This study examined how 130 participants enrolled in the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) principalship program completed a standards-based evaluation after reading a book-length case study of a mythical principal. Application of the Iowa Standards for School Leaders (ISSL), which mirror the Interstate School Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) and Educational Leadership Constituency Council (ELCC) standards reveal widespread agreement on the principal’s performance related to vision, instruction, management, collaboration and politics. However, participants were distinctly split as to the mythical principal’s ethics. The authors discuss potential responses to literature that identify many programs as weak and inadequate by providing more authentic and rigorous experiences around ethics and other practical issues for preservice principals.

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