National Board Certified Teachers andTheir Students' Achievement


  • Leslie G. Vandevoort Arizona State University
  • Audrey Amrein-Beardsley Arizona State University
  • David C. Berliner Arizona State University



Contemporary research on teaching indicates that teachers are powerful contributors to students’ academic achievement, though the set and interrelationships of characteristics that make for high-quality and effective teaching have yet to be satisfactorily determined. Nevertheless, on the basis of the extant research and a vision of exemplary teaching, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards stipulated a definition of a superior teacher. The Board did this without empirical evidence to support their claim that teachers’ who meet the standards set by the Board were superior in promoting academic achievement to those who did not meet those standards. In the 17 years since the founding of the National Board, only a few empirical studies have addressed this important issue. In this study we compare the academic performance of students in the elementary classrooms of 35 National Board Certified teachers and their non-certified peers, in 14 Arizona school districts. Board Certified teachers and their principals provide additional information about these teachers and their schools. Four years of results from the Stanford Achievement Tests in reading, mathematics and language arts, in grades three through six, were analyzed. In the 48 comparisons (four grades, four years of data, three measures of academic performance), using gain scores adjusted for students’ entering ability, the students in the classes of National Board Certified Teachers surpassed students in the classrooms of non-Board certified teachers in almost threequarters of the comparisons. Almost one-third of these differences were statistically significant. In the cases where the students of non-Board certified teachers gained more in an academic year, none of the differences found were statistically significant. Effect size, translated into grade equivalents, informs us that the gains made by students of Board Certified teachers were over one month greater than the gains made by the students of non-Board certified peer teachers. Teachers identified through the assessments of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are, on average, more effective teachers in terms of academic achievement, one of the many outcomes of education for which teachers are responsible. This study does not address whether other, cheaper, or better alternatives to the National Boards exist, as some critics suggest. On the other hand, the results of this study provide support for the policies in many states that honor and provide extra remuneration for National Board Certified Teachers.


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Author Biographies

Leslie G. Vandevoort, Arizona State University

Leslie Green Vandevoort earned a B.A. in Psychology and Education from Muskingum College (Ohio), a M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Arizona and an Ed. D. in Educational Administration from Arizona State University. She has practiced school psychology in the suburban Tucson and Phoenix areas for more than 25 years.

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, Arizona State University

Audrey Amrein Beardsley is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University – West Campus. She received her PhD from Arizona State University – Tempe in 2002 from the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education. Her research interests include education policy, research methods, and educational assessments. Her current research focuses on high-stakes testing policies and their effects on academic achievement, schools, and students from racial minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Specifically, her research focuses on how high-stakes testing policies impact multiple indicators of academic achievement and school quality in the states that have attached severe consequences to student, teacher, school, and district performance on tests. Her teaching interests include research methodology, assessment, and education policy.

David C. Berliner, Arizona State University

David C. Berliner is Regents' Professor of Education at the College of Education of Arizona State University, in Tempe, AZ. He received his Ph.D. in 1968 from Stanford University in educational psychology, and has hled positions at the University of Massachusetts, WestEd, and the University of Arizona. He has served as president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), president of the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA), and as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Berliner is a member of the National Academy of Education. His publications include The Manufactured Crisis, Addison-Wesley, 1995 (with B.J. Biddle) and the Handbook of Educational Psychology, Macmillan, 1996 (Edited with R.C. Calfee). Special awards include the Research into Practice Award and the lifetime achievement award from AERA, the E. L. Thorndike award from APA, and the 2003 Brock international award for educational achievements. His scholarly interests include research on teaching and education policy analysis.




How to Cite

Vandevoort, L. G. ., Amrein-Beardsley, A., & Berliner, D. C. . (2004). National Board Certified Teachers andTheir Students’ Achievement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12, 46.




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