What Teachers Should Know and Be Able To Do
Developed and revised by practicing educators based on research and practitioner expertise, the National Board Five Core Propositions and Standards describe what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do to have a positive impact on student learning. National Board Certification identifies teachers who meet those standards through a performance-based, peer-reviewed series of assessment components.
Five Core Propositions
First published in 1989 and updated in 2016, What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do articulates the National Board’s Five Core Propositions for teaching. The Five Core Propositions — comparable to medicine’s Hippocratic Oath — set forth the profession’s vision for accomplished teaching.
Together, the propositions form the basis of all National Board Standards and the foundation for National Board Certification.
[The Five Core Propositions] have become central to everything that I do in my classroom and beyond. I love how intrinsically linked they are; each one linked to the other four. You can’t have one without the other, so to speak. Teachers cannot be committed to students and their learning without being members of learning communities.
Courtney Cochran, NBCT
National Board Standards
Based on the Five Core Propositions, National Board Standards define what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do in 25 certificate areas. They represent 16 different subject areas and four developmental levels and are applicable to most teachers in U.S. public schools.
Created by Teachers, for Teachers
National Board Standards are developed by committees of outstanding educators who are broadly representative of accomplished professionals in their field. The committees are governed by the Board of Directors and the Certification Council, the majority of whom are National Board Certified Teachers.
While the majority of each committee is made up of classroom teachers, other members may include experts in child development, teacher education and relevant disciplines.
The committee provides recommendations to the National Board and advises those involved in developing the corresponding assessment.
Many school systems use the Five Core Propositions and National Board Standards as the basis for ongoing teacher and school counselor professional development, and many colleges and universities incorporate them into their teacher preparation programs.
The Development Process
To create and revise each of the Standards for the 25 certificate areas:
National Board Certification Council appoints a standards committee from applications received during an open call for committee members.
The committee develops standards that:
- Reflect the Five Core Propositions;
- Identify specific knowledge, skills and attitudes that support accomplished practice, while emphasizing the holistic nature of teaching;
- Illustrate how a teacher’s professional judgment is reflected in action; and
- Describe how the standards come to life in different settings.
Standards undergo repeated drafts until they are approved for public comment review.
A draft of the standards is distributed widely to the education community for public comment after which the committee meets again to review and revise the document.
The Architecture of Accomplished Teaching illustrates how the use of the Five Core Propositions and the standards result in student learning. As depicted in the illustration one strand represents teaching practice as grounded in the Five Core Propositions; the other strand represents the teacher’s impact on students and their learning.
View National Board Standards
Choose a PDF below to download the appropriate National Board Standards document.
Standards in Action
ATLAS provides authentic cases of National Board Certified Teachers putting the Standards into practice across all content areas and grade levels.
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