Amy Balbach

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Mary F. Grasinger

Committee Member

Joseph C. Kush

Committee Member

George Szymanski


Leadership, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Principal perceptions


Throughout the 1980's, the notion of standards came to the forefront throughout the education world. Groups questioned how to define quality teaching. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was developed to meet this need providing a voluntary national certification to identify accomplished teachers. Since its inception, researchers have explored NBPTS. Yet, few studies sought the perspective of critical stakeholders, building principals, in evaluating the effectiveness of the NBPTS process. This study seeks to gain the perspective of those key administrators by comparing their perceptions of the National Board Certified Teachers and non-National Board Certified Teachers on their instructional staff.

A portion of this study replicates a study originally conducted by Dr. Robert Alvin Griffin of Auburn University. The current researcher added components exploring the leadership roles of NBCTs and the influence of school location. This study is important in Pennsylvania due to the focus on teacher effectiveness and the link between principal leadership and student achievement.

The study revealed a significant difference between principal perceptions of NBCTs and non-NBCTs when considering characteristics connected to the Five Core Propositions of NBPTS: Commitment to Student Learning, Knowledge of Subject Matter and How to Teach It, Management and Assessment of Student Learning, Systematic Thought about Practice, and Membership in Learning Communities. These findings are similar to those in Griffin's study. In terms of leadership, mixed reviews were noted. The majority of respondents indicated that there is no difference in leadership between NBCTs and non-NBCTs on their staff. There were no significant differences noted based upon school location of rural, urban, and suburban.

Findings suggest the National Board Certification process is effective and NBCTs are perceived to be more effective than their non-NBCT counterparts in all of the areas assessed on the core survey. However, the leadership piece remains unclear. Most principals perceived NBCTs as engaging in a variety of leadership activities but in generally the same ways and roles as non-NBCTs. There is work to be done by both principals and NBCTs to cultivate the leadership potential of NBCTs and increase the collective expertise of NBCTs in schools.