School of Education News

UW researchers, WCEPS unveil online educational leadership assessment

March 28, 2014

When Matt Messinger was named the first executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Educational Products and Services (WCEPS) in June 2011, he saw great potential in the fledgling organization and its goal of helping license and market innovative products in the field of education created by UW-Madison faculty, staff and students.

New WCEPS logo 150 pxWCEPS is just three years old and its work is only beginning, but more and more of those efforts to convert discovery to product are becoming a reality.

Earlier this month, researchers at UW-Madison announced the release of a new survey tool that helps K-12 schools measure the extent to which tasks proven to improve learning are happening at a school. This survey, named the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL), was created by School of Education professors Richard Halverson and Carolyn Kelley, and the web-based tool is now being made available to all schools via WCEPS as a valuable resource to improve teaching and learning.

Rich Halverson 150 px
Richard Halverson
“The CALL leadership assessment is based on new ideas of teaching, learning and leading,” says Halverson, a co-developer of CALL who is a professor with UW-Madison's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.  “We know today that many actors take part in the critical leadership tasks that improve student learning. CALL was developed and validated in more than 200 schools across the country to address this important shift from leader to leadership.”

WCEPS was started by friends of UW-Madison in 2011 and its newly formed board of directors hired Messinger as the first employee. WCEPS helps UW-Madison faculty, staff or students convert impactful ideas into products used by educators and students in the field. Messinger says WCEPS and its growing team of six employees feel fortunate to work with the innovative products created at the university, including the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), which is housed within the School of Education.

"CALL is one example of the great products WCEPS disseminates,” says Messinger. “The WIDA products are another. The World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) group, which is housed within WCER, is our founding partner. Led by Tim Boals, Elizabeth Cranley and an amazing group of team members at WCER, millions of students learning English in the United States and around the world use WIDA’s products. We’re honored to partner with WIDA, the creators of CALL, and other innovators at the university.”

CALL logoIn the case of CALL, unlike other leadership measures this assessment tool focuses not on an individual leader, such as the principal, but on how well the educational team as a whole implements leadership functions day-to-day throughout the school. In addition, CALL isn’t designed to “grade” educators but to provide detailed guidance to successful school improvement plans. The end result is concrete recommendations for improvements correlated to five critical domains that determine school success.

And CALL is unique because it was created with support from a U.S. Department of Education grant and is based on more than four years of research.

The Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI), a proven partner to education leaders in Georgia, recently purchased annual CALL subscriptions for five of its partner schools.

“We chose CALL because it has a unique focus on distributed leadership, it provides specific guidance on school-improvement, and it delivers the information as soon as the survey is completed,” said Leslie Hazle Bussey, Chief of Staff at GLISI. 

A nine-person board of directors governs WCEPS. Julie Underwood, dean of the UW-Madison School of Education, and Robert Mathieu, director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, serve as ex-officio members.

For more details about CALL, visit, or call 877-272-5593.


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