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Improving State Evaluation of Principal Preparation Programs

This report describes five design principles for rigorous state evaluation of principal preparation programs.
February 2016
A black female principal with 2 other female teachers, sitting in a classroom with a young child helping with letters
  • Author(s)
  • Gina Ikemoto, Matthew Kelemen, Pamela Tucker, and Michelle Young
  • Publisher(s)
  • New Leaders, University Council for Educational Administration
Page Count 19 pages


Intended for state officials involved in the assessment and approval of university and other programs to train future school principals, this report describes five design principles for effective program evaluation. “While states will undoubtedly want and need to develop systems unique to their context, they could benefit from having guideposts to organize what can be complex work,” says the report, which was written jointly by representatives from New Leaders, which helps train school leaders and designs leadership policies and practices for school systems, and the University Council for Educational Administration, a consortium of universities that seeks to promote high-quality education leadership preparation and research. The principles, which emerged from a New Leaders/University Council project to develop a model evaluation system and accompanying of tools, are:

  • Structure the review process in a way that is conducive to continuous program improvement.
  • Create appropriate systems to hold programs accountable for effective practices and outcomes.
  • Provide key stakeholders with accurate and useful information.
  • Take a sophisticated and nuanced approach to data collection and use.
  • Adhere to characteristics of high-quality program evaluation.

The report also describes how two states, Illinois and Delaware, have approached evaluation, and provides a tool from its model-development work, an assessment that states can use to determine their degree of “readiness” for building a stronger system to evaluate principal preparation programs.

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