Praxis Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision (5412)2019-12-09T20:16:50+00:00

Praxis Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision (5412) Ultimate Guide

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Praxis Educational Leadership (5412) Quick Facts

The test measures how well new administrators can demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for applied professional practice.

Cost:

$120

Scoring: 

The score range is 100-200. The minimum passing score is 146. 

Study time: 

The test covers a broad range of knowledge, so it’s best to start studying at least 30 days prior to the exam day. Studying your areas of weakness is the best place to start. A couple of hours two to three days a week is a good plan to prepare for the test. Work backward from your test date and develop a detailed study plan to ensure you have ample time to review all content and skills.

What test takers wish they’d known: 

  • You should verify your test location and how long it will take to travel there.
  • You should also print your admission ticket and keep it with your identification documents.
  • No personal items except for ID are allowed in the testing room. 
  • The test center will provide pencils, erasers, and scratch paper for you.
  • Calculators are not approved for this exam.
  • Restroom breaks are permitted but the test administrator must report excessive bathroom breaks. So choose your breaks wisely.
  • You can change your answers during the exam.
  • You should plan to be at the testing center longer than the allotted exam time to allow for checking in and out.

Information and screenshots obtained from ETS.

I: Strategic Leadership

Overview

The Strategic Leadership content category consists of about 20 questions. These questions account for 17% of the test. This content category is all about how to implement and improve visions and goals.

Let’s explore some specific concepts that are likely to appear on the test.

Using Data to Create, Implement, and Revise the Mission, Vision, and Goals

Data is your best friend! Data-driven decision making is a skill every administrator should gain and master. Data affects every decision, even the mission and vision of the school. The vision statement describes what the school wants to achieve in the future. The mission describes the actions and steps to be taken to reach the vision. When evaluating the mission and vision for your school, you must analyze several sources of data. 

Student performance data, state and district academic performance standards, student demographics, and stakeholder input are all essential to creating an appropriate mission, vision, and school goals. Writing mission and vision statements is similar to backward planning. We analyze the pertinent data, create realistic goals, and plan the pathway to achieve the goals. Utilizing available data to inform the mission and vision ensures that they are objective, realistic, and achievable. Appropriate mission, vision, and school goals reduce undue stress on all stakeholders.

Building Consensus and Delegating Responsibilities

Not everyone will always agree on important issues. Consensus is key! Consensus means that while we may not agree totally with a decision, we can accept what the majority of stakeholders support. When working toward consensus, it is critical that all stakeholders keep in mind the end goal of every action or decision on campus: the students. Student learning and performance should be the constant focus. 

A school leader must sometimes establish consensus in order to actualize the school’s mission, vision, and goals. The process of building consensus includes respecting and acknowledging differing opinions as well as explaining one’s own perspective. Allowing stakeholders to express their opinions is an essential step toward reaching consensus. Should conflict arise, it is the administrator’s responsibility to resolve it. When addressing conflict, focusing on behaviors and not personalities is key. Identifying the points of agreement and disagreement is equally important.

Delegating responsibility is another sensitive administrative task, and should be based on campus needs and personnel capabilities. Choosing the correct person to assign a task to is vital to the successful completion of the task, but an administrator should never delegate a task just to avoid having to do it themselves. Just like any other administrative practice, delegation should always be in the service of student learning and performance.

And that’s some basic information about the Strategic Leadership content category.

II: Instructional Leadership

Overview

The Instructional Leadership content category includes about 27 questions. These questions account for 23% of the test. This content category is all about professional development, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and accountability.

Let’s talk about some important concepts.

Developing and Implementing Professional Development

To be effective, professional development should be relevant, consistent, and ongoing. A “drive-by” or “sit-and-get” approach is not sufficient; development must be engaging and interactive. 

To ensure that professional development is job-embedded and standards-based, it should reflect skills or knowledge that will benefit student learning and performance. A system to monitor implementation and evaluate the effectiveness of the skills gained from the professional development is required. Student performance data such as formative and summative assessment scores, observations, and walkthroughs are excellent data sources to evaluate the effects of the professional development implementation.

Developing Capacity

Capacity is the ability of educators to assist students in achieving academic goals. Building capacity is the steps or actions taken towards increasing skills and knowledge that contribute to assisting students in achieving academic goals. One way to build capacity is through professional development. Another method is through leadership opportunities.

One aspect of building capacity is providing teacher leadership opportunities. These opportunities can be in the form of delegation of tasks or supervised leadership situations. Mentorship and shadowing are also good avenues to provide teacher leadership opportunities and support. Examples of teacher leadership opportunities include (but are not limited to) leading professional development, participating in school improvement, and creating a teacher leader cohort. 

School community members affect the school’s capacity, too. However, administrators should review state and district policies and procedures for community involvement on campus before offering leadership opportunities to parents or community members. Examples of leadership roles for community members include (but are not limited to) the Parent Teacher Organization, participation in school improvement, and community outreach programming. Supervision, monitoring, and evaluation are critical when persons outside of the leadership team are given access to leadership roles and tasks.

Curricular and Instructional Programs

Remember: Data is your best friend! Analyzing multiple sources of data is the best way to identify student needs. Looking for trends and patterns as well as strengths and areas of weakness will help you to determine curricular and instructional needs. Pairing student needs with specific research-based curriculum or instructional strategies will ensure increased student performance. For example, if students are performing low on reading fluency, strategies that address this skill should be incorporated into instruction.

Once you have determined student needs, you’ll need to create the pathway to address them. The first step is creating goals. The areas were students struggle most should be the primary focus. Creating goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound is critical in meeting the needs of students. Additionally, a system for monitoring progress towards the goals is necessary. Monitoring processes should include grade level and content area meetings, observations, and walkthroughs. Monitoring must also include formative and summative assessment data such as unit and benchmark assessment scores. 

After data is collected through the monitoring process, it must be evaluated to assess the effectiveness of the curricular and instructional programs. Evaluation is performed by comparing student performance data against goals. Adjustments to the curriculum and instruction should be made based on the data analysis and evaluation.

Effective Use of Technology

Technology is a necessary component of instruction today. Effective use of technology starts with appropriate training. Teachers must be knowledgeable and proficient in utilizing the available technology tools and software. Assessing teacher knowledge, skills, and proficiency is the first step toward ensuring they are properly using technology to enhance instruction. Guidance and support in incorporating technology into lesson planning can be done during grade level or content area planning meetings. Modeling for teachers may be necessary. If teachers are struggling with effectively using technology, choose one or two practices on which to focus. When teachers master those practices, you can introduce one or two more to continue building capacity.

Students love to use technology at school! Technology helps with student engagement, too. Some examples of technology tools for students are game-based assessment, polling, and presentation tools. There are many available technology tools. Be sure to research a tool to ensure appropriateness and how it will affect student learning before introduction or implementation.

Assessments

There are four types of assessment: diagnostic, formative, benchmark, and summative. Diagnostic testing demonstrates student proficiency in specific skills and knowledge. It is not intended to demonstrate mastery. This assessment gives the teacher a clear starting point for developing and guiding instruction. The strength of this assessment is in identifying areas of proficiency and needed growth.

Formative assessment can be described as “assessment on the go,” and takes place during the lesson. The teacher uses the data from the assessment to adjust instruction on the fly. The strength of this type of assessment is that the data can be applied immediately to affect instruction. Its weakness is that the assessment is susceptible to subjectivity.

Benchmark assessments are used to show student mastery. Unit and end-of-cycle tests are examples of benchmark testing. Some benchmark tests are designed to predict student performance on state assessments.

Summative assessments are used at the end of a course or school year to determine overall learning. The strength of a summative assessment is that it gives every student an equal chance to demonstrate their learning. 

The common limitation of all the assessments is that the data represent a snapshot of one day in time. None of the assessments should be used to evaluate student performance without reference to others. Each assessment plays a role in evaluating student performance.

School leaders must ensure that teachers understand each assessment type, including when to administer them, how to collect and analyze the data, and how to plan instruction accordingly to increase student performance. This assurance can be gained through professional development on assessments and participation in planning meetings or individual planning time. Guiding teachers through creating assessments or providing ready-made assessments may be necessary for a robust assessment system.

And that’s some basic information about the Instructional Leadership content category.

III: Climate and Cultural Leadership

Overview

The Climate and Cultural Leadership content category includes about 22 questions. These questions account for 18% of the test. This content category is all about equity, cultural responsiveness, and creating communities of care and support.

Be sure that you understand the following concepts.

Promoting a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is important for mental and physical health. Maintaining balance reduces stress and burnout while promoting a healthier, more productive self. It’s okay to disconnect from work to refresh and recharge, so consider setting blackout times when you do not respond to emails or phone calls except in the case of an emergency. Try setting a firm time to leave the campus and go home. Experiment with eating lunch in quiet each day, even if for only 15 minutes. Explore and practice activities that you enjoy not related to work, and participate in them regularly.

Addressing Student Misconduct

Discipline is an aspect of school leadership that most do not enjoy, but it has to be handled. Addressing student misconduct is not a black-and-white issue; there is a large gray area. Setting clear expectations for behavior is the first step in reducing discipline issues. Setting out objective consequences for misconduct offenses and applying them consistently is also key to managing student misconduct. Additionally, ensuring that those school leaders responsible for discipline understand the student code of conduct and management system is critical to successful implementation.

When misconduct infractions occur, an investigation must be conducted. Due process must be a priority in an investigation to ensure that it is legal, fair, and timely. During the investigation, school leadership must protect the confidentiality of all involved parties; it is a “need to know” situation. Information should not be shared with anyone not involved in the investigation. Ensuring that administrators are trained in conducting investigations reduces the potential for violation of student rights or privacy. All involved parties should have the opportunity to relate their version of the incident(s) being investigated. The investigation must be concluded in an objective and timely manner. 

A school leader should be knowledgeable of the discipline offenses that are occurring on campus. Disaggregated discipline data that is broken into subcategories such as gender, grade level, etc. can provide invaluable insight that the school leader can use to target interventions for specific populations.

Awareness and Prevention Programs

The first step to creating a positive school environment is ensuring that students feel safe. The next step is creating a culture in which students feel valued, respected, and supported. 

Encouraging students to be active participants through student associations and school improvement also demonstrates a commitment to the school environment. Student involvement can be a key component in implementing awareness and prevention programs. Many campuses have suicide and bullying awareness and prevention programs that educate students are about these problems and promote active steps to prevent their occurrences. Active involvement in these programs empowers students who have experienced or witnessed troubling behaviors to report incidents without fear. 

And that’s some basic information about the Climate and Cultural Leadership content category.

IV: Ethical Leadership

Overview

The Ethical Leadership content category includes about 19 questions. These questions account for 16% of the test. This content category is all about ethics and laws.

The following concepts are highly likely to pop up on the test.

Protecting Rights and Confidentiality

Teachers and students have a right to due process according to the Fourteenth Amendment. Students are also protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student educational records. School leaders must be knowledgeable about relevant laws to protect the rights and confidentiality of students and staff. Keep a simplified and complete hard copy of relevant laws in a safe place for quick reference.

Self-Reflection and Setting Goals

Reflective practice leads to growth. When assessing one’s own performance, it’s important to be aware of both strengths and weaknesses. Critical reflection allows you to be honest and objective about what is working and what is not. The only way growth can occur is to practice reflection, review goals, and adjust future practices to meet those goals.

Setting goals for professional improvement is in some ways the same process as setting goals for students. Create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Reviewing current performance against the established expectations and goals is the first step. After analyzing the data, evaluate progress towards the end state.

Ethical Decision Making

Equality is not equity. Equity is ensuring that every student has what they need to be successful in meeting educational expectations. All students’ needs will not be the same. A school leader must be knowledgeable about the school student demographics in order to make equitable decisions. To be equitable in hiring and promotion, an administrator must ensure equal access to all qualified candidates, in addition to being fair, objective, and transparent.

And that’s some basic information about the Ethical Leadership content category.

V: Organizational Leadership

Overview

The Organizational Leadership content category includes about 16 questions. These questions account for 13% of the test. This content category is all about managing systems and resources and ensuring student and staff safety.

Take a look at the following concepts.

Allocating Funds

Acting as a responsible, ethical, and accountable steward of the school’s resources mean that every decision is one that is aligned with the school’s mission, vision, and goals, as well as being in accordance with laws, policies, and procedures. When faced with budget reductions, the school leader must thoroughly review the budget to determine how the cuts will affect the school’s operations. Finding areas to reallocate funds and resources within the rules and regulations is a good method of addressing budget cuts. Seeking outside funding to the extent allowed is another way to offset budget cuts. Examples of outside funding include grants, charitable donations, and fees received for renting out school facilities.

Safety and Security Plans

The first priority of any school leader is to ensure the safety of students and teachers. Every school should have a comprehensive safety and security plan. The components of a comprehensive safety and security plan are Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness/Planning, Response, and Recovery.  Key personnel of the safety and security plan include the school leader, school safety manager, building crisis team members, and local emergency management agencies such as fire and police. The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative is a federal program that works to identify safety best practices for schools. Most states require that schools have a comprehensive safety and security plan. Other safety policies are covered under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Check your state requirements to understand the responsibilities. 

When parent concerns arise, the school leader should hear the concerns and share the scope of the school safety and security plan. If there is a credible threat to campus safety, the school leader must consult with district and local safety officials to mitigate the threat.

And that’s some basic information about the Organizational Leadership content category.

VI: Community Engagement Leadership

Overview

The Community Engagement Leadership content category includes about 16 questions. These questions account for 13% of the test. This content category is all about engaging with the community to build relationships and utilize resources.

You’ll want to know all about the concepts below.

Communicating with Family Members and the Community

Technology advancement has made it easier than ever to communicate with stakeholders. Knowing what form of communication to use and when to use it is important to effective communication. School leaders can communicate with stakeholders through emails, student information system messaging, automated phone calls, newsletters, and social media. 

Email, school information system messaging, and newsletters are best for communicating large amounts of information such as a monthly calendar or curricular and instructional information. These communications should be planned, consistent, and timely. Automated phone calls and social media should be used for short, specific, timely communications such as weather-related school closures and reminders of events. A typical reminder might be a short message to remind parents of picture day. 

With so many avenues for communication, discretion is vital. Be sure, no matter what communication medium you use, that you do not include sensitive or confidential information. Proofread all communications before sending for content, intent, grammar, and structure.

Communication must be two-way. Stakeholders’ voices should be recognized and respected. This supports a positive school culture and contributes to increased involvement and investment.

Advocating for the School and District

School leadership must make community engagement a priority. Creating a plan for community engagement is a good way to ensure that this priority is consistently addressed throughout the year. The plan should include methods of proactive communication including (but not limited to) newsletters, emails, and phone messages. The school leader must be prepared to listen to community concerns and feedback, and respond accordingly. The school leader should also provide meaningful opportunities to involve community members, such as workshops to help parents support their students on homework or participation in the school’s reading program. Lastly, the school leader should take the opportunity to help community members become advocates for the school, who in turn can create even more supporters. Leveraging available resources and supporters can increase the involvement of the school’s stakeholder community.

And that’s some basic information about the Community Engagement Leadership content category.

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