H Â umphrey, and Hough (2006); Sykes et al. (2006)âand we think their findings are the most generalizable. Most of the respondents in Belden (2002) said that they pursued certification because it was a personal chal- lenge (84 percent) and provided an opportunity to strengthen their teaching (79 percent). Between 54 and 59 percent reported that they pursued certifi- cation because of the stateâs monetary compensations. The opportunity for career advancement was also important to more than half (53 percent), as was the prospect of receiving recognition for teaching skill (50 percent). Sykes and his colleagues surveyed teachers in South Carolina and Ohio. These two states also have somewhat different policies regarding incentives for teachers to pursue board certification. Ohio covers most of the fee for first-time candidates and offers a $1,000 annual salary increase for teachers who earn board certification, and South Carolina will cover the whole fee for successful candidates and provides them with a $7,500 annual salary
142 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-8â Financial Incentives in Relation to Average Teacher Salary and National Board Participation Rates Financial Incentivesa Average Teacher State Fee Support Bonus Salaryb Alabama $2,500 $5,000 $38,863 Alaskac Â Â $52,424 Arizona Â Â $42,905 Arkansas $2,500 $3,000 $40,495 California Â $5,000 $57,876 Colorado Â Â $44,161 Connecticut Â Â $58,688 Delaware Â $6,104 $50,869 District of Columbia $1,000 $5,000 $58,456 Florida $2,250 $4,108 $41,081 Georgia $2,500 $4,652 $46,526 Hawaii $2,500 $5,000 $44,273 Idaho Â $2,000 $42,122 Illinois $2,000 $3,000 $55,629 Indiana Â Â $46,851 Iowa $2,500 $2,500 $40,347 Kansas $2,500 $1,000 $39,190 Kentucky $1,875 $2,000 $41,002 Louisiana $2,000 $5,000 $38,880 Maine Â Â $40,940 Maryland $1,650 $4,000 $52,331 Massachusetts Â Â $54,596 Michigan $2,500 Â $55,693 Minnesota Â Â $46,906 Mississippi $2,500 $6,000 $36,590 Missouri $1,875 $5,000 $38,971 Montana Â $3,000 $38,485 Nebraska Â (Career ladder step)Â $39,456
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 143 Percentage of Eligible Teachers in Incentives as a Percentage of Salary the Stated Bonus Fee and Bonus Applicants Achievers 12.9 19.3 3.2 2.2 1.5 1.0 1.1 0.7 7.4 13.6 3.0 1.7 8.6 8.6 2.0 1.3 0.9 0.6 0.4 0.3 12.0 12.0 6.3 4.4 8.6 10.3 1.5 0.4 10.0 15.5 10.4 6.3 10.0 15.4 3.9 2.5 11.3 16.9 1.6 0.9 4.7 4.7 2.9 2.3 5.4 9.0 2.5 1.4 0.5 0.2 6.2 12.4 1.7 1.3 2.6 8.9 0.9 0.6 4.9 9.5 3.5 2.4 12.9 18.0 3.6 1.9 0.7 0.5 7.6 10.8 2.6 1.5 0.8 0.5 4.5 0.5 0.2 0.7 0.5 16.4 23.2 11.3 8.0 12.8 17.6 0.8 0.5 7.8 7.8 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.2 Continued
144 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-8â Continued Financial Incentivesa Average Teacher State Fee Support Bonus Salaryb Nevada $2,000 $2,170 $43,394 New Hampshire $1,000 Â $43,941 New Jersey $2,500 Â $56,600 New Mexico Â $4,000 $39,328 New York $2,500 $3,333 $56,200 North Carolina $2,500 $5,198 $43,313 North Dakota $1,250 (stipend) $36,449 Ohio $2,000 $1,000 $48,692 Oklahoma $2,500 $5,000 $37,141 Oregon Â Â $50,790 Pennsylvania Â Â $52,700 Rhode Island Â Â $53,473 South Carolina $2,300 $7,500 $42,207 South Dakota $2,500 $2,000 $34,040 Tennessee Â Â $41,527 Texas Â Â $41,009 Utah Â Â $39,965 Vermont $650 Â $44,535 Virginia $1,000 $5,000 $44,763 Washington Â $3,500 $45,712 West Virginia $2,000 $2,500 $43,466 Wisconsin $2,500 $2,500 $38,360 Wyoming Â Â $40,392 aIncentives are for the 2004-2005 school year. bAverage salary for the 2004-2005 school year. SOURCE: National Education Association, Estimates of School Statistics, 1969-1970 through 2004-2005. cA blank indicates that no financial incentive was offered. dBased on number of public and private school teachers in the state in 2003-2004.
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 145 Percentage of Eligible Teachers in Incentives as a Percentage of Salary the Stated Bonus Fee and Bonus Applicants Achievers 5.0 9.6 2.3 1.5 2.3 0.2 0.1 4.4 0.3 0.1 10.2 10.2 2.6 1.2 5.9 10.4 0.5 0.3 12.0 17.8 21.1 13.4 (not specified) 3.4+ 0.6 0.3 2.1 6.2 3.1 1.9 13.5 20.2 5.4 3.6 1.3 0.8 0.4 0.2 2.9 1.9 17.8 23.2 16.3 11.3 5.9 13.2 0.7 0.5 0.7 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.9 0.5 1.5 1.3 0.9 11.2 13.4 2.2 1.4 7.7 7.7 2.9 2.1 6.5 13.0 2.0 1.3 5.8 10.4 0.8 0.5 2.5 1.1
146 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-9 Studies Examining Teachersâ Reasons for National Board Participation Sampling Study Population Studied State(s) Method Barfield and NBCTs asked why MT Sent to all NBCTs McEnany (2004) teachers do not in the state participate Belden (2002) NBCTs CA Sent to all NBCTs in the state Indiana NBCTs IN Sent to all NBCTs Professional in the state Standards board (2002) Koppich, NBCTs CA, FL, MS, Stratified random Humphrey, and NC, OH, SC sample Hough (2006) Moore (2002) Nonparticipants asked TN â 2 counties Cluster sampling why teachers do not participate
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 147 Issues Affecting Sample Size, Validity of the Response Rate Methods Findings Findings 31; responses from Mail survey - Time commitment and Small sample. In 22 (71%) cost appropriate sample: - Lack of administrator NBCTs were asked to support speculate about their - Fear of not being peersâ reasons for not successful participating - Harassment of teachers who have become certified 785; responses Mail - Personal challenge All survey questions from 519 (68%) survey, - Opportunity to were worded positively focus strengthen teaching groups - Monetary compensation - Career advancement and recognition 71; responses from Mail - Improve effectiveness Small sample 32 (48%) survey, - Intrinsic motivation to focus group advance - External validation of their teaching 1,136; responses Mail survey - Improve student No concerns from 654 (75%) learning - Financial compensation - Increase the credibility of oneâs teaching - Career advancement - Influence change at the school 700; responses Survey - Negative opinion of No NBCTs in the from 448 (64%) the program, but also counties studied; poorly informed unclear how much about it respondents knew - Paperwork and time about the NBPTS commitment - Skepticism about the process - Fear of being ostracized by non-NBCTs Continued
148 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING TABLE 6-9 Continued Sampling Study Population Studied State(s) Method Sykes et al. NBCTs OH, SC (2006) Wayne et al. NBCTs, unsuccessful CA, FL, MD Unclear (2004) applicants, and nonparticipants increase. This survey was part of a much more comprehensive study of the impacts of board certification; we highlight here only the findings relevant for this aspect of our evaluation. The authors asked survey respondents why they decided to pursue certification. Factors given the strongest ratings were financial compensation, the opportunity for professional development, and the opportunity to serve in leadership roles. The rankings of these factors were slightly different in the two statesâteachers in South Carolina, the state with the more generous incentives, ranked financial compensation much higher than did Ohio teachers. The opportunity for professional de- velopment was given similar weight by teachers in both states. Koppich et al. (2006) surveyed teachers in six statesâCalifornia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolinaâwhich together, at the time, accounted for 65 percent of the board-certified teach- ers in the country. As with Sykes et al., the survey delved into a number of issues besides reasons for participating in the NBPTS, and we highlight here only the relevant findings. Koppich and her colleagues found that the top three motives for pursuing board certification were to improve student learning (95 percent), to achieve the potential for increased financial com- pensation (90 percent), and to obtain external validation for the quality of oneâs teaching (88 percent). Slightly fewer than half also reported that they pursued board certification because of the possibility of advancing their careers without leaving teaching (45 percent) and the opportunity to influ- ence changes at their schools (44 percent). The authors report that focus
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 149 Issues Affecting Sample Size, Validity of the Response Rate Methods Findings Findings 1,500; responses Survey - Financial compensation No concerns from 1,153 (77%); - Opportunity 566 from SC and for professional 587 from OH development - Opportunity to serve in leadership roles 86; 40 NBCTs, Phone - Validate teaching Small sample, unclear 32 unsuccessful interviews capabilities how obtained; sample applicants, 14 - Increase professional too small to examine nonparticipants status responses by group - Financial incentives important but not the primary motive group discussions and interviews corroborated these findings, with most board-certified teachers saying that they viewed the credential as evidence of personal achievement and that they decided to pursue it out of a desire to prove that they are accomplished practitioners. Together, the findings from these three studies suggest that financial incentives are important factors in teachersâ decisions to pursue board certification, but not the sole factor. Generally, it seems that the three principal motivators are financial incentives, the desire to improve their effectiveness, and the desire to obtain external validation and recognition of their capabilities. These findings are similar to those reported in the two smaller scale surveys (Indiana Professional Standards Board, 2002; Wayne et al., 2004). In contrast, only two studies have examined reasons why teachers choose not to pursue board certification (Barfield and McEnany, 2004; Moore, 2002). Barfield and McEnany surveyed board-certified teachers in Montana about the reasons other teachers do not participate. The sample was fewer than 25 teachers, who were asked to speculate about their non- board-certified colleaguesâ motivations, so the results must be viewed with caution. Moore (2002) surveyed over 400 teachers who had the minimum qualifications to pursue board certification but who had not done so. However, all the teachers surveyed worked in two counties in Tennessee, neither of which had any board-certified teachers; thus, there is no way to know whether the respondents actually understood what board certification
150 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING involves. Despite these methodological problems, the two studies report similar findings. In both, the respondents commented on the extent of work involved and the time commitment, saying that these factors, along with the expense, were obstacles to participation. The respondents also voiced some skepticism about the benefits of board certification, commenting that teach- ers who earned the credential were âharassedâ (Barfield and McEnany) or âostracizedâ (Moore) by other teachers. None of the seven studies addressed the issue of minority participation in the NBPTS program. Although the participation rates for racial/eth- nic minority teachers generally reflect their relative representation among NBPTS-eligible teachers (i.e., racial/ethnic minorities represent about 15 percent of NBPTS-eligible teachers and 15 percent of NBPTS applicants), their absolute numbers are quite small. Over the 13-year time span rep- resented in Table 6-4 (between 1993-2004 and 2005-2006), only roughly 13,000 minority teachers participated in the program. Furthermore, while racial/ethnic minority teachers comprise about 15 percent of the NBPTS- eligible applicant pool, fewer than 10 percent of the group achieved board certification, which amounts to roughly 5,500 teachers. To date, the only study that has explored the issue of minority teacher participation was a small-scale study by Bond (1998a), which was discussed in Chapter 5. Bondâs focus group discussions with 25 African American teachers revealed that they were reluctant to pursue board certification out of fear of per- forming poorly and concern about the academic abilities of their students (which would be highlighted on the videotapes). They also reported that they were not kept informed regarding professional opportunities, such as board certification. National board Efforts to Encourage Participation We queried the NBPTS about its efforts to encourage teachers to pursue board certification. The board staff includes 10 regional outreach directors who are responsible for developing strategies to expand awareness of the board in their assigned geographic regions, encouraging policy makers to provide fee support and/or incentives and promoting NBPTS products and services. The boardâs primary efforts focus on media coverage of board-certified teachers and the boardâs position on issues relating to board certification and teacher quality. They feature teachersâ stories in education- related publications and in newspapers and also advertise in organizational publications (e.g., the American Federation of Teachers, the National Edu- cation Association, the Educational Testing Service, the National Associa- tion of Black School Educators). The board uses its national conference for board-certified teachers to raise awareness as well. When the conference occurs in Washington, DC, one day is designated Hill Day, and participants
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 151 go to Capitol Hill to meet with various U.S. representatives. The board also recently implemented its Take One program, which allows teachers to get a taste of the certification process by completing and submitting a single portfolio entry. The entry is scored and eligible teachers can bank the score for credit if they later decide to complete the full certification process within a designated time period. The board also has efforts under way to recruit minority candidates, which were described in Chapter 4. We are not aware of any efforts the board has made to collect informa- tion from state policy makers or teachers regarding their awareness of the NBPTS, their opinion of its value, or its relevance to their needs. If it has not been conducted, such market research could be of considerable value to board staff. Conclusions and RecommendationS Our examination of participation in the certification program reveals several clear points. First, application rates are low but steadily increasing. To date, approximately 3 percent of the 3.1 million NBPTS-eligible teachers in this country have attempted to become board certified, and approximately 2 percent of the nationâs eligible teachers have earned board certification. Second, participation in the program is quite variable across the country. In four states, participation rates are more than triple the national rate (Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), but in many others, the participation rate is equal to, or lower than, the national rate. There are five school districts that have seen fairly high participation, with over 460 board-certified teachers in each, but in 64 percent of the school districts in the country, there were no applicants, and in 70 percent of the districts there were no teachers who earned board certification. The link between the incentives offered by states and participation in the program appears to be quite strong, suggesting that teacher partici- pation is related to the degree to which states and districts encourage it. However, teachers report that while financial incentives are a consideration in their decision making, they also pursue board certification for personal reasons, primarily for the professional accomplishment and the desire to validate their teaching skills. Little is known about the opinions of teachers who have not chosen to participate or who participated and were unsuc- cessful. Information about the opinions of these latter two groups would be useful in understanding the likely future participation of teachers in board certification. Furthermore, the absolute numbers of racial/ethnic minority teacher participants are low, but little is known about the reasons why they do not pursue board certification. Research on this issue would be useful to help inform recruitment efforts. There are other important questions about participation that cannot
152 ASSESSING ACCOMPLISHED TEACHING be answered with the existing data. Most important, no existing data sets make it possible to determine exactly where board-certified teachers work. We can identify where teachers were employed at the time of application, but we do not know what teachers do after becoming board certifiedâeven whether they stay in their original school or transfer elsewhere. Thus, we cannot evaluate the distribution of board-certified teachers across the coun- try. This is a topic we return to in Chapter 9, where we address teachersâ career paths. From the committeeâs examination of participation patterns, it is not clear whether the board should be judged successful at creating a significant cadre of advanced certified teachers, and we spent considerable time debat- ing what, if any, conclusions to draw and recommendations to make. On one hand, the founders of the NBPTS never expected that all teachers in the country would become board certified. They intended the credential to create an upper echelon in the profession, with only the most accomplished teachers attaining this level. If the upper echelon was interpreted to mean the top 10 percent of teachers, one might expect that eventually roughly 400,000 teachers would become board certified. If one were to assume that all of the current total of 63,800 board-certified teachers were still teach- ing, the NBPTS would be about one-sixth of the way toward achieving this goal. On the other hand, the founders did expect that there would be an ever- increasing number of these accomplished teachers, in sufficient supply that administrators could call on them to perform in leadership roles, and that this cadre would influence the professional development of other teachers. In many places, the current numbers of board-certified teachers and annual applicant and success rates are not sufficient to realize these objectives. However, in a few districts, the numbers are approaching levels likely to be sufficient for the program to have the intended effects. Judgments about the program should be based on a complete examina- tion of its benefits and costs. The other aspects of our evaluation framework all bear on this kind of judgment, so we reserve our overarching conclusions for the final chapter of this report. At this point we draw two conclusions about participation, based on the information that we have reviewed: Conclusion 6-1: Although the number of teachers who have obtained certi- fication is small relative to the population of eligible U.S. teachers, the total has grown since the program began and is now over 63,800. Participation varies significantly by state and district, however; in a few districts, partici- pation rates are approaching levels likely to be sufficient for the program to have the intended effects.
TEACHER PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM 153 Conclusion 6-2: States that offer financial incentives for attempting and achieving board certification are likely to have more teachers that apply and succeed in the program. In addition, we note that the existing data about the teachers who have gone through the board-certification process are scant. For example, it is not currently possible to determine what teachers have done after completing the process, what happened to teachers who did not pass the assessment, how many board-certified teachers are currently employed, or where board-certified teachers currently work. We encourage the NBPTS to establish data collection systems that allow for investigation of these issues. Thus we recommend: Recommendation 6-1: The NBPTS should implement and maintain a da- tabase of information about applicants and their career paths. This effort should include routine, annual data collection as well as specially designed studies. The data collected should provide information about what teachers have done after going through the certification process, what has happened to teachers who did not pass the assessment, how many board-certified teachers are currently employed, where board-certified teachers currently work, and what jobs they do.