About Standards

What are Leadership Standards?

State standards and policies communicate expectations for school leaders’ practices and inform efforts to support leadership talent development, including the following aspects of school leadership:

  • Preparation
  • Licensure
  • Professional development
  • Performance evaluation
  • Professional advancement

The History of the ISLLC Standards

In 1996, with funding from the Wallace Foundation, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Governors Association and other organizations worked with scholars and practitioners from across the United States to develop national policy standards for school leaders. The Inter-state School Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) policy standards, for the first time, provided state and district leaders guidance on what school leaders should know and do. The standards describe what all school leaders, regardless of grade level or context, can do to strengthen organizations, support teachers, lead instruction, and advance student learning. The ISLLC (2008) standards are about:

  1. Setting a widely shared vision for learning;
  2. Developing a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning 
and staff professional growth;
  3. Ensuring effective management of the organization, operation, and resources for a 
safe, efficient, and effective learning environment;
  4. Collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse 
community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources;
  5. Acting with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner; and
  6. Understanding, responding to, and influencing the political, social, legal, and cultural contexts.

As school leaders’ work changes, the standards will change. Since their initial development in 1996, the ISLLC standards were revised in 2008, and they are currently being revised and updated to reflect changes in school leadership expectations. In response to the changing roles and responsibilities of school principals, the ISLLC standards are being refreshed in 2015, following an extensive development and vetting process. This is part of the ISLLC Leadership Standards Refresh Project funded by the Wallace Foundation, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA).

How Are the ISLLC Standards Used?

Many states have adopted or adapted the ISLLC standards for use in their own state contexts. In addition, national organizations such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) have integrated standards into principal preparation program review processes.

The following publications have been produced by researchers to describe ISLLC standards in practice.

Educational Leadership Policy Standards - ISLLC - 2008 (PDF)

ISLLC Performance Standards - Limited Print Edition (PDF)