Testing for the real world

We’ve been talking a lot about principals lately, mainly because we have a paper on principal effectiveness coming out in about a week. I’ll give you a sneak peek: one of the things that improves principal’s effectiveness is simply real-world experience. So it was interesting to read an article in the Indianapolis Star, Indiana to Revamp Its School Principal Certification Exam,” which said that Indiana plans to change from a multiple-choice principal certification exam to one that depends on principals’ responses to real-life scenarios.

The change is meant to reflect principals’ changing jobs, which have focused more and more on academic progress rather than just the management aspects of running a school. For instance, one reason for the change, the article states, is that principals will now be required to do four observations of each teacher, each year. Putting such an emphasis on instructional leadership has apparently caused those in Indiana to re-think what they look for during principal certification.

I’m going to be interested to see what the test looks like. If principals get more effective by gaining real-world experience, testing how a principal candidate might react in the real world makes sense to me. What would you include on a test for principal candidates? –Rebecca St. Andrie

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