Theory to Practice Exam Assignment Instructions
ELCC Content-Based Assessment #2
The Theory to Practice Exam is an essay assessment completed at the conclusion of EDAS 645 “Foundations for Educational Leaders” and EDUC 740 “Leadership Principles and Ethics.” The exam requires candidates to recall content knowledge learned in coursework and to apply it in a narrative form. There are two parts to the exam: Part 1 is made up of 4 short-essay items that directly request candidates to recall and expound upon content. Part 2 is case-based and requires candidates to respond in an extended essay format. Each case response is to follow a framework provided by a set of guiding questions.
Alignment with Standards
ELCC Standard Elements
Educational Leadership Constituent Council
ELCC 1.1 Candidates understand and can collaboratively develop, articulate, implement, and steward a shared vision of learning for a school.
ELCC 2.1 Candidates understand and can sustain a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning through collaboration, trust, and a personalized learning environment with high expectations for students.
ELCC 3.3 Candidates understand and can promote school-based policies and procedures that protect the welfare and safety of students and staff.
ELCC 3.4 Candidates understand and can develop school capacity for distributed leadership.
ELCC 4.2 Candidates understand and can mobilize community resources by promoting an understanding, appreciation, and use of the diverse cultural, social, and intellectual resources within the school community.
ELCC 4.3 Candidates understand and can respond to community interests and needs by building and sustaining positive school relationships with families and caregivers.
ELCC 5.2 Candidates understand and can model principles of self- awareness, reflective practice, transparency, and ethical behavior as related to their roles within the school.
ELCC 5.3 Candidates understand and can safeguard the values of democracy, equity, and diversity.
Part 1: Short Essay: The first part of the Theory to Practice Exam requires you to write four short-answer essays of at least 250 words in response to four content-knowledge items. Each response is to integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.
PART 1: SHORT ESSAY ITEMS
Short Essay Item 1: “Having been hired as the first principal of a new charter school, propose to the board a process for developing a shared vision of learning for the school. Include methods for involving stakeholders and apply theories relevant to building, implementing and stewarding the vision. Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.”
Short Essay Item 2: “As an educational leader, you are responsible for the teaching and learning aspect of education. Describe the learning environment for which you will strive. Include how you will apply theories of human development behavior, personalized learning environment, and motivation to influence school culture and to ensure student success. Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.”
Short Essay Item 3: “As a school administrator, how will you develop a plan of action to address needs of students, parents, and caregivers? Include approaches for collaboration with stakeholders and strategies for effective oral and written communication with families and caregivers. Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.”
Short Essay Item 4: “Ethical behavior is characterized by honesty, fairness, and equity in interpersonal, professional, and academic relationships. Explain how ethical behavior influences school culture, student achievement, and your own leadership. Support your statements with examples. Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.”
Part 2: Case Study: Two problem-based case studies comprise this portion of the Theory to Practice Exam. Respond to each case with at least a 500-word essay. Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways. The following set of questions serve as a framework for your responses, but you are also to ensure that you specifically address the questions at the end of each case study.
1. What specific problem is presented in the case?
2. How does what you learned in the courses in school administration and/or assigned texts apply to the problem?
3. What should be done to solve the problem?
4. Why did you select the particular solution that you did?
5. How will you know if the solution is successful?
PART 2: CASE-BASED ITEMS
Extended Response: Case 1 – “Crisis Management”
“You are the recently-hired principal of a suburban school consisting of approximately 1,000 students. At a Parent-Teacher Association meeting, some parents express concern about an increase in criminal activity in the neighborhood surrounding the school. Although there has not been an increase in discipline problems on campus during the school day, there have been some incidents of minor vandalism after school hours. As the principal of the school, you have also had concerns about crime in the area. Although you were not prepared to make a formal presentation to the parents, you have already made some small changes to improve security around campus by amending school-based discipline management policies and plans. Shortly after the meeting, the superintendent tells you that one of your first projects is to develop a comprehensive school crisis management plan. She informs you that the current plan was developed piecemeal, is outdated, and needs to be totally revamped.
“Describe strategies you would implement to support a safe and secure learning environment, including prevention, crisis management, and public relations. Considering the case scenario, what implications are there for a school-based discipline management policies and plans? Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.”
Extended Response: Case 2 – “A Changing Community”
“Over the course of the past 10 years, Lincoln High School and its surrounding community has changed dramatically. The area has also fallen on hard times economically as many of the industries have shipped jobs overseas. With the downturn in the economy and subsequent layoffs and falling property taxes, the urban-fringe community of Lincoln Heights has resisted raising local taxes or passing bond measures to raise funds to make much-needed repairs to the high school. This has hastened the change as many upper-middle class families have fled the community for the suburbs. Many of these were Caucasian families and the school racial demographics have changed from 55% Caucasian, 23% Latino, 16% African American, and 6% Asian to 36%, 29%, 25%, and 10%, respectively. Along with problems of an aging physical plant, Lincoln has failed to close the gaps between the academic success rates for those who are identified as economically disadvantaged or minority and their more affluent white classmates. To top it off, there has been a revolving door in the principal’s office, with three new administrators coming and going in the span of just 4 years. Each administrator publically expressed frustration with the district office and school board. An exasperated superintendent and school board realize the school is headed in the wrong direction and that a fundamental change in leadership philosophy and vision need to be made, but they cannot agree on how to move forward.
“If you were to apply for the principalship at this school, how would you convince the superintendent and school board that you have the knowledge base (1) to create an environment where distributed leadership is sustained; (2) to mobilize diverse community cultural resources; and (3) to safeguard the values of democracy, equity, and diversity? Integrate course content from the present and/or previous courses in educational leadership, applying theory to practice in meaningful, practical ways.”
ELCC 3.4 ELCC 4.2 ELCC 5.3
Rubric: Responses to both Part 1 and Part 2 items will be scored by a rubric representing the following three components: (a) Evidence of Meeting ELCC Standard Elements, (b) Mechanics, and (c) Composition skills. Each of the three components will be scored on one of the following performance levels as described by the quality indicators within the rubric:
NOT MET: Developing
NOT MET: No Evidence Provided
Expectations for mechanics and composition skills are evaluated in relation to appropriate English essentials (i.e., parts of speech, punctuation, mechanics, spelling, and grammar), sentence construction, and paragraph development (see The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) for information regarding specific expectations).