National Board certification now less expensive, easier to obtain
- The cost of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification has been cut from $2,500 to $1,950, and the time period for achieving certification has been increased from one year to three, encourage nearly twice as many teachers to pursue certification compared to four years ago, Edutopia reports.
- A Washington State study released in 2015 revealed that board-certified teachers increased student learning up to one-and-a-half additional months each year, with a study released in Los Angeles in 2012 revealed similar results.
- Teachers seem to have better results at completing National Board certification if they pursue the effort collaboratively with other teachers in the area and become involved in communities of board certification candidates statewide.
Research shows that National Board certification does have some impact on student performance. As a form of professional development, it offers a tangible certification that can improve the status of a school district and, in some cases, affect performance measures. Certification often also allows teachers to earn more income, a key factor in teacher hiring and retention.
The new efforts to lower the cost of National Board certification and to extend the length of time for completion should encourage more teachers to pursue this option. States can help, as many do, by offering to cover the cost of certification, in whole or in part, once it is obtained. They can also help by offering, or restoring, increased salaries to teachers who complete this intensive process. School districts can contribute by encouraging teachers to complete the process as a group, rather than alone, as they are more likely to succeed with a support plan.
However, there is a downside. Some states are finding that the National Board certification does not necessarily produce the promised results. North Carolina, which has the most number of National Board certified teachers, and Georgia have both indicated that they feel the program alone may not be worth the additional dollars involved. Many states now feel that pay increases should be tied to student outcomes rather than simple certification. Also, board-certified teachers are more likely to gravitate toward more affluent, high-performing schools rather than the schools where they are most needed.