Sunday, January 18, 2015

School Leader Effectiveness?

I just finished reading the REL Mid-Atlantic report published last month Measuring school leaders' effectiveness: An interim report from a multiyear pilot of Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership. I encourage school leaders to read this report, which you can access here.

Unsurprisingly, the findings from this pilot study suggest that school leaders' scores were similar, regardless of his or her contributions to student achievement. Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership scores principals in the following areas: Strategic/cultural leadership; Systems leadership; Leadership for learning; and Professional and community leadership. So, what we know so far, Pennsylvania's new school leader evaluation tool doesn't do much to suggest which leaders are better at getting the students in their schools to achieve higher test scores.

I don't think any practitioner is surprised by these findings. On a day to day basis most educators who persist in the field do an outstanding job, and it is difficult to correlate what these individuals do everyday to student test scores. Contrary to what the reformy types want the general public to think, principals and teachers work hard to create school conditions that optimize learning experiences for all of their students, and these efforts aren't always reflected on test score results.

Dare I say Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership isn't "effective" at measuring school leader effectiveness? Based on this report, it's probably too early to tell, however, the authors suggest that "supervisors may have rated their school leaders too positively" and that "more specific guidance on how to determine ratings would also help supervisors determine whether they are rating school leaders appropriately" (p. ii).

Maybe, these school leaders are doing a great job and this evaluation tool isn't capturing their hard work and efforts. I'm interested in your thoughts about Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership or your state's "new and improved" school leader evaluation tool. Please keep the conversation going below.

Teh, B., Chiang, H., Lipscomb, S., & Gill, B. (2014). Measuring school leaders' effectiveness: An interim report from a multiyear pilot of Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership (REL 2015-058). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic. Retrieved from

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