The Effectiveness of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification Program

This brief presents a review of recent research on the relationship between NBPTS certification and both teacher outcomes (e.g., instructional knowledge, self-efficacy) and student achievement.

  • NBPTS certification provides an extensive process for identifying effective teachers.
  • Studies in this review found that teachers with an NBPTS certificate show higher levels of self-efficacy, participation in leadership roles, and pedagogical knowledge than do teachers without certification.
  • Most studies have demonstrated that teachers holding an NBPTS certificate are more effective than comparable teachers without certification in promoting student achievement in math and reading, though the size of the effect is relatively small.
  • One study indicated that the NBPTS program is less cost-effective than other interventions in promoting student achievement. However, cost-effectiveness analyses of NBPTS have not yet accounted for the potential effects of certification on teacher outcomes (e.g., instructional knowledge, self-efficacy, retention).
  • Overall, this review provides support for policies that expand opportunities for NBPTS certification.

The Impact of Graduate Education on Teacher Effectiveness: Does a Master’s Degree Matter?

The purpose of this brief is to examine the prevalence of graduate degrees among teachers in the United States and to summarize research on the relationship between teacher educational attainment and student achievement.

  • Among early childhood, primary, middle, and junior high school teachers, those with a master’s degree do not have a larger effect on student reading achievement, relative to teachers with only a bachelor’s degree. The effect on student math achievement is unclear.
  • The effect of master’s degree attainment on student reading and math achievement during high school remains unclear. One study suggests that master’s degree attainment will only yield a positive effect on student math achievement if the teacher majors in math during the master’s degree program. Regarding science achievement, one study demonstrated that scores were higher among students whose teachers had a master’s degree, relative to students whose teachers only had a bachelor’s degree.
  • Overall, past research depicts a complex, poorly understood relationship between teacher educational attainment and student outcomes that may vary by such factors as level of schooling, academic subject, and major-course congruence. Studies reporting non-significant or negative effects were most common in the context of reading achievement in K-8 schools. Additional research is needed to better inform state policy on teacher licensure requirements.


State Higher Education Financing Models

This brief addresses four areas in which state policy makers can learn from practices in other states and from principles of sound public policy design to strengthen their higher education financing systems. The year-to-year stability of funding, the balance between appropriations for institutions and student aid, the growing interest in tuition-free community colleges, and the allocation of funds across public colleges and universities are all areas in which states take a variety of approaches, with quite different implications for educational opportunity.

Annual Report to the Member States 2015-2016

November 14-15, 2016, Commission Meeting: St. Louis, MO

Video of MHEC's 25th Anniversary Presentation & Panel Discussion