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CA Education Leadership Grants

The grant provided professional learning opportunities for a cohort of teacher leaders and practicing and aspiring school administrators that resulted in a self-assessment tool designed to improve educator leader readiness and program quality.

The California Education Leadership Professional Learning Initiative (2014-16) provided in-depth professional learning opportunities for a cohort of teacher leaders and practicing and aspiring California school administrators that resulted in a self-assessment tool that may be used to improve educator leader readiness and program quality. One award - $997,894.

University of San Diego

The pilot had two purposes: to assess the content validity of the two assessment tasks and the candidate self-assessment tool, and to evaluate candidates’ leadership skills. The partnership engaged consultants from Bank Street College of Education and the University of Iowa who had worked for several years with Massachusetts to develop, design, pilot and field test a series of performance assessments for principal licensure, the Performance Assessment for Leaders to inform the work of the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing’s development of an statewide Administrator Performance Assessment.

The project supported the development and use of two performance assessments and a self-assessment tool as part of leadership preparation and leadership readiness. The development of the two performance assessment tasks built on the field trial results of the Massachusetts Performance Assessments for Leaders and yielded several important findings:

  • The assessments were flexible enough to be aligned to California leadership standards and applicable to varied school and district contexts in the San Diego area.
  • The assessments could be used formatively as embedded leadership preparation for teacher leaders and aspiring leaders.
  • Participants gained identifiable leadership skills, as determined by the candidates, the faculty and the scorers.
  • Participants completed authentic leadership work in their schools, often leading to improved school improvement direction and practice.

The project provided an opportunity to try out different approaches to supporting participants’ leadership preparation for performance assessments and showed the benefits of a structured, developmentally focused curriculum and seminar series. This approach, used with the second task, lead to better preparation and outcomes, as reported by participants, than the more episodic approach used for the first task.

The development and use of the self-assessment tool assisted participants in analyzing their leadership skill development and providing a means for planning further development activities. The tool also provided validating evidence about the participants’ skill gains in completing the two performance assessment tasks, showing task specific growth at the end of each semester. Taken together, the assessment tasks and self-assessment tool proved to be valid and useful tools for formative leadership development for a range of participants and school settings. As a result, they are promising tools for other programs’ use throughout California and elsewhere.

There were three participant groups in this pilot study: eleven grant-supported aspiring leaders, ten non-grant supported aspiring leaders, and six teacher leaders. To help complete this work and to explore the benefits of the performance assessments for other candidates without grant support, ten candidates enrolled in USD’s Educator Leadership Development Academy program were assigned to complete the two performance assessment tasks as well, as part of their program-based field experiences. These candidates work at schools throughout the region including the San Diego Unified School District, Chula Vista Elementary School District, Lakeside School District and the San Diego Diocese.

Questions: Teacher & Leader Policy Office | itqsahe@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-7331 
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 7, 2018