This toolkit, the most recent update of a product originally released in 2009, is designed to help those who run principal preparation programs, along with school district representatives and/or others, take stock and assess the quality of the training that programs provide to aspiring principals. The heart of the kit is a detailed assessment form, with ratings on a scale of 1 to 4, that users fill in to help them identify the strengths and weaknesses of the programming.
The format calls for users to provide evidence of a program’s effectiveness in six domains—candidate admissions, course content, pedagogy, clinical practice, performance assessment and graduates’ success in areas ranging from state certification to job performance. The specifics that are assessed in each domain are based on research about the characteristics of effective principal preparation and are tightly linked to a set of model national job standards for principals, the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. A detailed bibliography lists the source material for each of the six domains.
The self-assessment is designed to be conducted with the help of a “facilitator,” that is, a professional trained to guide participants through its complexities from a position of neutrality. But the toolkit could also be useful to those who want to learn about the kinds of research-based elements that make up program quality and get an idea of program-improvement areas on which they could focus.