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Introduction to CalAPA Leadership Cycles

In 2000, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) began a comprehensive effort to update and revise standards, policies, and regulations relating to the licensure of school administrators and the accreditation of the programs that prepare school administrators. This effort has been motivated by advancements in both the research regarding and practices of effective school administrators and by the complex needs of California’s public schools at the dawn of the 21st Century.
Based on 20 years of experience improving the design and use of performance assessment as one of multiple measures to inform teacher candidate preparedness, in September 2013, the Commission amended the requirements for earning the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential to include the passage of a performance assessment along with the successful completion of a CTC-approved administrator preparation program.

Assessment Design

Since 2016, the CTC has engaged a 15-member design team of practitioners and administrative educators, including representatives from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California Association of Professors of Educational Administration (CAPEA), California Teachers Association (CTA), and the California Department of Education. Along with assessment development experts from the CTC and the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, the team has designed an assessment system called the California Administrator Performance Assessment (CalAPA).
The CalAPA has been purposefully structured to address the state’s Administrator Performance Assessment Design and Program Implementation Standards as well as key elements of the California Administrator Performance Expectations (CAPE). The CAPE are aligned with the California Professional Standards for Education Leaders (CPSEL). Adopted by the CTC in June
2016, the CAPE provide the conceptual and practical basis for the following three leadership cycles that comprise the CalAPA, with a focus on organizational development, change management, and instructional leadership. The three CalAPA Leadership Cycles are:

  • Leadership Cycle 1: Analyzing Data to Inform School Improvement and Promote Equity

  • Leadership Cycle 2: Facilitating Communities of Practice

  • Leadership Cycle 3: Supporting Teacher Growth

Each leadership cycle includes four inquiry oriented steps: (1) investigate, (2) plan, (3) act, and (4) reflect. The Commission’s CalAPA model provides an overarching conceptual framework of progressively interrelated cognitive steps to help guide and refine the administrative candidate’s thinking and encourage decision-making throughout each cycle.

The CalAPA is intended to provide both a formal assessment of candidate administrative ability and a framework of performance-based guidance during the candidate’s administrator preparation program to inform candidate preparation and continued professional growth through induction. Analytic feedback provided at the completion of each cycle will facilitate data-driven collaboration and reflection by the candidate in preparing for subsequent assessment cycles. Performance data will be shared with institutions to assist them in making program improvements and will guide induction programs as they work with new administrators to individualize learning plans. The CalAPA is designed to be embedded within the field placement of an administrator preparation program so that the candidate may draw on authentic evidence of equitable leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities from clinical practice.
The three leadership cycles were developed to build on each other, but may be completed independently and in any order deemed appropriate by an administrator preparation program. Information fyers below are available below for each CalAPA Leadership Cycle.
In the EADM program students receive support to complete the three CalAPA Cycles through their coursework in three specific courses and fieldwork.  As of the 2019-2020 academic year students must register and pay to take each CalAPA assessment and achieve a passing score on each of the assessments in order to apply for their administrative credential through CTC.  

Cycle #1 Overview

Data Analysis

Cycle #2 Overview


Cycle #3 Overview