Standard 9: Assessment of Candidate Competence

Prior to recommending each candidate for a Clear Administrative Services Credential, the program advisor and the mentor verify that the candidate has met the expectations for excellence in candidate performance that are outlined in the clear credential induction plan.

Rationale

If the completion of a professional preparation program is to constitute a mark of professional competence, as the law suggests, responsible members of the program staff must carefully and systematically document and determine that the candidate has fulfilled the standards of professional competence established for the clear credential induction program.

Factors to Consider

The following factors serve as a guide for initial program design and ongoing program evaluation:

• The methods used assess performance authentically and recognize the complexity and highly variable nature of administrative responsibilities.

• The assessment system (both during the program and at the conclusion) is systematic, fair, uses multiple measures and multiple sources, and is tied to the curriculum, field experiences and themes of competence.

• The candidate is assessed by program faculty and school personnel who have demonstrated expertise, have been oriented to the assessor role and trained in the specified criteria, and are periodically evaluated in the assessment role.

• Candidates are provided feedback on their progress at multiple points in the program.

• A culminating assessment brings closure to the induction period and establishes directions for continuing growth and professional development.

• The program meets other factors related to this standard of quality brought to the attention of the team by the program sponsor.

While the Descriptions of Practice (See Appendix 13), used in the initial assessment, represent a fairly complete assessment of administrative responsibilities, space is provided to recognize and assess specific aspects of the administrative duties, skills, knowledge, and processes that must be mastered to become a proficient leader.  The Educational Leadership and Administration Program clearly recognizes that leaders have positions with job requirements that are complex and dynamic and the assessments must take into account these factors. All aspects of the assessments are conducted by the district mentor and university mentor, who have received training in their roles.  Training of mentors not only encompasses the role of coaching and mentoring, but also of authentically assessing the candidate’s competence.  The selection of mentors is vital to the program’s quality and the process is explained under  Standard 7.

Mentors who are recognized leaders in the local area are contracted to serve as lead and/or university mentors.  They receive training in the areas of coaching and mentoring as well as the assessment of candidate competency using the instruments and means available.   At the end of their program, candidates will evaluate their district mentor and university mentor on a number of factors, including their ability to adequately assess the candidate’s competency.  The program coordinator will also conduct informal evaluation of all mentors each semester and will meet with any mentor demonstrating a lack of proficiency in and of the areas of mentoring, coaching, or assessment of competencies.  Mentors may be assigned further training or may be removed from their mentoring role if they are not proficient in any of the requirements.

Once the candidate completes the initial assessment (Appendix 13), the induction plan is developed (see Appendix 14).  Subsequent periodic assessments of the candidate therefore take into account findings using the assessment instrument and the Induction Plan and amendments.. In this manner, the precise nature of the position performance requirements are recognized and taken into account, as well as the complexity and variability of the requirements.  Candidates are participants in all aspects of the performance assessments, thus are provided feedback, informal and formal, on a regular basis.

Candidates will undergo at least one periodic assessment and/or review each semester based on the assessment instrument, and the Induction Plan. The candidate is responsible for maintaining records of the induction plan and amendments, log of mentoring sessions (Appendix 15), samples of professional development opportunities, and reflections based on the Induction Plan and the CPSELs.

The candidate, district mentor, and university mentor work collaboratively to develop measures that will authentically measure the candidate’s progress and degree of competence.  In some cases, this may be a written document, in others, it may be performance of a particular task, in yet others, it may be the outcome of an activity or series of activities.  While the basis of the assessment system is linked to the Descriptions of Practice, multiple measures of progress and competency are considered and utilized if deemed appropriate.  The induction plan and assessments are designed to take into account the complexity and dynamic nature of the responsibilities of the new leader and to measure competency in ways that are meaningful to the candidate and clear to all involved.

The culminating assessment takes into account the most recent assessment using the assessment instrument (Appendix 13), the initial Induction Plan and all amendments (Appendix 14), as well as an overall assessment by the candidate, the district mentor, and the university mentor of the candidate’s competence meriting the granting of a  Clear Administrative Services Credential.  As mentioned earlier, on the assessment instrument based on the Descriptions of Practice by WestEd (2003), a candidate is expected to be minimally at the level of “Practice that meets the standard”. Likewise, the candidate is expected to meet the same level of any additional performance objectives developed specific to the position or the candidate’s professional needs as set forth in the Induction Plan and any amendments.

The candidate, as a final activity of the culminating assessment, presents her/his professional portfolio to the district superintendent and direct supervisor, accompanied by the district mentor and university mentor. Candidates are allowed to present only when all other requirements of the program have been successfully completed.  This serves not only as a valuable final assessment, but as an opportunity to celebrate the successful completion of the program.

As in all program activities, ongoing evaluation, as well as an annual review, serves to ensure that the program not only meets the standards as required by the CCTC, but by the local school districts that depend on our program to prepare their educational leaders.

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