Administrators, standards, and technology


at the TechLearning blog


There are two primary standards documents for school administrators: ISLLC

and ELCC. Together they broadly define the parameters of school leaders' work.

They also guide school district position descriptions; administrator evaluations

and assessments; state licensure, certification, and accreditation expectations;

and the content and coursework of postsecondary leadership preparation



The Interstate

School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards for School Leaders


ISLLC), were created by the Council of Chief State School Officers and are the

foundation of nearly every state's standards for administrator licensure and

certification. The ISLLC framework was adopted in 1996 and is organized around

six basic standards. The ISLLC standards note that a "school administrator

is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by...

  1. facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship

of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school


  • advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional
  • program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth;

  • ensuring management of the organization, operations, and resources for a
  • safe, efficient, and effective learning environment;

  • collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse
  • community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources;

  • acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner; and
  • understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social,
  • economic, legal, and cultural context.

    The ISLLC standards only mention technology twice:

    • the administrator has knowledge and understanding of the role of

    technology in promoting student learning and professional growth


    Standard 2); and

  • the administrator facilitates processes and engages in activities ensuring
  • that there is effective use of technology to manage school operations

    (under Standard 3).


    The Educational

    Leadership Constituent Council standards

    (a.k.a. ELCC) were adopted by the

    National Council for Accreditation of Teacher


    and are used for accreditation of postsecondary educational

    leadership programs. The ELCC framework was adopted in 2001 and is organized

    around seven basic standards. The ELCC standards note that "[c]andidates who

    complete [educational administration programs] are educational leaders who have

    the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by...

    1. facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship

    of a school or district vision of learning supported by the school


  • promoting a positive school culture, providing an effective instructional
  • program, applying best practice to student learning, and designing comprehensive

    professional growth plans for staff;

  • managing the organization, operations, and resources in a way that promotes
  • a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment;

  • collaborating with families and other community members, responding to
  • diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources;

  • acting with integrity, fairly, and in an ethical manner; and
  • understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social,
  • economic, legal, and cultural context.

    The seventh ELCC standard has to do with preservice administrator


    As you can see, the ELCC standards are extremely similar to ISLLC. However,

    the ELCC standards mention technology a little more than does ISLLC:

    • candidates demonstrate the ability to use and promote technology and

    information systems to enrich curriculum and instruction, to monitor

    instructional practices and provide staff the assistance needed for improvement

    (under Standard 2);

  • candidates are able to use qualitative and quantitative data, appropriate
  • research methods, technology, and information systems to develop a long-range

    plan for a district that assesses the district's improvement and accountability

    systems (under Standard 2); and

  • candidates demonstrate knowledge of adult learning strategies and the
  • ability to apply technology and research
    to professional development design

    focusing on authentic problems and tasks, mentoring, coaching, conferencing, and

    other techniques that promote new knowledge and skills in the workplace (under

    Standard 2); and

  • candidates use problem-solving skills and knowledge of strategic,
  • long-range, and operational planning (including applications of technology) in

    the effective, legal, and equitable use of fiscal, human, and material resource

    allocation and alignment that focuses on teaching and learning (under Standard


    There also is some additional language regarding technology in the narrative

    sections accompanying Standards 2 and 3.


    The International Society for Technology in Education released its National Educational

    Technology Standards for Administrators

    (NETS-A) in 2001. The NETS-A are

    comprised of six broad standards and 31 performance indicators. The NETS-A state

    that "educational leaders..."

    1. inspire a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and

    foster an environment and culture conducive to the realization of that


  • ensure that curricular design, instructional strategies, and learning
  • environments integrate appropriate technologies to maximize learning and


  • apply technology to enhance their professional practice and to increase
  • their own productivity and that of others;

  • ensure the integration of technology to support productive systems for
  • learning and administration;

  • use technology to plan and implement comprehensive systems of effective
  • assessment and evaluation; and

  • understand the social, legal, and ethical issues related to technology and
  • model responsible decision-making related to these issues.

    The NETS-A do not align very well with the two main sets of administrator

    standards. To date they also have had little impact on most state licensure and

    accreditation efforts or on most university educational leadership programs.


    Should there be more mention of technology in either ISLLC or ELCC? Probably.

    That said, we also know that technology leadership is just one aspect of

    principals' and superintendents' busy lives. While we might wish that ISLLC and

    ELCC better recognized the ways that digital technologies are revolutionizing

    our personal and professional lives, we also must remember that school

    administrators are responsible for leading instruction, supervising and

    evaluating employees, budgeting, community relations, management and operations,

    and a variety of other duties. There's only so much time in administrators' days

    and we have to prioritize their time and energy.

    The NETS-A are an ambitious set of standards. While ideally all of the

    NETS-A capacities exist somewhere in the school organization, it is difficult to

    argue that a single person should be proficient in every single area the NETS-A

    cover. There will be some educators, whoever, who want a comprehensive program

    grounded in the NETS-A. The graduate programs offered by CASTLE, our partner universities,

    and a few other educational leadership programs are an attempt to meet that


    The ISLLC and ELCC standards dominate conversations and

    expectations regarding school administrator competency. The next iterations of

    both documents probably should more explicitly address the technological changes

    that are occurring in our society. Until then, anyone got a good

    NETS-A / ISLLC / ELCC crosswalk


    Other questions

    • Do you know of any comprehensive, high-quality, district-sponsored staff

    development efforts based on the NETS-A?

  • Are the NETS-A too ambitious for principals, superintendents, and/or central
  • office administrators?

  • Which NETS-A standard is most important for principals? Which is most
  • difficult for them to master?

  • Does your school organization and/or local university do a good job of
  • preparing administrators to be technology leaders?

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