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Standards for Administrators Are Released

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Hailing an end to the "fragmentation" of existing standards for the education of school administrators, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education last week unveiled a new set of standards for preparing education leaders.

Arthur E. Wise, the president of NCATE, said the standards emphasize accountability, outcomes, and performance--shifting the focus from what schools offer to what students actually learn.

Traditional programs have been criticized for focusing "on the 'how,' not the 'how to do,"' said Scott Thomson, the executive secretary of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration, the group that led the effort to draft the standards. Mr. Thomson added that the new standards address that shortcoming by providing a performance-based assessment of professional practice skills.

The standards were drafted by a coalition of curriculum, teacher education, and administrators' associations that belong to Mr. Thomson's group. They will be used in administrator-training programs in NCATE-accredited schools of education.

The policy board was formed in 1988 to focus on setting national standards for administrators and to try to narrow the gap between theory and practice in preparation programs.

In 1993, the board released the first comprehensive curriculum for training school administrators, based on years of research on the skills and knowledge necessary to run contemporary schools. (See Education Week, Feb. 3, 1993.)

Linking the Professions

The new standards include 11 knowledge and skills areas under five broad categories, including instructional leadership and political and community leadership.

Among the other changes apparent in the standards is an increased emphasis on internships for prospective administrators. Such experiences are intended to provide them with a better understanding of how to apply their knowledge in the school environment.

In a statement last week, Mr. Wise said the standards for administrators are "consistent with the emerging conception of the new professional teacher." NCATE is supporting efforts to link standards for teacher training and licensure under a performance-based system.

For copies of the standards, call NCATE at (202) 466-7496 or the Educational Leadership Constituent Council at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development at (703) 549-9110.

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