This updates and replaces Fact Sheet 12-02 (February 2012).
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) was established in 1987 in response to a central recommendation of the Carnegie Corporation's report, A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century. The Board was created as an independent, non-governmental body focused on improving student learning by setting clear, high, and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.
National Board Certification (NBC), developed for teachers by teachers, represents professional acknowledgement of "accomplished" teaching practice meeting the highest standards. Teachers actively engaged in the profession and teacher committees develop standards and performance-based assessments for certifying "accomplished practice." A cadre of specially trained teachers rates the performance assessments.
NBPTS requires that candidates be experienced teachers (three years minimum) voluntarily seeking recognition for meeting rigorous standards in one of twenty-five areas defined by subject and students' developmental level (see complete Fact Sheet). A National Board certificate is valid for ten years and is renewable. Additionally, the National Board standards can serve as a solid base for, or a component of professional development, resulting in improvements in teaching and learning.
National Board Certification in New York State
In January 2013, NBPTS announced the names of 157 New York state (NYS) teachers who recently achieved National Board Certification (NBC). To date, 1,466 teachers in our state have achieved National Board Certification. The Board also reports that since 1987, 102,237 teachers have achieved NBC in the United States. NYSUT's Vice President, Maria Neira, and Regent Roger Tilles are both board members of the NBPTS.
The NBPTS Assessment Requirements
A candidate must successfully complete two parts of an assessment process designed to examine teaching competencies, skills, and knowledge in relation to NBPTS standards for a particular subject area for students of specified ages.
- The portfolio consists of four entries that document teaching practice and student work which demonstrate evidence of the NBPTS standards. Candidates demonstrate their ability to think descriptively, analytically, and reflectively about their practice. Two videotapes are required.
- The assessment center exercises take place in a computer-based testing center and require on-demand knowledge of content knowledge, child development and the NBPTS standards. Candidates respond to six 30 minutes exercises.
- Take One! Is separate and distinct a professional development offering from NBPTS that provides an introduction to the larger Certification process. Teachers prepare and submit one pre-selected video portfolio entry from one of the certificate areas. A teacher can later transfer the score for consideration toward NBC if s/he pursues National Board candidacy within two years. There are no eligibility requirements for Take One!
- NBPTS fees total $2,565, including a non-refundable processing charge of $65 and a $500 initial fee.
- Advanced candidates may need to retake exercises and bank their score for accomplished entries if they do not achieve certification on the first attempt. Each retake exercise currently costs $350.
NYS Funding Sources and Supports to Assist Candidates
- With NYSUT's strong support, the Legislature and Governor enacted Section 3004-2 of Education Law, establishing the NYS Albert Shanker Grant Program and the NYS Candidate Fee Subsidy Program. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, the Shanker Grant will provide eligible teachers up to $2,000 to defray costs associated with an application for NBC. In addition, upon completion of all NBC activities, the State will reimburse the $500 initial fee paid by the candidate. The Albert Shanker Grant may be awarded only once to a given candidate. Please note that funding for the Shanker Grant is limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. More information and applications are available at hwww.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/resteachers/albertshanker.html
- Public school teachers not holding tenure and teachers in non-public schools (including charter schools) are not eligible for the Albert Shanker Grant.
- NYSUT continues to advocate for state funding to maintain and expand availability for the Albert Shanker Program.
- The National Board Council of New York is an affiliated network of NBPTS. Its mission is to provide awareness and establish support structures for teachers and school districts to pursue the National Board Certification process.
- NYSUT's Education and Learning Trust and NYS Teacher Centers have established National Board support groups. Pursuing the rigorous National Board Certification with supportive colleagues maximizes the experience for teachers.
State Licensing/Certification and National Board Certification
National Board Certification represents the achievement of an additional professional voluntary credential for accomplished practice. By contrast, state licensure or certification represents the achievement of entry-level standards permitting a teacher to practice. In NYS, Commissioner's Regulations establish entry level and certificate maintenance requirements for the teaching profession.
Reasons Teachers Pursue National Board Certification
Candidates for NBC often say they were motivated by the challenges presented by the certification process and that they wanted to compare their work to high professional standards developed by their peers across the nation. Attaining NBC requires significant commitments of time and effort, often 200-400 hours outside the classroom, but many teachers say that it was worth the work to achieve the professional and personal rewards. Candidates not attaining certification on the first attempt can "bank" successful component scores and try again as advanced candidates. Nearly all candidates cite the merits of rigorous and reflective professional development focused on their own practice in relation to student work whether they achieve the NBC in year one, year two or year three.
Experienced teachers attaining certification observe that their practice has been validated and that they are recognized for their achievements in their communities and schools. Teachers also note changes in their professional lives: greater collaboration with their colleagues, interest and respect shown by parents and the enthusiasm their students demonstrate when they take part in the process.
Less-senior teachers indicate that NBC offers opportunities for them to become recognized as leaders in their profession without leaving the classroom for other jobs in education. Remaining a teacher over the course of a career becomes more attractive as the process renews their deep commitment to the profession and their students.
Additionally, a growing number of states and school districts see National Board activity as a sound educational investment and offer salary supplements, credits toward license renewal, license reciprocity, and new roles in schools to teachers who have achieved NBC or participated in the process.
National Board Certification is issued for a period of ten years. A National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) must complete the National Board Profile of Professional Growth prior to the expiration date of his or her certificate and can only renew certification in the original certificate area. The NBCT may formally begin work on the Profile of Professional Growth as early as year 8 of his or her certification period, pending completion of development and subsequent availability of the Profile of Professional Growth renewal instrument. The fee for the renewal of NBC is currently $1,250. Renewal target dates and other information are available at www.nbpts.org/renewal.
- The NYS Teachers of Tomorrow (TOT) legislation includes the NYS Master Teacher Program. Districts receiving TOT funds may choose to utilize some of these funds to provide a stipend for a NBCT hired to teach in a high-needs school. Additional information is available from SED at: www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/resteachers/documents/2012-13totrfp.pdf.
- The NYS Regulations recognize NBC in lieu of a comparable NYS teaching certificate in most certificate title areas, except that:
- In the areas of Languages Other Than English (LOTE), other than Spanish or French, the sciences, and special education, candidates will have all their academic transcripts reviewed and will be required to pass an appropriate CST. A teacher certified in another state and holding National Board Certification in a certificate title area other than those named above is exempt from the NYS Teacher Certification examinations.
- A teacher in NYS holding a valid NBC is deemed to have satisfied the requirement to complete 175 hours of professional development during the five-year professional development period within which NBC was attained in order to maintain her/his certificate.
Thanks to the efforts of local leaders in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, an ever-increasing number of school districts in NYS provide support and other financial incentives to teachers participating in the NBC process and/or achieving the certification. These range from one-time stipends to annual stipends over and above the regular salary for the ten-year life of the certificate. One form of incentive increases an NBCT's salary by one step on the negotiated salary scale. Some provisions require professional services from the NBCT such as coaching or mentoring before the incentive is earned.