CREATE Vision: The vision of the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE) is improved student learning, development, and achievement in PK-12 schools, institutes of higher education, and other educational settings.

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President's Message 

Dear CREATE Colleagues,

2016 will be the 25th anniversary of CREATE. When Daniel Stufflebeam and colleagues first conceptualized CREATE, they were focused on the scarcity of knowledge that those in education had of best practices for student, personnel, and program evaluation. In 2016, we still face challenges in implementing best practices. Our present accountability systems often are on shaky ground and sometimes seem to rely more on political and ideological rationales than they do empirical evidence of what works best.  We still neglect the formative side of assessment and continue to be obsessed with standardized testing.
Further, higher education as well as Prek-12 systems have been brought into the accountability mix as assessment and evaluation become an important component to accreditation and survival.

In this dynamic context, CREATE hopes to continue through its conference and consortium activities to support assessment and evaluation practices that work. One piece of evidence of that work is the “White Paper” that is part of this newsletter on standards for training school principals that was written by several members of the CREATE board. The paper examines principal preparation, not only in the United States, but also Canada, Australia, and China. As we move forward with our consortium work, we will continue to produce work such as this to help provide further value to your involvement with CREATE.  

Of course, the CREATE conference will again take place this year, and with this being the 25th anniversary, we are planning what we believe is a high quality program. So, it is with great pleasure that I invite you to the 25th CREATE conference in Louisville, Kentucky September 29-October1, 2016 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Louisville Downtown. The CREATE conference has always provided a forum for sharing effective practices and has provided knowledge to researchers and practitioners  about evaluation practices that have utility in improving teaching and learning. The 2016 conference will be no exception.  We plan on a lively conference that addresses both the advances and challenges of the last 25 years as well as current best practices in assessment and evaluation.  

We will be in touch with more details about the conference including the call for papers in the near future.

We look forward to seeing you in Louisville! 

James Van Haneghan, CREATE President

In this issue:

CREATE Conference 2016

We are pleased to announce our CREATE Conference 2016 will take place in Louisville, Kentucky! We look forward to convening at the Embassy Suites Downtown.

September 29-October 1, 2016

What a wonderful city and opportunity to network with colleagues. Remember our special doctoral student poster session where students present their work and receive wonderful feedback.

We hope to see you there! 
Why Graduate Students Attend CREATE Conference 2016

by Jessica Harlan
University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

This week, as I dug out of the recent blizzard here on the east coast, I found myself thinking about Spring. A time when things in hibernation start to emerge seems like a perfect time to start planning to share your emerging research. If you are a graduate student, I would like to heartily encourage you to both attend and present at CREATE. Our doctoral track poster session in particular is a great opportunity for students to present and discuss their emerging research.  

In 2014, I had the chance to present my emerging graduate research at CREATE. Every faculty member and researcher who came by my poster was friendly and excited to talk about both my dissertation research as well as how that fit with my career goals.  At the 2015 CREATE Conference, I served on the review panel for the doctoral student poster session. We had the honor to see graduate research projects at all phases of completion, from pre-proposal to completion. As I talked with the presenting students, I was impressed with the care and effort evident in each of their projects. 

I was also able to observe the students talking with other researchers. I heard the researchers provide students with suggestions for other literature to investigate as well as ideas for improving methodology. Students were also able to see the work being done by doctoral students at other universities and discuss ways that they could learn from and help each other. The feedback from both researchers and students was focused on increasing understanding and improving research. If you are someone who has not presented research findings before, this is the ideal place to start.  

In my opinion, one of the most valuable parts of CREATE is the chance to hear directly from teachers, principals, and district staff. As you’ll see in the announcements about the conference, we encourage people in school and district-level positions to bring their own research about what is and isn’t working in the real world. At many other conferences I have attended, the majority of presenters are full-time researchers. While full-time researchers have a wealth of knowledge to share, they are often not involved in the day-to-day activities of a classroom. At CREATE, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from both groups. I’ve found that this combination of presenters helps me to better bridge the research to practice gap.

This year, I’ll be attending CREATE as a newly graduated PhD. As I reflect on what my work with and presentations at CREATE have brought me, the greatest has been my involvement in a community of dedicated, talented, and kind researchers. At CREATE, I was able to interact with other graduate students, practitioners, and new and experienced researchers. Through CREATE, I was better able to refine my own research, become involved in task forces and review panels, and have found other researchers to collaborate and publish with. This year, I encourage you to meet with us at CREATE in Louisville for engaging conversations, practical learning, and a beautiful location. It’s time to start building your own network!

CREATE Conference 2015, Charleston, SC

CREATE Conference 2015 took place in Charleston, South Carolina, from October 8 to 10. The conference theme was Best Research and Practice in Assessing Students, Teachers, Principals, and School Effectiveness. The Charleston County School District (CCSD) co-partnered with CREATE for the 2015 conference. Heavy rains and flooding occurred in Charleston a week before the event, but the roads cleared and the decision was made to hold the conference. 

An enthusiastic group of researchers and educators gathered at the Embassy Suites North Charleston the afternoon of October 8 to hear Dr. Chris Gareis conduct a pre-session on classroom assessment. The next day, CCSD superintendent Gerrita Postlewait welcomed attendees to the conference. The opening conference keynoter was Matt Clifford from AIR. Dr. Clifford’s keynote was Growing Talent: Strategies for Investing in Educators to Optimize Learning. Breakout sessions took place throughout the day focused on program evaluation, assessment, accountability, and teacher and principal effectiveness studies. Mid-day the Jason Millman outstanding evaluator award was presented to Joan Herman, Co-Director Emeritus at CRESST/UCLA. Her luncheon address was The Role of Teachers’ Formative Assessment Practices in Achieving Deeper Learning. Late afternoon the annual doctoral poster session was took place and attendees had the opportunity to ask doctoral students questions about their research. Doctoral student Daina Lieberman from The George Washington University was awarded the Achilles-Harper-Swenson Emerging Researcher award for her outstanding study on The Administrative Distribution of Teacher Assignments: Teacher Perceptions and Connections to Retention, Attrition, and Tracking.

The morning of October 10, selected educators from the Charleston County School District opened the final day of the conference. As members of a panel they talked about educator effectiveness from the prospective of teacher, principal, and instructional coach. The conference closed with the CREATE business meeting which included thanking Leslie Grant for her service as CREATE president. Next year’s conference will take place in Louisville, Kentucky.

How do we Prepare and Evaluate Principals?  
A CREATE White Paper
(CREATE Conference, 2015)

William Sterrett, UNC-Wilmington; Leslie Grant, College of William and Mary; John Fischetti, University of Newcastle; Don Klinger, Queens University; and Paula Egelson, SREB

School-level leadership has received increasing attention as researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers across the globe have come to realize the direct impact that school leaders have on teaching and learning (Hallinger & Huber, 2012).  Since its inception in 1995, CREATE has been on the forefront of contributing to the discussion of school leadership, in particular focusing on the development of standards and educator evaluation. For this paper, we provide an overview of the current context of the principalship in four different countries highlighting common elements as well as points of departure in Australia, Canada, China, and the United States. Specifically we focus on principal preparation, the development of standards for principals, and evaluation trends.    

Download full White Paper here.

The Achilles-Harper-Swenson Emerging Researcher Award: Daina Lieberman

The Administrative Distribution of Teaching Assignments: Teacher Perceptions and Connections to Retention, Attrition, and Tracking
Daina Lieberman, The George Washington

The purpose of this study is to investigate and describe the strategies and rationale employed by administrators in the distribution of teaching assignments, the factors teachers perceive to influence the teaching assignment process, whether teachers and administrators believe the process affects teacher retention, and whether teachers believe power relations play a role in the process.  The literature demonstrated that teachers’ perceptions of administrators had the greatest effect on teacher retention (Boyd et al., 2011; Gardner, 2010) and social conditions, including principal leadership, school culture, and relationships with colleagues, were the work conditions that best predicted teachers’ job satisfaction and career decisions (Johnson et al., 2012).  In addition, power relations and administrative decision-making in schools, both of which may affect the teaching assignment distribution process, affected teachers’ perceptions of their working conditions and could therefore affect teacher career decisions (Noel et al., 2008; Overton, 2009).  
There is evidence to suggest that the teaching assignment process affects teacher career decisions and therefore teacher retention.  Understanding what administrators believe influences their decisions and what teachers perceive influences those decisions will shed light on how the teaching assignment process works and how it might affect teacher career decisions.  Underlying conditions that affect these factors include psychological contract, trust, communication, and power relations between teachers and administrators. Findings should help central office and school-based administrators understand the teaching assignment process and make improvements to that process in order to retain high quality teachers.
This study will utilize basic interpretive design (Merriam, 2009) and  a critical theory lens.  Critical research in education asks questions about who has access to power, whose interests are being served, and who has the power to create change (Merriam, 2009).  Administrators control the process of teaching assignment distribution.  Some teachers may possess social capital (Bourdieu, 1986) and have the ability to leverage their desires through their reputation and connections to other colleagues.  Bourdieu’s concept of misrecognition (Pajak & Green, 2010) explains how people perceive power relations as legitimate.  I will investigate how teachers and administrators experience power relations as an influence on the teaching assignment process.             
My conceptual framework is based on psychological contract, trust, communication, and transparency.  Rousseau’s (1989) research on psychological contracts will be important in understanding teachers’ expectations and reactions to breach of contract in the teaching assignment process.  Tschannen-Moran and Hoy (1998)’s description of the five faces of trust will help me connect teacher trust in administrators to psychological contract.  Klein (2012) found transparency to be related to teacher trust in administrators and reduced conflict between teachers and administrators (Klein, 2012) while other researchers have found communication to be related to decreased teacher burnout and increased job satisfaction (De Nobile & McCormick, 2008; Rajesh & Suganthi, 2013).

CREATE Remembers Kathleen Meagher

On December 15, 2015 the education community suffered a significant loss. Kathleen Meagher, Director of Secondary Instruction with Arlington County Public Schools, passed away in a tragic accident while on vacation. Kathleen was a bright and shining star whose passion significantly impacted those with whom she worked. 

Kathleen began her career as a teacher, school-based administrator, and central office administrator. In 2014 she moved from Palo Alto, California, to Washington DC with her partner, Ann Dunkin, to begin her career in Arlington County. In the summer of 2014 she embarked on a journey to complete her doctorate through the Executive Ed.D. program at the College of William and Mary. She quickly emerged as a leader in her Executive Ed.D. cohort and presented her developing research at the 2015 CREATE Conference’s doctoral student poster session. CREATE reviewers commented on the significance of her study and her passion and dedication to exploring the effectiveness of 1:1 device initiatives designed to meet personalized learning goals in schools.

Those who have worked with Kathleen remember her positive approach, her desire to do the right thing for the right reasons, and her impact on all those who had an opportunity to work with her. Her passion and dedication truly elevated those around her. The CREATE organization honors her and the positive impact she had in K12 schools and the broader educational community. 

The description of her presentation is provided below. 

Getting to Personalized Learning, 2015 CREATE Conference, Charleston, SC
Kathleen Meagher, Arlington Public Schools/The College of William and Mary
This poster presentation focuses on the development of a program evaluation plan to assess the progress of a school division towards meeting its goal of personalized learning. The division is in the early stages of implementing a 1:1 initiative as a way to meet this goal. Presentation includes a logic model, research questions, and plans for data collection and analysis.

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Copyright © 2016
Newsletter Editors: Dr. Jennifer Clayton (GWU), Dr. Paula Egelson (SREB), and Dr. Margie DeSander (WKU)