Category III: Performance Expectations for Leaders
CPSEL - DOP: CPSEL Descriptions of Practice (DOP)

The Descriptions of Practice respond to the essential question: What does effective leadership look like, not just in theory, but in practice? The DoP enhance the usefulness of professional standards for education leadership, the California Professional Standards for Education Leaders (CPSEL). They do so by depicting what those elements look like across a continuum of development, moving from basic to expert practice.

Used with standards for administrator leadership, e.g., the CPSEL, the descriptions provide users with common concepts, language, and examples that, together, can serve varied and sometimes overlapping purposes, such as a

  • starting point for developing credentialing criteria,
  • guide for planning leadership preparation or induction
  • lens for professional learning goals or outcomes,
  • basis for clarifying performance expectations, and
  • mirror for an administrator's self-reflection and professional goal-setting.

Determining a specific focus for any one of the CPSEL (standards) and companion DOP is shaped by the candidate's individual needs and context, for example, her or his role as CASC candidate, newly employed administrator, principal-superintendent, high school assistant principal, district director, special education administrator, middle or elementary school principal. While each administrator has common expectations for effective leadership and personal needs for continuous improvement, she or he has also has individualized expectations related to the specific role and context of the assignment. The DOP are appropriate for benchmarking leader development across the range of administrator roles and contexts. Therefore, the DOP are a significant resource to CASC program sponsors, candidates, induction coaches and district leaders engaged in preparing and supporting beginning administrators. 

Triangle diagram illustrating context, standards, and professional learning


Questions and Answers

Practical Examples


Updated December 07, 2022