As part of the April/May 2012 State Progress Report completed by 24 of our then 26 SCEE states, states were asked to answer twelve questions pertaining to leader effectiveness issues. State responses paint an interesting picture of the status of leader evaluation systems across the country. Survey participants included Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
According to the survey we found that twenty of the twenty-four respondent states or 83% have a policy on principal evaluation that has been updated/created since 2009. When asked to describe their state's principal evaluation system, 7 states or 29% said they have a statewide system for principals, 2 states or 8% said they have a statewide system for principals but LEAs can seek a waiver to use an alternative system, 16 states or 67% said they provide guidelines for principal evaluation and LEAs can select and/or develop their own systems, and one state noted that principals are not evaluated in their state.
Several survey questions asked states to describe their use of the 2008 ISLLC Standards for School Leaders. Sixteen states or 66% reported that they adopted the 2008 ISLLC Standards while 10 states or 42% reported that they had not. However, of those 10 states, 6 did create their own leader standards that are based on or influenced by the ISLLC standards. This brings the total number of SCEE state respondents that have adopted or adapted the 2008 ISLLC Standards to 22 states or 92%. Only 2 states or 8% are using another set of standards for leaders different from ISLLC. These states are North Carolina, which uses the North Carolina Standards for School Executives and Hawaii, which uses the Hawaii Department of Education Standards for Leaders. In addition, 11 states or 46% have guidelines that require the use of the ISLLC Standards as the basis for leader evaluation instruments, while 13 states or 54% do not.
When asked what components are important to include in a report to universities to provide feedback on their ability to create classroom-ready teacher and/or school-ready leaders, states said report components on school-ready leaders included surveys of grads, level of prep data, degree of innovation observed, retention rates, and student data. Unlike their report components on classroom-ready teachers, there was little consensus on what components meaningfully measure leader preparation program success.
Survey respondent states were also asked to respond to the statement: "Personnel at our state department of education are familiar with the resources found on the Wallace Foundation's Knowledge Center and shared on CCSSO's SCEE Collaborative Worksite, and have used the Wallace leadership research and publications to change relevant policies or practices related to leader effectiveness and evaluation." Ten states or 42% either strongly agreed or agreed with this statement; 5 states or 21% were neutral; 1 state or 4% disagreed with this statement; 8 states or 33% had no consensus about the statement. When asked to list the specific areas in which resources from the Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center have been most useful to your state, respondent states reported: leadership evaluation; research findings such as effective leadership practices and connection between leadership and student learning; school organization; state policy levers; ideas for improving leader preparation; Wallace research has contributed to developing leadership standards and practices and creating our statewide mentor program; helped us to identify content guidelines for preparation programs for administrators; resources have guided the development of our administrator evaluation policy; briefs on research about educational administration, the SAMS work, the emerging Pipeline work, and the connections to groups like the New York City Leadership Academy.
The survey's last two questions asked what communication challenges the states have in implementing a comprehensive and coherent system for educator effectiveness and what their biggest challenge is in the upcoming year. In the area of communication challenges the states reported: communicating with all stakeholders; structural system of agency ... breaking silos; maintaining consistent and accurate message delivery to all stake holders; ensuring all understand new systems; being persistent in communicating with all stakeholders; getting out a focused, clear, and understandable message; avoiding information overload; breaking through the noise to get people to realize this will impact their work, making the complex simple, and evaluating beyond the political polarization. One state addressed the challenges of communication with the following reflection: "We have many avenues of communication, but too often the only way to really be heard is to attend meetings face-to-face, and hold forums. Funding does not allow for much of this activity."
States had a lengthy list of challenges for this school year which included: breaking silos and creating and maintaining a cohesive system of Educator Effectiveness; identifying multiple measures for teacher and administrator competencies; developing training for the teacher evaluation system and piloting teacher and administrator evaluation model systems; developing training for teacher evaluators; ensuring fidelity in training with teachers, principals, and superintendents; identifying multiple valid measures for student growth; continuing to keep the momentum that has been established this year and a possible change in leadership; achieving clarity; establishing a compelling vision/compelling narrative about quality learning for our state's kids and educators; implementing and scaling up educator evaluation systems with fidelity given the time constraints of the waiver; resources to support the work; and capacity and funds.
In reviewing the data derived from the SCEE State Progress Reports I can't help but pose some new questions for all of us to consider:
- Have any of the 22 states that have adopted or adapted the 2008 ISLLC standards made any changes to their state leadership standards based on the new educational context related to implementing the common core, new InTASC Standards, and implementing systems of educator effectiveness?
- Is there a need to revisit the 2008 ISLLC Standards to insure their alignment with today's context?
- Have states, districts, and leader preparation providers identified valid and reliable measures of preparation program effectiveness?
- How do SEAs go about the challenge of breaking down existing silos and creating new structures in their agency in order to build effective learning and capacity building systems for students and educators alike?
Please share your thoughts on these new questions.
 We now have 29 SCEE member states.