A Multiple Case Study Examining Perceptions of Preparedness and Standards Alignment of Principal Preparation Cohort Programs
Belch III, Harry Ess
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The purpose of this study was to determine how well current students and graduates of principal preparation program cohorts in one large school district in the Mid-Atlantic perceived their program was preparing them, or has prepared them, to be school-based administrators. Current cohort students and graduates were studied to determine their perceptions regarding how well their principal preparation program prepared them to be school-based administrators as well as how well they believed their program was aligned with the current (2015) Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSELs). To ascertain if any significant differences appeared in the data, a two-tailed t test was used to compare participant groups (graduates with administrative positions and graduates without administrative positions) and an ANOVA was used to compare universities. Statistical analysis revealed that graduates with administrative positions perceived they were better prepared to be school-based administrators than graduates without administrative positions on most of the current PSELs. Additionally, graduates with school-based administrative positions believed their programs were better aligned the current PSELs than graduates without administrative positions. Furthermore, graduates and current students perceived that one of the universities under study did not prepare them as well and was not as well aligned as the other two universities under study based on some of the current PSELs. Focus group discussions revealed that significant differences in the data may be due to different administrative experiences/internships, curriculum, professors, and personal responsibility. A document review indicated that the standards taught were, in general, not well aligned with the current PSELs.
General Audience Abstract
This study sought to determine the perceptions of preparedness of current students and graduates of principal preparation program cohorts in one large school district in the MidAtlantic. Additionally, this study sought to determine how well current students and graduates believed their programs were aligned with current Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSELs). A review of accreditation documents revealed that the standards taught in the principal preparation programs were not, in general, aligned with the current PSELs. A survey of current students and graduates of three principal preparation cohorts in the school district under study indicated that graduates with school-based administrative positions (principals, assistant principals, associate principals, deans) perceived they were better prepared than graduates without school-based administrative positions. Furthermore, graduates with school-based administrative positions indicated their programs were more aligned to the PSELs than did graduates without administrative positions. When comparing universities, current students and graduates perceived that one of the universities under study did not perform as well as the other two universities regarding perceptions of preparedness and PSEL alignment on some of the PSELs. A focus group determined that the possible reasons for the differences in the data were due to administrative experiences/internships, curriculum, professors, and personal responsibility. This study is significant because it informs the universities and school district of any perceived programmatic strengths and weakness. The school district and universities may want to gather more data to improve their program effectiveness.
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