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Carol A.

Swanson
Hamline University
Competency 12: Judgement and Problem Analysis

12. Judgment & Problem Analysis

a. Analyzing relevant information, frame issues; identify probable causes and reframe issues
b. Demonstrate adaptability and conceptual flexibility
c. Assisting others in forming opinions about problems and issues
d. Reach logical conclusions by making quality, timely decisions based on available information
e. Identify and give opportunity to significant issues
f. Demonstrate an understanding of and utilize appropriate technology in problem analysis
g. Demonstrate an understanding of different leadership and decision-making strategies,
including but not limited to collaborative models and model appropriately their implementation

Leaders in education must have skills in judgement and problem analysis. Principals also

have the responsibility for making sure other adults in the school are supported in making good

decisions based on the needs of the students. Successful management of the daily operations of a

public school is a difficult task, but one that is necessary if students are to be successful.

In my work for the Regional Centers of Excellence (RCEs), I assist school leaders in

analyzing how the school is performing based on assessment data, attendance data, discipline

referral data and student and staff perception data. We use a comprehensive needs assessment

process that was developed by myself and colleagues from the RCEs in collaboration with the

Minnesota Department of Education. The process is completed yearly for those schools who are

identified as a focus/priority schools using the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA)

in both math and reading. We desegregate the data, celebrate successes, and prioritize concerns

in order to decide where to dig deeper, and thus use problem analysis or root cause processes to

identify the needs of the school.

Even though the process is similar in each school, the needs each school are so different

that the process completes in different ways and can look completely different. It is through this
Carol A. Swanson
Hamline University
Competency 12: Judgement and Problem Analysis

method that I have learned how to help school leaders make important educational decisions in

their schools. I also support their decisions by assisting with training and coaching of the staff.

In my field work, I was able to see problem solving and decision making in action by

observing different methods of decision making. In my field one experience, the approach to

leadership was shared with a team of teachers. The team collaborated in their problem solving

approach and were always involved in the planning and implementation of the processes that

were implemented. In my field two and three experiences, the leadership style was more top

down. Staff were consulted and had influence, but it was the administrators who made most of

the decisions and then took an active role in making sure that staff understood the processes and

how to implement them. I do feel more comfortable in a more collaborative leadership style, and

feel that my work as an advocate for the RCEs has prepared me well to lead in this style rather

than in a more authoritative way.

I will continue to learn and grow by working with leaders to analyze problems and

finding solutions that make learning more effective for students. This is why I am a leader and

will continue to work to help leaders, teachers and students in their journeys in education.