September 25, 2002
Dear Colleagues and Friends:
Many states and local communities have given both special recognition
and rewards to teachers holding certificates granted by the National
Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). They have chosen
to take such actions despite the fact that we have yet to determine
whether the skills and knowledge required of such teachers has
any significant effect on student achievement. The assumption
from the beginning has been that knowledge of excellent teaching
practice demonstrated by individuals under rigorous standards
cannot but help student learning. Nevertheless, many of us have
been patiently waiting for decisive research evidence indicating
significant gains in student learning attributable to NBPTS certification.
A short time ago, a research project conducted at East Tennessee
University received a good deal of attention because its reported
results were sharply critical of the relative effectiveness of
Tennessee teachers receiving financial awards in recognition of
their certification by NBPTS.
Given the potential significance of the study to teachers, policy
makers and lay citizens, we immediately took action to support
an independent review of the study and its findings by a highly
qualified national panel of experts. The intent was to have ECS
support the panel's independent inquiry and share its subsequent
report with all of you.
The panel, led by Susan Fuhrman, dean of the University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education, had in its membership Dominic Brewer,
director of education at the Rand; Robert Linn, professor of education
at the University of Colorado at Boulder and co-director of the
National Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student
Testing; and Ana Maria Villegas, professor of curriculum and teaching
at Montclair State University.
Click on the "Panel Report"
link to the left to read the final report, summarized by the panel
chairman. You will note that the panel concluded that the Tennessee
study is scientifically inadequate and its conclusions cannot
be considered valid. Therefore, no determination, pro or con,
regarding the effectiveness of NBPTS certified teachers can be
based on the research in question. There is also a link to Professor
Stone's research and to a statement