Design and Development of Maintenance of Certification

One of the hallmarks of National Board Certification is that it is and has always been by teachers, for teachers. With regard to Maintenance of Certification (MOC), National Board has collected and reviewed input from multiple stakeholder groups, including NBCTs, to inform the design of the MOC process. Multiple committees of NBCTs were involved throughout the development of MOC Instructions.

Gathering Input

First, a total of five separate surveys and a focus group were conducted with the goals of better understanding:

  • our stakeholders, including recently certified NBCTs;
  • the professional meaningfulness of the Renewal process to those NBCTs who recently renewed; and
  • how Renewal, from assessors’ perspective, could inform the development of MOC.

The input was shared with the National Board’s Certification Council, Technical Advisory Group, Board of Directors, and the expert and advisory groups that were convened next.

Establishing what MOC would measure

From there, we began the design. First, we established the construct for MOC, or the knowledge, skills, and attributes from the Standards and Five Core Propositions that it would measure. A group of NBCTs determined that the construct for Renewal’s Profile of Professional Growth (PPG) was still valid and meaningful. Using Renewal’s PPG as their foundation, they identified MOC key concepts and operational parameters. The construct of MOC will remain, in essence, the same as that of the Renewal PPG.

Establishing and evaluating the MOC framework

Next, the NBCT MOC Design Panels performed critical tasks that led to the development of the recommended MOC framework. The construct, or high-level definition of what is being measured, serves as the MOC’s foundation. From the construct other parts of the assessment framework emerged: the specific attributes of the construct, the requirements to be met and evidence to be evaluated. The design panelists’ content expertise and familiarity with Renewal coupled with analysis of multiple data sources including survey findings, focus groups of renewal assessors, and Technical Advisory Group recommendations were an important piece of making sure the MOC framework represented the needs of various stakeholders.

In October 2018, the gathering of input from content experts and stakeholders continued as an Evaluation Committee reviewed the design panels’ work, identified the assessment framework’s strengths and weaknesses, and discussed potential policy implications of MOC. Overall, the MOC Evaluation Committee strongly supported the work of the National Board in its design process. The committee supported the Board’s decision to implement MOC to focus NBCTs’ efforts on providing enriched evidence of and reflection on more recent and relevant professional growth. The committee felt that the National Board’s MOC design process had been thoroughly researched and implemented with the involvement of appropriate stakeholders. All committee members were pleased with the decision to base MOC on a streamlined renewal process, making MOC less expensive and in line with professional growth that could be expected within a five-year time period. In addition, the Technical Advisory Group members observing the Evaluation Committee felt the high degree of agreement among Evaluation Committee members served as an endorsement of the Board’s process and philosophy underpinning the MOC process.

MOC measures an NBCT’s continuing professional growth experiences with a focus on positively impacting student learning. —Board-certified MOC Design Panelists


After reviewing the MOC Design Report, which recounted the process of establishing the framework from start to finish, the National Board’s Certification Council concluded it was confident both in the process used to derive the framework and in the content of the framework itself. The Council found evidence, as did National Board’s Technical Advisory Group, that the Board’s high-level design plan used in establishing the MOC framework was sound and that the appropriate people and constituencies were present in designing and evaluating the MOC framework.

In November 2018, after reading the MOC Design Report, being briefed on the Certification Council’s oversight of the design process, and conducting their own deliberations, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a policy stating the construct of MOC (i.e., high level concept of what is being measured); the outcome of satisfying MOC requirements (i.e., a five-year extension of an NBCT’s certification expiration date); the number of retakes NBCTs are permitted should an NBCT not satisfy MOC requirements; appeals process; and that there would be no restrictions on the number of times an NBCT can extend the expiration date of their certificate via MOC.

Developing the instructions

In March 2019, National Board recruited 18 NBCTs for the MOC Development Content Advisory Committee. These NBCTs comprise the first group of NBCTs to review and provide input on the clarity of the instructions for completing MOC. By fall 2019, a second and independent group of NBCTs will review the instructions while thinking through the MOC process as if they were planning, gathering evidence, and completing the elements of an MOC submission. The reviewers will be able to provide specific revisions and suggestions about the instructions with the goal of identifying areas lacking clarity or details that require greater or less emphasis.

Pilot study

At the end of 2019, NBCTs from all certificate areas were recruited to participate in a pilot of the MOC process. The purpose of the pilot study was to evaluate the clarity of and adjust the MOC Instructions prior to opening registration for MOC in September 2020. The outcomes of the pilot study provided evidence of the soundness of the Maintenance of Certification construct and design of the MOC components. In general, the pilot instructions, templates, and forms performed well, and National Board made some changes to the final MOC Instructions to clarify particular details, provide additional guidance, and include additional information about using virtual classrooms.

Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the pilot participants successfully met the requirements and demonstrated they were maintaining National Board Certification, and the pilot scoring committees were able to score the cases without undue challenges.  The pilot scoring committees identified several strong examples among the pilot cases, indicating the MOC Instructions are versatile enough to accommodate a range of instructional contexts.

Below are a few findings from the survey of NBCT participants.

  • 98% agree: The instructions clearly state ways in which all NBCTs, regardless of their certificate area and current teaching assignment or professional role, can complete the MOC process.
  • 96-98% agree: The amount of work required to complete activities and collect evidence for Component 1 was reasonable and appropriate for my certificate area and current teaching assignment or professional role.
  • 89% agree: The amount of time and effort required to complete the entire MOC process is reasonable given that MOC extends certification for five years.