Administrator preparation programs: Impact on job preparedness and learning

Date of Completion

January 1996


Education, Administration|Education, Higher




The demands for improved education, the dissatisfaction with current, traditional administrative training, and the need to prepare candidates for future educational leadership positions have challenged universities to reconceptualize their administrator preparation programs. Many colleges and universities have responded to the calls for reform by developing non-traditional programs that include internships, mentoring relationships, reflective practice, and cohorts.^ This study used a modified naturalistic design to explore how these program components prepared school leaders for their jobs and to examine perceptions of administrators' job preparedness. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, the researcher collected three types of data: audiotaped, semi-structured interviews with 25 administrators who were graduates of one of five administrator preparation programs in New England; artifacts from universities; and surveys measuring the job preparedness of administrators. The researcher analyzed the qualitative data using taxonomic and domain analysis. Independent t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to analyze the survey data.^ An analysis of the survey data indicated that there was a significant statistical difference in teachers' perceptions of the traditional and non-traditional administrators' job preparedness, yet a practical interpretation of survey data suggested that the administrators were perceived to be very well prepared for their jobs regardless of their administrative training. There were no significant differences in administrators' self-perceptions of job preparedness.^ The findings also include discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of student cohorts, the key role of reflection within a program, the authenticity and connectedness provided by an internship, and the importance of mentoring relationships. A cognitive apprenticeship model of administrator preparation is proposed. The model is based on principles of adult learning and cognitive psychology and integrates the program components (i.e., internships, mentoring relationships, reflective practice, and cohorts) into the six features of the model that include: situated learning, modeling, coaching, reflection, articulation, and exploration. Assessment has been added as an additional feature since it is an important component of teaching and learning. ^