Sensitivity Tests for Principals, Too

MacIver News Service | December 7, 2012

[Milwaukee, Wisc…] In addition to its “Star Teacher Survey,” which evaluates teaching candidates’ cultural sensitivity and is used by Milwaukee Public Schools, The Haberman Educational Foundation also offers a “Star Administrator Survey.”

The Haberman Administrator Examination has several questions designed to gauge a principal’s awareness when it comes to issues like race and diversity within the halls of their schools. The test itself features a handful of questions that address seemingly benign decisions and how race will factor in to them.

Here is an example of the type of question that came up several times in the process of taking the exam:

A community group has requested use of the school cafeteria on a particular Friday night. You deny the request explaining that another group has reserved the facility for four Fridays including the one being requested. Given this explanation it is likely that this decision will be perceived as having been influenced by your own race and ethnicity.



When the MacIver Institute’s Education Policy Analyst took the sample test, he disagreed that examples like this would be linked to race and ethnicity. Without much context, it seemed as though those factors did not come into play in terms of decision-making.

However, the results of the test suggested that our analyst earned low marks for cultural and racial sensitivity as a result of thinking that ethnicity would be unlikely to play a role in how an administrator’s decisions are viewed.

Although MPS is using the Star Teacher Survey, it is not using the Star Administrator Survey at this time.