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E – portfolio

In many fields such as architecture, engineering, medicine, design, and higher education, portfolio development and assessment has become the preferred method of professional development, assessment and evaluation (Mestry&Schmidt, 2010). In fact, the use of comprehensive standards based portfolios in both the formative and summative evaluation and assessment of teacher and administrator candidates has become the norm for numerous Colleges of Education across the United States (Vyortkina, 2003). Therefore, the use of a professional E-Portfolio as the primary organizational tool for documents and data that demonstrates a building principal’s level of competence, based on the growing trend to facilitate a reflective practice and to provide for a more in depth analysis into a professional’s level of competence and expertise as has been previously stated, makes sense.

From 1999 to 2002 the State of Ohio was one of five states that participated in field testing a portfolio assessment for school leaders, which was designed by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) and Educational Testing Services (ETS). A follow-up qualitative study involving a small sample of principals that participated in this field test had mixed results. Some principals found portfolios to be extra work and concluded that it did not benefit their leadership capacity, whereas many of them found the portfolio process to enhance their individual leadership growth when it was specifically connected to a community reflective approach. In other words, principals that could be afforded the opportunity for collaborative discourse on the development of the portfolio found greater personal benefit than those that were not afforded the same opportunity (Johnston&Thomas, 2005).

Marcoux, Brown, Irby and Lara-Alecio (2003) conducted a case study on the use of portfolios in the principal evaluation process in a rural K-12 district in New York and found that the process not only facilitated the overall leadership effectiveness but also had a measureable impact on student achievement. Additionally, teacher professional development was found to be more focused and the embedded collaboration and communication with the district’s superintendent improved the principal’s individual reflective skills. By collecting data and artifacts to document his/her individual leadership work and efforts, the principal is forced to continually look at data and reflect on what works and what does not work (Marcoux et al., 2003).

With the proposed New Jersey model, principals would be required to develop an E-Portfolio documenting their accomplishments and growth in each of the school leadership domains identified by ISLLC 2008 – Vision (Standard I), Instruction (Standard II), Management (Standard III), Community (Standard IV), Ethics (Standard V) and the Larger World Context (Standard VI), similar to the Ohio field test and the practice found in Virginia (Catano&Stronge, 2006). The portfolio would be comprised of artifacts that provide evidence of principal candidates’ level of competency in each of the six ISLLC domains (Brown-Sims, 2010). Documentation to be included in the e-portfolio would be mutually agreed upon by the principal candidate and his/her evaluating supervisor and/or structured interview panel. This need for collaborative discourse is essential as the previous studies in both Ohio and New York indicate.

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Source:  OpenStax, Education leadership review special issue: portland conference, volume 12, number 3 (october 2011). OpenStax CNX. Oct 17, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11362/1.5
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