Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comparing self assessments. - blog requirement for JHU/ISTE leadership course

This was a very difficult task for me specifically. First of all there is my strong desire to pass a test so I'm always fighting the urge to give myself the benefit of the doubt on what I think is important. For example I want to be more of a change agent then I probably am, at least according to the test. Then there is my tendency to underestimate my expertise. Secondly, I started working at a new district in January, less than eight months ago and we have been on summer break for two of those months. I don't know the schools, the staff, the culture, the key players, or even where (or if) I'll be working next year. This really is an exercise in; if I'm working next year and at this school as the unknown, but new principal, this is how I think I will score.

I first filled out the paper based self assessment sheet (linked here). The next day I filled out the online survey. As you can see I added a column for those results. I thought it interesting that only 25% of the numbers differed more than one point. The only one that differed two points was my underestimation of my involvement in curriculum.

I thought the online assessment, though hardly to be considered accurate, would be more accurate because it had several questions for each responsibility and included some specific actions that would be considered fulfilling those responsibilities. If it is more accurate then I underestimated my abilities 80% of the time. This means I could be a better leader than I think I am, of course it might mean exactly the opposite.

There is a third interpretation. That interpretation would be that in the areas where I scored my self lowest compared to the online survey are the areas I feel are the most important to me as a leader. Thus I would want to become more experienced in those areas. Those areas would be in order of importance according to amount underestimated.

  1. Involvement with curriculum instruction and assessment

  2. Monitor Evaluation

  3. Relationships
The corollary then would be the areas I think are least important are where I over estimated my abilities.

  1. Change Agent

  2. Communication

  3. Culture

While I would be ready to put the first 3 at the top of the list I'm not sure I would put communication or culture at the bottom. Change Agent, now that would depend on the school. In the school I was thinking about while doing this exercise I don't think a Change Agent is necessary. Not to say it can't be improved, rather, I think the previous principal implemented the major changes necessary to revitalize the school and what is needed now is a leader who can continue those reforms.

This of course is a problem I see too often in schools. Reforms are begun and start to see success then they fizzle because grants end, leadership changes, enthusiasm wanes, or a new fad comes along*. In this school at this time I would be the principal who continues the reforms started by the previous principal and hopefully refines and develops them into a lasting change. I would not shake things up and change everything again.

*I'm pretty sure a similar thought was in one of the readings this week I just can't figure out where.


Inc, Jossey-Bass, & Fullan, Michael. (2007). The Jossey-bass reader on educational leadership. San
          Francisco, Ca: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T, & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works from research to
          results. New York, NY: ASCD.

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