The SLLA 6990: Overview of the Exam

What is School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) 6990?


Our SLLA 6990 study guide

includes all content categories and constructed-response.

The School Leaders Licensure Assessment is also known as SLLA, and it is used to certify educators in the area of school leadership. If you want to become an assistant principal, you will be required to take the SLLA 6990 or a similar exam.

The SLLA 6990 is aligned with the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL), developed by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). These standards were previously known as the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards.

Our proven SLLA 6990 Resources

Is SLLA 6990 what I need to take to be an assistant principal?

Many states use the SLLA 6990 test to certify school leaders. However, the requirements for acquiring this certification can vary depending on your state's licensure regulations.

Some states might have different tests or additional requirements for prospective principals and assistant principals.

That’s why it's crucial to check with your state's Department of Education or the ETS website to confirm the exact requirements for becoming a school leader in your state.

How hard is the SLLA 6990 to pass?

The SLLA 6990 is not an easy exam. It will require reading long, scenario-based questions and identifying the best practice for each situation.

Fewer than 50% of people pass their certification exams the first time, so it’s very important you do not underestimate the test.

Here are several factors that contribute to the difficulty of the SLLA 6990:

  1. Comprehensive Content: The test covers a wide range of topics within educational leadership, including vision and goals, teaching and learning, managing organizational systems and safety, collaborating with key stakeholders, ethics, integrity, and the educational system. Mastery of all these areas requires a deep understanding of theoretical frameworks and practical applications.
  2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: The SLLA 6990 is not just a recall test; it assesses the candidate's ability to think critically and solve complex problems. This involves interpreting data, making decisions, and applying knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. Such higher-order thinking skills make the test demanding.
  3. Constructed-Response Questions: The test includes performance-based tasks that require candidates to analyze situations, make judgments, and propose solutions to authentic problems related to educational leadership. You will be required to write four essays in response to various school scenarios. You will have to interpret data and communicate solutions to school-based problems. 
  4. Alignment with National Standards: The examination is aligned with national standards for school leaders, ensuring that it reflects the complex and multifaceted role of educational leaders today. Meeting these standards requires a comprehensive understanding of best practices and current trends in education.
  5. Expectations for Effective Communication: The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is assessed, both in written responses and in scenarios that simulate interactions with various stakeholders. Expressing complex ideas coherently adds to the challenge of the test.
  6. Preparation Requirements: Proper preparation for the SLLA 6990 requires a combination of academic study, practical experience, and test-taking skills. Many candidates find it necessary to engage in intensive review and practice, often using specialized resources.
To learn more about the best way to approach the SLLA 6990, click HERE

What does the SLLA 6990 consist of?

The SLLA 6990 contains a selected-response section and a constructed-response section. 

The entire exam is four hours, divided into two separately timed sections: a 165-minute selected-response section and a 75-minute constructed-response section. These are timed separately. You cannot use any time left over from the selected-response section and apply it to the constructed-response section. 

There are seven content categories on the exam. Categories 1-6 are selected-response; the seventh content category is the constructed-response section.

  1. Strategic Leadership 
  2. Instructional Leadership 
  3. Climate and Cultural Leadership 
  4. Ethical Leadership 
  5. Organizational Leadership
  6. Community Engagement Leadership 
  7. Analysis Constructed Response (CR) 

What are the passing scores for the SLLA 6990?

Each state sets the passing score for the SLLA 6990. Therefore, we recommend locating your state’s specific requirements for this exam.

It is important to note that the SLLA 6990 is scored using a scale score. This is much different than a raw score.

Scale scores are determined by taking your raw score (how many you got correct) and configuring it into a scale score based on question complexity, form of the test, and other measures.

To learn more about this, check out this blog: How to Calculate Your Score.

How many questions are in each content category of the SLLA 6990?

There are 120 selected-response questions and four constructed-response questions on the SLLA 6990. 

  1. Strategic Leadership  - 20 questions
  2. Instructional Leadership - 27 questions
  3. Climate and Cultural Leadership - 22 questions
  4. Ethical Leadership - 19 questions
  5. Organizational Leadership - 16 questions
  6. Community Engagement Leadership - 16 questions
  7. Analysis Constructed Response (CR) - 4 questions

Why did my test have more questions than it was supposed to?

Please understand that you may have several additional questions on your test. ETS, the company that makes the exam, will often field test new items on the exams.

You will never know which test items count toward your score and which items are being field tested. You can learn more about this HERE.

Field testing items is common practice in the testing industry. Therefore, if you see a couple more questions on your exam, don’t panic. Just answer all the questions on your test.

What is the best way to pass and study for the SLLA 6990?

Everyone is different in how they want to prepare for the exam. People have different strengths and weaknesses, and you must choose the right program for you.

The following are a few tried and tested resources you can consider when preparing for this test.

The ETS Study Companion

The first and most important thing you can do to pass your Praxis 5006 test is to examine the test structure and content on the exam by reviewing the test specifications in the SLLA 6990 Study Companion.

ETS develops this document and shows you everything you are responsible for on the exam. It even has practice test questions similar to what you will see on test day.

SLLA 6990 Online Course

Our most comprehensive material is in our SLLA 6990 Online Course. The course is comprehensive prep for the entire test. It has hours of video tutorials explaining all of the exam concepts. It also comes with the digital study guide. Finally, at the end of the online course is an audio course you can use to learn on the go. If you like to learn while driving or walking, this course is for you.

The online course has everything--video tutorials, comprehensive prep for the constructed response, and audio components. 

SLLA 6990 Study Guide

Beyond that, most people prefer to use a study guide with practice tests to prepare for the exam. Our SLLA 6990 study guide is fully aligned with the test specifications and blueprint outlined in the ETS Study Companion.

They also have hundreds of practice test questions for each subtest and content category, so you are fully prepared for the exam.

SLLA 6990 Audio Course

Do you love podcasts and learning on a walk or a long drive? You'll love our new SLLA 6990 Audio Course. The audio course covers all the content categories on the exam and the constructed-response section. 

We recommend pairing the audio course with our SLLA 6990 study guide.

How many questions do you need to get correct to pass?

To keep things simple, we recommend scoring at least a 75% on the practice tests before you take the exam.

However, realistically It is difficult to predict precisely how many questions you must get correct to pass the SLLA 6990 because a scale score is used rather than a raw score.

This means that your raw score—the number of questions you get correct—is put into a formula to calculate a scale score.

Getting 75% of the questions correct when practicing indicates you are ready to take the test.

Remember, this test also has a constructed-response section. This part of the exam is worth 25% of your overall score. The essays are scored on a scale of 1-3. Along with scoring at least a 75% on the selected-response section, you will need to score an average of 2 or higher on the constructed-response section. 

To learn more about the constructed response portion of the SLLA 6990, click HERE.

Free resources for the SLLA 6990

There are many free resources you can use to pass the exam. Our SLLA Playlist on our YouTube channel has tons of videos for this exam. 

You might also want to check out our free SLLA webinar. It comes with a free study guide, test strategy tips, and more. Just fill out this form, and you will gain access to all of that free material!


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