Credentialing Madness: NBPTS Submarines And ABCTE Surfaces (But Will Their Torpedo Fire?)

The word in teacher quality circles is that value-added guru Bill Sanders* completed his big evaluation of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified teachers but that the National Board is sitting on the results…apparently they may not be to their liking…Sanders isn’t talking…But though NBPTS is within their rights to not publish something, is it really the right thing to do since they held up the then-forthcoming Sanders work as a reason for reporters to dismiss the smaller Stone study criticizing NBPTS? It also makes life hard for people who (a) defended the board for its willingness to have an independent review by a range of experts and (b) stood up for the board after the Goldhaber research (pdf)…

Meanwhile, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence is basically re-launching with its new board and staff (including new president David Saba and former Clintonite and CCSSO staffer Trish Brennan both good catches). Look for more from ABCTE in the next year. They’re having a big event at the Press Club on May 11 to release a new study of ABCTE teachers and re-brand the organization. Problem is, there are not that many ABCTE teachers to study. That’s not the fault of ABCTE but rather the inevitable outcome of all the political resistance they face. Nonetheless, the study is pretty small n stuff as a result and let’s hope that ABCTE doesn’t replicate the early mistake made by NBPTS of over-selling thin research. That’s a ploy that comes back to haunt you…On the issue more generally, there is a strong case to be made for a rigorous and portable candidate-centered credential. ABCTE has worked hard to develop its tests**, which are quite good, and it’s not as though the existing system of teacher preparation either systematically adds-value or screens out low-performers. In fact it’s not an overstatement to say it’s something of a disaster that screams for reform. In terms of a candidate centered approach, ABCTE is the best game in town for that but they should not claim to be holding aces if they’re not.

*This originally said Ted Sanders not Bill Sanders. Ted is the former head of ECS, not the value-added guru. I’m sorry for any confusion this might have caused and particularly any pain to Ted’s family when they heard him described as a value-added guru.

**Disc–the Eduwife has consulted for them on test development.

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