Study Guide

Field 248: Superintendent 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of three sections: 1) a listening section in which you will listen to audio passages and answer selected-response questions, 2) a selected-response section in which you will respond to questions presented on the screen, and 3) a constructed-response assignment. The directions for each section appear immediately before that section.

Each question in the first two sections of this test is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer. You should answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The third section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the testing session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001 
Apply knowledge of how to lead the collaborative development and implementation of a district mission and vision that reflect core organizational values and priorities and how to lead continuous district improvement processes that promote success and well-being for every student.

1. A school district has recently adopted a new mission and vision that emphasize high levels of learning and success for every student. The superintendent is working with the district leadership team to define specific goals that will need to be achieved to attain the mission and vision. Which of the following types of information would likely be most useful to the superintendent during this process?

  1. demographic projections for the local community
  2. student assessment data for districts across the state
  3. patterns in teacher evaluation data from recent years
  4. current and projected revenues and budget allocations

Correct Response: C. Research has demonstrated that high-quality teaching has a greater positive effect on student achievement than such factors as a school's budget, students' socioeconomic backgrounds, or whether a student has a specific disability. Although many types of information are important for district leaders to consider when defining district goals for attaining a mission and vision, an understanding of the quality of district teachers will be the most helpful.

Competency 0002 
Apply knowledge of how to provide a comprehensive, coherent, and equitable curricular and instructional program across district schools, using research-supported best practices in instruction and assessment that promote academic success and well-being for every student.

2. A school district is designing a new data report that will be used to share the results of interim and end-of-year standardized assessments with classroom teachers throughout the year. The report is most likely to support improvements in instruction and student outcomes if it provides information that allows teachers to answer which of the following questions?

  1. What percentage of my students answered each question on the test correctly?
  2. How did my students' performance compare with that of students in other classrooms?
  3. What changes in my students' performance are evident from one test to the next?
  4. How many of my students in each subgroup were able to meet the test's passing standard?

Correct Response: A. Each question on an effective standardized assessment is designed to measure students' mastery of a particular learning objective. When teachers review the percentage of students answering each question correctly, they are able to understand the degree to which students have mastered the objective being assessed. These data then inform teachers' instructional practice, allowing them to adjust instructional plans and re-teach content as needed. The end result is improved teacher quality and student achievement.

Competency 0003 
Apply knowledge of how to build and sustain an inclusive, supportive district culture and learning environment that is focused on high expectations, equity, and achievement and well-being for every student across district schools.

3. In a district with a reputation for high student achievement, students with disabilities perform poorly on state and interim assessments and have shown little or no progress for several years. A local advocacy group for students with disabilities forms to advocate for increased district accountability for results. The superintendent and other district leaders agree with the group's goals and concerns. However, a review of the district's special education program finds a high level of compliance with procedural requirements in students' Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). In this situation, the superintendent's best initial action would be to:

  1. request that the advocacy group define specific performance targets for students with IEPs.
  2. meet with stakeholder groups to reach consensus on prioritizing concerns about students with IEPs.
  3. institute procedures for training faculty in research-based instructional practices for students with IEPs and promoting their use.
  4. work with the advocacy group to develop plans to assess students with IEPs through the Oklahoma Alternate Assessment Program (OAAP).

Correct Response: C. While engagement with district stakeholders is an important part of an overall plan to close the achievement gap for students with IEPs, the most effective initial action the superintendent can take is to provide teachers with sustained professional development on specific, research-based instructional practices that will help them meet the learning needs of students with IEPs. Taking this step should yield improvements in the academic performance of students with IEPs and demonstrate action for the advocacy group.

Competency 0004 
Apply knowledge of systems for supervising, supporting, and evaluating school and district staff; how to build a professional culture; and how to provide professional growth and development activities, including leadership development, that help ensure success and well-being for every student.

4. A superintendent reviews professional growth plans that were recently completed for all the teachers in the district's middle school. In meeting with the middle school principal to discuss the plans, which of the following issues would be most appropriate for the superintendent to emphasize as a concern?

  1. Many of the teachers' plans show little or no alignment with school and district improvement plans.
  2. The plans do not provide a sound research basis for the teachers' goals or for strategies to achieve the goals.
  3. Many of the plans focus on specific aspects of a teacher's performance rather than overall development.
  4. The plans are inconsistent in the number and types of goals and in how teachers are expected to meet their goals.

Correct Response: A. If a school district is to achieve its goals, all stakeholders need to align their own growth plans with the improvement plans of both their school and the district. This will ensure that schools, principals, and teachers are all moving in the same direction and working toward the same goal of success for every student.

Competency 0005 
Apply knowledge of principles and practices of human resource and organizational management that develops the professional capacity of district schools, supports continuous improvement of the district, and helps ensure success and well-being for every student.

5. A teacher suffers a spinal cord injury and, as a result, is unable to walk. The teacher requires the use of a wheelchair but has no other physical or cognitive disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the school district in which the teacher works will most likely be obligated to:

  1. dismiss the teacher because student safety may be jeopardized.
  2. reassign the teacher to classes that require less teacher-led instruction.
  3. limit the teacher's classroom duties by assigning classes to other teachers.
  4. ensure that the teacher's building and classroom are accessible by wheelchair.

Correct Response: D. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against any qualified person with a disability. The teacher in this situation has a physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and would qualify as a person with a disability. The school district is obligated to make reasonable accommodations or adjustments to the work environment to permit the teacher to perform the essential functions of their job, such as ensuring that the teacher's work environment is wheelchair accessible.

Competency 0006 
Apply knowledge of principles and practices for fiscal and resource management, including budget development and resource allocation, and their use in promoting achievement of district goals and ensuring an efficient, equitable learning environment.

6. A superintendent is leading a committee of stakeholders in reviewing a substantial list of requests put forth by the staff in each district school. Limited fiscal resources are available to the district, so the committee must determine which requests should be treated as priorities. The superintendent can best facilitate this process by encouraging committee members to identify those requests that are likely to:

  1. be most useful in attaining one or more defined district goals.
  2. leave the highest level of district funding available for contingencies.
  3. affect the greatest number of students in one or more district schools.
  4. be perceived as most important by constituent groups across the district.

Correct Response: A. Most school districts are faced with limited resources and must develop criteria for making sound fiscal decisions. One such criteria is to prioritize funding requests that will support the attainment of one or more district goals. This strategy defines district priorities for stakeholders, helps the district meet improvement targets, and demonstrates effective fiscal management so that the district utilizes available resources to support student success.

Competency 0007 
Apply knowledge of district-level public school governance in Oklahoma; how to build positive, collaborative relationships with the district governing board, district and school administrators, and district and school staff; and how to advocate for the district.

7. A newly hired superintendent is assuming leadership in a district that has a history of contentious relations between administrators and members of the district governing board. During one-on-one meetings, some board members describe being surprised by proposals and decisions that were made by the previous superintendent with little input from the board. The new superintendent can most effectively begin to rebuild trust with the board by:

  1. recognizing and commending the contributions of board members to successful district initiatives.
  2. providing district information to the board in summaries that include minimal technical language and data.
  3. deferring to board members during public discussions regarding new district policies and changes to existing policy.
  4. communicating regularly with the board via weekly email updates on issues and developments affecting the district.

Correct Response: D. A critical responsibility of the superintendent is developing a positive working relationship with the district's governing board. Frequent communication from the superintendent would be an effective step in building a transparent and positive working relationship with the governing board. Weekly email updates will keep the board apprised about issues and new developments, as well as help board members accurately address concerns from stakeholders when they arise and make informed decisions.

Competency 0008 
Apply knowledge of laws, policies, regulations, and rules affecting education in Oklahoma, including the legal and policy dimensions of school safety and emerging challenges.

8. A superintendent can best ensure that relevant laws and regulations are applied consistently, fairly, and equitably in all aspects of district operations by taking which of the following actions?

  1. instituting a policy for reviewing relevant laws and regulations whenever a conflict or complaint arises between the district and stakeholders
  2. providing training to all school staff on how to identify relevant laws and regulations and how to use best practices in applying them to common situations that arise
  3. conducting a review of existing policies with respect to relevant laws and regulations and including such a review when adopting any new policy
  4. providing a summary of relevant laws and regulations to the local governing board to consult when questions about existing policies arise or a new policy is proposed

Correct Response: C. Laws and regulations represent directives from federal, state, or local governments for school districts, and it is each district's responsibility to develop procedures that ensure laws and regulations are applied consistently, fairly, and equitably. Each district must review its policies regularly in order to determine if they are equitable and fully aligned with relevant laws and regulations and make any adjustments necessary.

Competency 0009 
Apply knowledge of how to build positive, productive relationships with parents/guardians and families, community members and partners, and other stakeholders to meet district goals and promote the success and well-being of every student.

9. A superintendent is hired to lead a school district that serves a diverse population. The superintendent recognizes that parent/guardian and community engagement with the schools is very limited and establishes strengthening engagement as a priority. The superintendent can best initiate this effort by taking which of the following actions first?

  1. expanding and publicizing efforts to recruit and retain new faculty and staff from within the local community
  2. having district staff review and revise all school–home communications to ensure they are inclusive and reflect the diversity of the district
  3. working with school leaders to define additional roles and responsibilities for parent/guardian and community volunteers
  4. asking district principals to plan events at their schools that celebrate the diversity of the student population and are open to the community

Correct Response: B. A district's parent/guardian and community engagement strategies can represent an issue of equity. In this case, the most important first step for the superintendent is to initiate a review of school–home communications and determine if they present an obstacle to engagement. With the results of this review, the superintendent can begin the process of making any necessary revisions to communications to ensure they are inclusive, are readily available in languages spoken in the district, and support the goal of strengthening community engagement.

Competency 0010 
Apply knowledge of professional norms, ethical guidelines, and behavior expectations for superintendents and other educators in Oklahoma that promote success and well-being for every student.

10. Which of the following actions taken by a superintendent and district leadership team would contribute most to building a district organizational culture based on a strong commitment to professional norms and ethical behavior?

  1. establishing systems to hold district administrators, faculty, and staff accountable for practices that support every student's success and well-being
  2. modeling sensitivity to social, cultural, linguistic, and economic contexts in all interactions with district stakeholder groups
  3. providing regular professional development workshops across district schools on responding to emerging issues in education
  4. setting a district goal of ensuring that curriculum and instructional materials are inclusive and reflect the diversity of the student population

Correct Response: A. School and district personnel will be more likely to exhibit desired professional norms and ethical behavior when they are held accountable for supporting students' success and well-being. To hold staff accountable for their actions, district leaders must establish clear expectations, evaluate and provide feedback on meeting the expectations, and deliver consequences when a staff member fails to meet expectations even after being given a reasonable opportunity to improve.