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Dr. Bobbie Eddins, Dr. Jeffrey Kirk, Dr. Dorleen Hooten, Dr. Brenda Russell, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)

Dr. Bobbie Eddins, Dr. Jeffrey Kirk, Dr. Dorleen Hooten, Dr. Brenda Russell, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)

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Dr. Bobbie Eddins, Dr. Jeffrey Kirk, Dr. Dorleen Hooten, Dr. Brenda Russell, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)
Dr. Bobbie Eddins, Dr. Jeffrey Kirk, Dr. Dorleen Hooten, Dr. Brenda Russell, Published in the NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief (Since 1982)

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Published by: William Allan Kritsonis on Nov 25, 2013
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 NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL VOLUME 31, NUMBER 1, 2013
5
UTILIZATION OF 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK IN PROGRAM ASSESSMENT: DATA SUPPORT FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PRINCIPAL PREPARATION
Bobbie Eddins Jeffrey Kirk Dorleen Hooten Brenda Russell Texas A&M University
 – 
Central Texas
ABSTRACT
Crucial to each school leader’s success in the complex environment of a prek 
-12 campus is development of knowledge and skill in a relevant preparation program. In collaboration with school district leaders and school leadership practitioners, faculty members in the school of education at a regional university have designed and implemented a learn-as-you-go self-assessment
approach for continuous improvement of the master’s degree/principal
certification program for prek-12 school leaders. Grounded by a focusing mission and an action research case study approach, the approach utilizes 360-degree feedback that provides multiple-source data linked to the state and national principal standards. It borrows the circular concept from the widely utilized individual 360-degree feedback assessment practice that provides both depth and breadth concern
ing a leader’s effectiveness.
Data from internal and external 360-degree feedback sources include an ongoing review of school leadership literature, a self-assessment by program faculty, a critical review by educational leadership experts, an analysis of internal and external student performance data, focused conversations with advisory groups, and perceptions of program completers as well as their supervisors as they move forward on professional leadership pathways. This feedback supports data-informed decisions that strengthen key program components
 – 
 student recruitment and selection, program curriculum, instructional delivery including a rigorous internship and mentoring support, stakeholder involvement, program staffing and faculty development, and program planning and evaluation.
 
6
Introduction
rom the moment school leaders are hired, they are expected to mobilize the school community in improvement efforts focused on success for all students. Leading schools today means developing a culture of joint responsibility focused on a vision of  prosperity, opportunity, and creativity (Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009). It requires growing student, teacher, staff, parent, and community leaders who are engaged in shared inquiry and innovative responses concerning learning challenges across an increasingly diverse community of practice (Seashore Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010; Sergiovanni, 2006; Glickman, 2003). Crucial to each
school leader’s success in this complex environment is development of
knowledge and skill through relevant preparation. Principal preparation program quality is habitually criticized  by policy makers, school leaders, scholars, and professional organizations. Concerns are raised about the relevancy of practice to theory connections related to real time school purpose and capacity  building (Fullan, 2009; Orr, King, & LaPointe, 2010); the need for a  better aligned and more rigorous curriculum (Darling
Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, & Orr, 2009; Lashway, 2003), the lack of substantial clinical experiences (Frye
, Bottoms, & O’Neill, 2005;
Levine, 2005), and the underutilization of program assessment (Orr, 2009). In short, for principal preparation program completers to make an impact as school leaders, they must engage in program learning that is relevant to prek-12 school environments, delivered in a coherent and engaging sequence, facilitated by knowledgeable and experienced faculty, and assessed through both internal and external measures of effectiveness.
The Critical Role of Program Assessment
A growing emphasis on accountability for educator preparation continues to increase motivation for ongoing assessment about the
F
 
7
 program and quality guarantees for program completers. Program evaluative assessment
 – 
the process of systematically collecting and analyzing data about a program to determine its significance and improve its performance
 – 
 provides valid and reliable information to decision makers about program results. As with any assessment  process, data is collected that supplies answers about key program components and outcomes. Inquiry concerning program improvement
includes questions such as: ―Does the program succeed in doing what it was meant to do?‖ ―How effectively is the program functioning?‖ and ―What modifications are needed to meet program goals?‖
 Meaningful assessment of school leadership preparation is critical to continuous program improvement, particularly in view of the constantly shifting requirements of certifying entities and the ever changing knowledge and skill set associated with school leadership roles. The importance of this type of assessment for principal  preparation programs rests in its usefulness as footing for change that will improve student learning and completer success. Effective  programs continually assess themselves against their vision, mission, and goals, leveraging improvement based on measurable data rather than impulse or tradition. Program self assessment in partnership with
the program’s many stakeholders provides positioning that ―reflects a
 broad consensus concerning the most efficacious approaches to
 preparing school leaders‖ (Glasman, Cibulka
, & Ashby, 2002, p. 283). The results provide program faculty, institutions, and consumers with information to inform decision-making and policy development. Those closely involved with preparation programs depend on assessment processes to answer a number of questions related to the effectiveness of their programs. Program-specific focusing questions
may include: ―What added benefit or value do program partic
ipants
receive?‖
 
―How well prepared are the program completers for entry
-level school leadership positions
?‖ ―How do employers feel about
their school leaders
who completed the program?‖ ―How is the
 program perceived by participants, completers, the university, and the
field?‖ ―What impact do the completers have on the school campuses

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