A new way to measure the effectiveness of novice teachers has its roots in the portfolio assessments required by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, according to Marcy Singer-Gabella, a professor at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. The model, known as edTPA, has been accepted by teacher-educators in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Singer-Gabella writes that the model provides a common means for assessment and "examines and supports candidates' abilities to do what teaching takes -- with real learners, in real time."
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the "best hope for building and sustaining a true teaching profession," said John Wilson, head of the National Education Association. In this blog, he promotes two NBPTS partnerships, which he calls "game changers" for teacher quality. They include a catalog of video resources of classroom teachers, as well as critiques of lessons. In an Alabama school district, all teachers at some struggling schools applied for National Board Certification and reported improved student achievement.
National Board Certified Teacher Laurie Wasserman in this article offers suggestions on differentiating instruction to meet the needs of diverse groups of learners in a classroom. She advises teachers to collaborate with colleagues to ensure all educators are familiar with students' education plans and modifications. Maintaining consistency across classes, developing a student-centered mindset and using multiple types of assessments are among her other suggestions.
Teachers who mentor student-teachers also benefit from the pairing, says National Board Certified Teacher Dan Brown. On his first day as a mentor, Brown says, he already is reflecting more on his work and processes. As the student-teacher takes on more responsibility, Brown writes, he expects to "gain a whole new perspective on what works with my students, with ample opportunities to talk it all through."
National Board Certified Teacher Patrick Ledesma, who is chair of his middle school's special-education department, was encouraged by Education Secretary Arne Duncan's written response to questions from a special-education group. Duncan mentioned using multiple measures for assessing teacher performance, particularly for those who work with students who have special needs. Ledesma suggests that the certification process for NBCTs could provide helpful data and serve as a model for the creation of such a system.