A study to identify the prevailing cognitive disposition of those trained as assessors for the School Administrator[']s Skills Assessment program
Administrators remain the most influential force behind school improvement, which means the development of effective administrators is critical. If the present public educational system is to meet the challenges posed by competing entities, educational leaders will need to look beyond mere technical, managerial "know how" to a redirection of purposes and goals. The current emphasis placed on principals to guard the status quo must be replaced by emphasizing leaders who can develop visions of the future and reshape their schools. Principals are needed who can connect routine activities and decisions made within the school to the larger cultural dimensions. In order for principals to make these connections, they must first be able to recognize what the most critical issues are, and second, recognize the important elements that frame these issues. The theoretical framework of the study is that of multi-frame thinking proposed by Lee G. Bolman and Terrance E. Deal. This study is based on the premise that all four frames presented by Bolman and Deal (i.e. structural, human resource, political, and symbolic) are significant predictors of effective leadership that developing administrators need, with the symbolic frame holding the greatest promise for leadership that results in school reculturing. Principal development and assessment will play a key role in determining the effectiveness of current and future leaders. The School Administrator's Skills Assessment (SASA) program is one process that principals can elect to participate in to satisfy the legislative mandate for administrators to receive assessment every five years. An important research issue is to determine whether the assessors enter the process with the cognitive frames predisposition that will enable them to identify the presence or absence of multi-frame principal behavior and use this information to support effective leadership development within administrators. This study is designed to identify the cognitive frame disposition of those trained as assessors, which in turn will influence how they assess principals participating in the SASA program. The state of Texas is now committed to using the SASA program as a significant means to assess principals and contribute to their continuous professional growth. Bolman and Deal (1997) have found that leaders with narrow, single-framed perspectives cannot be effective long-term. This study is designed to determine whether the SASA assessor's schemas reflect multi-frame analysis.