Free School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA) Practice

The School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA) is an exam used to test the competencies of entry-level education leaders. This test is used by states nationwide to grant credentials to a kindergarten through grade twelve administrator if he or she does not have a master's or doctoral degree. Each state sets the passing rate, so in California, a test taker should attain a score of 173 out of 200 questions to get the administrative credentials. Virginia, North Carolina, and New Jersey require a passing score of 163. The SLLA is reviewed by a national advisory committee of educators in the field and is based on the Interstate School Leaders License Consortium Standards (ISSLC). The ISSLC sets competencies for administrative leaders, such as relationships with the broader community; integrity and fairness; management of learning; vision and culture of learning; and an understanding of the social, legal, and economic factors influencing learning. It is important to know that each state sets their own teaching requirements, so test takers should make sure they are familiar with the requirements of their state. Once the state's requirements are known and the test taker is ready to take the exam, he or she can register at a convenient testing site nearby.

The SLLA is a four-hour exam, given three times a year, and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). This exam is distributed mainly by computer; however, in some instances, it may be paper based, divided into two sections with a total of 107 questions. SLLA is a timed test, so the first section of the exam consists of one hundred multiple-choice questions, and it should take approximately two hours and twenty minutes to complete. The second half of the exam consists of seven questions that require written responses and the rationales for choosing appropriate actions based on the data presented. Some parts of the SLLA exam are interactive, which means that the participant has to point to a graphic or drag and drop a selection to make a choice.

The ETS Web site has many free test materials, and some states offer courses to help prepare for the exam. The SLLA Web site offers many types of reference and testing materials as well. It is advised to review sample questions to get familiar with the types of questions asked on the exam. The SLLA is computer based, and accommodations are made for people who require it. The test questions are in the categories of vision and goals, teaching and learning, managing organizational systems and safety, collaborating with key stakeholders, ethics and integrity, and the education system.

Developing test-taking strategies helps test takers do their best on the exam. Respond to all parts of the question, and be careful when reading charts and graphs. As with most tests, proper identification is required upon check-in, and test takers should bring number 2 pencils, snacks, bottled water, and a pen with an eraser.

Free SLLA Practice Questions

1. What does research show about school leaders distributing leadership responsibilities for implementing a school vision and goals?

  1. The most effective leaders are found to influence student achievement and school efficacy directly.
  2. Today’s schools cannot be led by one principal without significant participation by other educators.
  3. The traditional model of single, formal leadership exists because teachers lack a principal’s expertise.
  4. Educational programs developed by one principal are easier for principals who follow to maintain.

2. Which of the following is the MOST effective strategy for a principal to communicate the school vision to school personnel?

  1. Morning announcements
  2. Sending a daily e-mail to staff
  3. Attending community events
  4. Meetings in one-way format

3. A principal has assembled a school vision oversight team and provided them with a variety of school data for background knowledge. The team is ready to engage school staff in developing a new school vision. Faculty members review the current vision statement, examples of others’ vision statements, and school data. The team divides staff into groups with discussion questions; for example, “What kind of school do we aspire to be?” What other question would apply?

  1. “How is our school just the same as any other school?”
  2. “What do we think our vision statement should reflect?”
  3. “What should we keep on doing to realize this vision?”
  4. “What is evidence we are meeting the current vision?”

4. Among standards informing effective professional development (PD) for teachers, which is/are most characteristic of strong school leaders?

  1. Valuing ongoing learning, promoting continuous improvement, and inquiry, collaboration, and problem-solving
  2. Realizing good PD’s value, promoting teacher participation, and communicating PD benefits to stakeholders
  3. Human, financial, and temporal contributions; allocation coordination; and investment return assessments
  4. Rigorous analysis of varied, disaggregated student data for proficiency standards, learning gaps, and results

5. What best reflects research findings about factors influencing school achievement gaps?

  1. School curriculum and resources correlate with student achievement more strongly than socioeconomic status (SES).
  2. SES correlates more strongly with achievement than school resources.
  3. Student SES correlates more strongly with student achievement than school curriculum does.
  4. Student achievement correlates more strongly with SES and school resources than curriculum.

Answers and Explanations

1. B: Researchers have found that the most effective school leaders have powerful influences over student achievement and school effectiveness; that these influences are indirect (a); that today’s schools cannot be led by one principal without other educators’ participating significantly (b); that the traditional model of single formal leadership neglects utilizing the valuable expertise of teachers (c); and that it is harder to sustain programs and improvements instituted under one principal after that principal leaves the school (d).

2. B: Successful school principals report that daily morning public announcements (a) are best for communicating school vision to students. For staff, a brief, succinct daily e-mail is best for combining and connecting administrative details and useful information with school vision (b), also showing that principals value staff time. Attending community events (c) is best for communicating school vision to stakeholders beyond campus. Effective meetings are two-way interactions (d), best for staff affirmation, collaborative opportunities, and internal highlight sharing. Most one-way communications can be handled through e-mails (b).

3. B: To engage them in developing a vision statement, questions the vision oversight team can ask small groups of staff (eight or fewer) to discuss include the following: how their school differs from other schools (a); what they think their vision statement should reflect (b); what they need to do differently to realize the new vision (c); and what evidence they can identify that they are meeting the current vision (d). These topics elicit key values, beliefs, and ideas as the genesis of strong visions.

4. B: Valuing ongoing learning and promoting continuous improvement, inquiry, collaboration, and problem solving (a) are characteristics of vibrant learning communities as professional development (PD) contexts. Realizing the value of good PD, promoting teacher participation, and communicating PD benefits to key stakeholders (b) are characteristics of strong school leaders. Human, financial, and temporal contributions, and assessments of allocation coordination and investment returns (c), are characteristics of sufficient resources and their effective use. Analyzing student data to identify proficiency standards, learning gaps, and assessment and behavioral results (d) is characteristic of rigorous data analysis by schools and districts.

5. A: Research conducted over recent decades finds that although socioeconomic status (SES) correlates strongly with student academic achievement, both available school resources and school curriculum correlate even more strongly with student achievement than SES. Researchers say these findings should motivate school leaders and schools to reduce achievement gaps rather than blame them on family or community SES.


Last Updated: 08/24/2017

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