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Changes to National Boards Make Certification More Flexible for Teachers
posted by: Ruthie | September 10, 2013, 04:36 PM   

With tight budgets and changing requirements, teachers are always excited to hear about ways to save money on professional development and certifications. Recently, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) announced a $600 decrease in the price of certification. The change is designed to save teachers money and make certification easier to obtain.

In addition to the $600 decrease, NBPTS will also reduce the application fee for teachers– a savings largely achieved through advancements in electronic submission of candidates’ portfolios. Teachers will also be permitted to complete the process using a pay-as-you-go approach.

Due partly to a 3.7 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the price drop accompanies further modifications. Teachers will be given greater flexibility in completing required assessments and the program will begin to integrate new information into the certification process, including student surveys and measures of students’ academic progress.

New policies focusing on new professional development requirements and the economic recession, as well as sequestration and schools’ unwillingness to subsidize board fees, have contributed to a decline in the program. This new direction will be more flexible and reflect the ever-changing teaching profession.

“We’ve just learned a lot about best practices in teaching and want to make sure our assessments mirror that,” said
Andy Coons, the chief operating officer of the NBPTS.

Instead of the current system of 10 components, the new system will only have 4 categories – a teacher’s content knowledge; use of data to meet students’ needs and set goals for them; classroom pedagogy, based on a video analysis; and classroom effectiveness.

The new system is already receiving praise among teachers. “I always wished I could have broken it up even more,” Washington State teacher Maren Johnson wrote on
her blog. “It was quite an uneven split between one [portfolio] entry one year and three entries plus the assessment center the second year!”

Mr. Coons emphasized that the new certification system is, “an opportunity for practitioners to weigh in on them, and not have them decided by people who don’t know teaching or teachers.”

Do the changes to national board certification make you more likely to obtain certification?

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