Setting Proficiency Standards for School Leadership Assessment: An Examination of Cut Score Decision Making

Xiu Chen Cravens, Ellen B. Goldring, Andrew C. Porter, Morgan S. Polikoff, Joseph Murphy, Stephen Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Performance evaluation informs professional development and helps school personnel improve student learning. Although psychometric literature indicates that a rational, sound, and coherent standard-setting process adds to the credibility of an assessment, few studies have empirically examined the decision-making process. This article sheds light on the inner workings of setting cut scores for leadership proficiency from the deliberative perspectives of expert-panel participants, including principals, teachers, district supervisors, and researchers. Research Design: Qualitative methods are used to observe and document a standards-setting process as it takes place and to analyze the results. Findings: The findings indicate that setting cut scores for principal leadership proficiency is a cognitively demanding but achievable process for effective implementation of carefully designed procedures. The study also provides insight regarding the influence of external factors, such as backgrounds of panelists, consideration of school contexts, and concerns about consequence during the standard-setting deliberation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-160
Number of pages37
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • assessment
  • cut score
  • evaluation
  • proficiency standard
  • school leadership
  • standard setting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Setting Proficiency Standards for School Leadership Assessment: An Examination of Cut Score Decision Making'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this