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Assessment Center

Candidate Resources

Assessment Center

This document is a compilation of information gathered from teachers who have participated in Assessment Center Testing for National Board Certification. It provides a list of websites (content area organizations, etc.), texts, and a condensed review of the information for the Assessment Center that you might find useful as you prepare.

Career & Technology 


American School Counselor Association: http://www.schoolcounselor.org

Early Childhood Generalist

English Language Learners/Language Arts

International Reading Association: http://www.reading.org

National Council of Teachers of English: http://www.ncte.org

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages: http://www.tesol.org

American Library Association:


English Language Learners & English as a Second Language

Exceptional Needs Specialist

Council for Exceptional Children: http://www.cec.sped.org

Fine Arts/Music

Kennedy Center-Arts Edge:  https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/resources-for-educators/classroom-resources/

Summary Statement: Education Reform, Standards, and the Arts–Dance, Music, Theatre


Arts: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/ArtsStandards.html

National Association for Music Education:


“Art Matters: Strategies, Ideas, and Activities to Strengthen Learning Across the  Curriculum” (Paperback) by Eileen S. Prince


Practical Tips At the Center: Get there early, do not bring mechanical pencils or gum as they will not allow you to  take it in.

Take your notes, while the people are setting up you can look at them then put them in the locker prior to going in.

Get comfortable in your chair… my wrists were hurting because the table was so high… then by the 3rd exercise, I realized that I could adjust my chair.

Dress in layers. The room went from cool to uncomfortably hot.

When they take you into the room, they will give you a page of scratch paper. Your test does not begin until you start the computer. I used the scratch sheet to write down everything I thought I might need, including everything for each section… then I started on the computer.

Be sure to study your content standards.  One blank study sheet that helped me was to list the content area, content standards, activities, resources and technology.

Be conscious of the time….the first one seemed to go extremely fast.

During the break, the testing center was located next to the Ellbogen CTL.  I walked to the restroom and washed my face, then went into the CTL and fixed  a cup of peppermint tea.  It was invigorating and just the pick me up that I needed.

By the time you sign out then in again for the break, it is not truly 15 minutes.  The computer counts 15 minutes, but if you go by the clock in the office, it seemed like I had about 5 minutes left, but the computer showed that I only had 2.

And, Do the online tutorial at NBPTS… this truly was helpful.

Yahoo study groups was a great way to prepare, in the EC GEN one, they had forms that were helpful in studying.

Practice using the released items as they give you a guide of what to expect.


Professional journals

College “online” syllabi, using key terms

Sample prompts

National content standards

Exploring textbooks of other grade levels

I studied for the assessments by reading, taking notes, and participating in the Yahoo site that you recommended. However, I think that what helped me the most was setting up practice sessions for myself. I wrote the characteristics from the Level 4 scoring rubric into my computer to simulate prompts. Then I’d write down topics on slips of paper that fit the criteria for the questions (ie., for science, the 5 big ideas, different ages, and different science topics), then draw these out of a jar, so that I had a random question. Then I would type for a half hour using my kitchen timer.  This taught me how to manage my time, how to think fast, and how not to end up only having answered the first part of a prompt.  I’d score these against the standards, the rubric, and the CIA HEART which I  found on the Yahoo site and is an acronym for the salient parts of the standards, and try again.  I did 2 to 3 for each exercise, concentrating on the exercises that I didn’t know as much about. When I went to the assessment center, I felt very prepared. However, I generally do well at taking tests. Again, the one that I knew the most about — literacy, I scored the lowest.

Additional Resources:

Hopkins, Martha H. Navigating the National Board Certification Process: A Step-by- Step Workbook for Teachers.

Mack-Kirschner, Adrienne. The Teacher’s Guide to National Board Certification: Unpacking the Standards.

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning:http://www.mcrel.org/about/index.asp

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: www.nbpts.org

Northwest Regional Laboratory: http://www.nwrel.org

“Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14” by Chip Wood

“Best Practice: Today’s Standards for Teaching and Learning in America’s Schools” by Steven Zemelman, Harvey Daniels, Arthur Hyde

ProTeacher: http://www.proteacher.com

“Art Matters: Strategies, Ideas, and Activities to Strengthen Learning Across the

Curriculum” (Paperback) by Eileen S. Prince

“Pathways to Play” by Sandra Heidemann and Deborah Hewitt

Library Media

American Library Association:



California State Board of Education (mathematics):


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: http://www.nctm.org

Physical Education


National Science Teachers Association: www.nsta.org

Yellow books from the National Research Council titled National Science Education Standards.  There is a whole series of them, “Classroom Assessment and the NSES”, “Inquiry and the NSES”, etc.

Social Studies

National Council for History Education: http://www.nche.net/

National Council for the Social Studies: http://www.ncss.org

Washington State Council for the Social Studies: http://www.wscss.org

Lists of the Conflicts, Political Systems etc. that I might need to study.   There were TONS of them.  Since I knew I couldn’t possibly know everything on every list, I focused on the 10 or so on each list that I had heard of and felt most likely would be something middle school students should know.  I then used the textbooks I use to get the basic information and then read through the sections I felt were most appropriate in the Barron’s AP books. I purchased a few of these AP books:  AP Human Geography, AP History etc.

Our Documents–Compiled by National Archives, has the 100 most influential documents of American history.  You can see the actual document, get a transcript and see a summary of its significance, which is mostly what I went over, rather than trying to read the entire document.  URL: ourdocuments.gov

Reference List for AYA Social Studies (14-18) Assessment Exercises for NBPTS Certification List Created on 6-17-03 by: Anne Libert, Megan Novotney, Gretchen Snow

“Migration in World History” by Patrick Manning–Kind of a tough book to get through but had lots of good general information on migrations and what caused them.  On my assessment exercise, I wasn’t super familiar with the actual migration they asked me, but this book helped me include some good broad things, which I believe helped my score.

My high school government textbook and a couple of others I consulted had great information on all of the political and economic systems to help with the systems question on the assessment center test.

World Languages Other than English

National Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages: http://www.actfl.org

Thanks to everyone who submitted information for this document. 

Contact Us

Please contact either Barb Maguire, our Lead Facilitator or Mary Ellbogen Garland, President of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation with questions or comments.

(307) 259-6480 (Barb)

(307) 761-1898 (Mary)

P. O. Box 1670 Laramie, Wyoming 82073

Contact Barb & Mary