A research study to measure the effectiveness of faculty leadership in schools, created by two University of Wisconsin professors, has shown potential to expand internationally.

Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning is a web-based program designed to evaluate the leadership skills of faculty members in public schools. Project Manager Mark Blitz began working on the project when it began in 2009 as a graduate student.

Blitz is a research associate in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Until the development of CALL, Blitz said most leadership assessments available to schools focused on the principal, but the work of school leaders should be measured to accurately assess school leadership effectiveness. 

The program automatically generates the results of a detailed survey distributed to all teachers, administrators and instructional support staff in a school and then identifies the areas most in need of improvement and the areas of strength for the school, he said.

School district administrators use CALL to support professional learning and to conduct district-wide needs assessments, Blitz said. Currently, several districts in Wisconsin are using CALL, and they are in discussions to expand to other school districts around the country.

Blitz said organizations such as the School Leaders Network, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement and University College in Denmark are using CALL to support their schools.

“We are also working with university scholars to develop other versions of CALL, such as a tool that measures school leadership for technology integration and a version of CALL for district-level leadership,” Blitz said.

Richard Halverson and Carolyn Kelley, professors in the UW School of Education’s Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Department and co-founders of the CALL system, started working on the ideas behind the survey items in 2003.

The program received its initial four year grant in 2009, and it has since been validated with more than 200 schools and thousands of educators, Halverson said.

“We were encouraged by the results of the validation process, and decided to build the capacity to provide CALL to educators throughout the country,” Halverson said.

The grant was administered through the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services helped move the program from the research stage to an active service provider, he said.

Blitz said WCER has provided resources and technical support to facilitate the research of CALL and WCEPS, a nonprofit organization, has been marketing CALL to schools across the country.

Halverson said the research team has developed versions of CALL for elementary, middle and high schools, as well as a version for district leadership. The team behind the project would like to provide all schools with the information resources they need to improve leadership, teaching and learning, he said.

CALL is receiving interest from the international community to develop a worldwide network, Halverson said. The results of the research suggest the possibility that they can see CALL becoming the “flagship instrument” in national school leadership research.

“UW-Madison resources and people were critical to the development of CALL,” Halverson said.