National Board Certification Generalist: Middle Childhood Exam

The National Board Certification Generalist: Middle Childhood Exam is for teachers of students ages 7-12. Eligibility to sit for this exam includes holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, having at least 3 years’ teaching experience at the PK-12 grade level, and in some cases, having a state teaching license.

As a holder of this certification, teachers must embody these five core propositions:

  • Committed to students and their learning
  • Know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
  • Responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
  • Think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
  • Members of learning communities.

The certification process consists of completing a computer-based assessment and three portfolio entries.


The assessment focuses on knowledge of and pedagogical methodology for teaching subject areas. It will consist of 45 selected-response questions and 3 constructed-response items. You will be given 60 minutes to complete the selected-response questions, and 30 minutes for each of the constructed-response items.

Of the questions, 30% will concentrate on the subjects of English Language Arts, the Arts, and Health and Wellness. Some of the topics that will be assessed are balanced literacy, choosing and analyzing texts, value, and purposes of visual and performing arts via cross-curricular contexts, and health-enhancing skills.

The subjects of Science and Mathematics will make up 35% of the assessment. Topics such as number sense and algebraic thinking, geometry, data analysis, understanding science domains (life, earth/space, and physical), science vocabulary, scientific thinking (misconceptions and evolution), and science tools, models, and engineering design principles will be assessed.

The remaining 35% will focus on Social Studies, and the topics of history, geography, civics/government, economics, themes of social studies, and primary and secondary sources, and critical thinking in social studies.

Portfolio Entry 1: Differentiation in Instruction

Consists of examples of students’ work that shows growth over time and the certification candidate’s written explanation of instruction choices.

Portfolio Entry 2: Teaching Practice and Learning Environment

Consists of videos of interactions between the certification candidate and students, and two written explanations in which the candidate describes and analyzes these interactions.

Portfolio Entry 3: Effective and Reflective Practitioner

Consists of information from several sources regarding a class with whom the candidate worked, demonstrating the candidate’s understanding and implementation of assessments that made a positive impact on the students. Proof that the candidate worked with families, the community, and colleagues to promote student learning, is also required.

Examinees with conditions covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that require special accommodations, may make this request in writing.

What is the most convenient way to register for this exam?

Online registration is the most convenient. When registering, you must pay a $75 registration fee. Keep in mind that the registration fee is separate from the fee you must pay for each of the four components (assessment, portfolio entry 1, portfolio entry 2, and portfolio entry 3).

What does the exam cost?

The first attempt at the assessment is $475. A re-take of this exam will cost $125 per constructed-response exercise and/or the selected-response section. The initial attempt and re-takes of each of the portfolio entries is $475.

Where can I take the assessment?

There are various testing sites throughout the United States at which you can take the exam. Choose the location that is closest to you.

What should I do the day of the assessment?

Arrive at the testing site at least 30 minutes early to ensure you have enough time to check in. Take extra care not to arrive late. Doing so may disqualify you from taking the assessment.

Be sure to bring valid, non-expired identification that has your name, signature, and a recent photo of you.

Examples of items you are prohibited from bringing into the testing area include a cell phone, study materials, and food/drink. Although you will be allowed to use a calculator for the exam, you are not allowed to bring your own. You will have access to an online calculator.

What is the passing score?

You must earn an average of 1.75 on the assessment and each of the portfolio entries.

What happens if I do not pass the assessment or any of the portfolio entries?

You have up to two re-takes for each component. You must complete these re-takes within your five-year certification period.

How Can I Prepare for the National Board Certification Generalist Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: December 31, 2019