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National Board Certification: Supporting African American Teachers

Author(s): Tyrone Howard, Rae Jeane Williams, and Ann Ifekwunigwe


The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has sought to advance the overall quality of teaching and learning in U.S. schools through a rigorous certification process. Research has shown that the teachers who achieve certification acquire knowledge and skills that are consistent with exemplary teaching practices. Over the past decade, growing concerns about the disproportionate rates of certification among certain groups of teachers have raised equity concerns about the certification process. African American teachers in particular certify at a significantly lower rate than their peers from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

This study sought to identify support structures that could increase the success rates of African American teacher candidates. Using a writing support structure, technological assistance, and intense mentoring with two different cohorts over a two-year period, this study found that the success rate of African American teachers earning certification was close to 50%, approximately four times higher than the national certification rate for African American teachers.

Main Research Questions:

  1. What optimal structures of support can be provided to meet the needs of African American candidates pursuing National Board Certification?
  2. How can these structures of support be replicated to increase the number of African American teachers achieving National Board Certification nationwide?

This item is accessed for free with permission from the NBPTS repository. Please follow the link below.


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