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IES Grant

Title: Assessing School Leaders' Development of Management Skills and Leadership: A Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Study
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Loeb, Susanna Awardee: Stanford University
Program: Education Leadership      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,050,000
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A100286

Co-Principal Investigator: Grissom, Jason

Purpose: This study aims to identify the specific attributes, skills, orientations, and behaviors of school leaders that are associated with positive school outcomes. This study will describe differences in these principal management and leadership characteristics across schools and over time, focusing on malleable factors that can be taught, coached, and selected for in the identification of school leaders. In addition, the study seeks to describe career pathways that lead to the principalship, as well as the factors that influence educators' choices to pursue and remain in a school leadership position.

Project Activities: This project will use multiple data sources and methods of analysis to describe the management skills, leadership orientations, and executive behaviors of school leaders and to estimate the relationships of these attributes with school, teacher, and student outcomes. The data include district and state administrative data on students, teachers, administrators, and schools, as well as surveys of teachers, assistant principals, and principals, observational time-use data on principals, and interviews with school and district leadership. The study uses multiple methods and relies on longitudinal data analysis techniques including fixed- effects analyses to describe the workforce of school leaders and to estimate the relationship between school-leader characteristics and school outcomes (including teacher turnover, school climate, and student achievement).

Products: This exploration project will identify attributes and behaviors of school leaders that are associated with student achievement and other school outcomes. The project team will then distribute these findings in peer reviewed journals.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study takes place in three large urban school districts in Texas, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

Population: The population of this study includes principals, assistant principals, teachers, district staff, and students in the three participating districts. The analyses based solely on administrative data will include the full population of teachers, assistant principals, and principals in the participating school districts. The principal observations and interviews will be done with a stratified random sample in each district giving greater weight to principals in high schools and schools serving students at risk of school failure based on poverty and other student background characteristics.

Research Design and Methods: The project will collect, link, and analyze five types of data: (1) observational time-use data for principals gathered via shadowing; (2) survey responses of principals, assistant principals, teachers, and other district employees; (3) formal multi-rater assessments of management skills and leadership capacities completed by principals, assistant principals, and a sample of teachers; (4) interviews with school and district leaders; and (5) administrative data, including student test score results and human resource information. The analysis will model student, teacher and school outcomes as a function of school leadership using regression-based longitudinal-data techniques that control for other factors affecting these outcomes. Interviews with school and district leaders and observations in schools will compliment the statistical analyses.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: The constructs of interest are school leader management attributes, skills, leadership orientations, and executive behaviors. The key outcomes are student achievement gains, students' commitment to learning, parents' satisfaction with the school's performance, and teachers' satisfaction, commitment and career choices. The measures for these are built on measures employed by the same research team in a 2008 mixed-methods study of school leaders in Miami-Dade County Public Schools including the observation time-use protocol; the survey filled out by leaders and teachers; a task effectiveness inventory used to rate school leaders also filled out by leaders and teachers; the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire to measure leadership orientation filled out by leaders and teachers; and protocols for interviewing principals and district leaders. In addition, administrative data to be collected includes: (1) student performance on standardized tests in the core subjects, both at the student and school levels; (2) student demographic data; (3) teacher data on yearly job placement, demographics, certification status, experience, and salary; (4) school leader data on demographics, total experience within and outside the district, and degrees and credentials earned; and (5) aggregated responses to school climate surveys by students, parents, and staff administered by the districts.

Data Analytic Strategy: The analysis will include descriptive analysis, more advanced multivariate methods, and qualitative analysis. For example, management skills of school leaders will be measured using factor-analyzed responses to the task effectiveness inventory. Cross-sectional multivariate analyses, structural equation modeling, and hierarchical modeling will be used to estimate the relationship between independent variables (management skills, leadership orientations, and executive behaviors) and various school, teacher, and student outcomes. Interviews will be used to assess the degree to which district and school administrators indicate that management skills and leadership are considerations for principal and assistant principal assignments, especially in the assignments of leaders to the lowest performing schools.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Beteille, T., Kalogrides, D., and Loeb, S. (2012). Effective Schools: Teacher Hiring, Assignment, Development, and Retention. Education Finance and Policy, 7(3): 269–304.

Beteille, T., Kalogrides, D., and Loeb, S. (2012). Stepping Stones: Principal Career Paths and School Outcomes. Social Science Research, 41(4): 904–919.

Grissom, J. A., Kalogrides, D., and Loeb, S. (2015). Using Student Test Scores to Measure Principal Performance. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37(1): 3–28.

Grissom, J. A., Loeb, S., & Master, B. (2013). Effective Instructional Time Use for School Leaders: Longitudinal Evidence from Observations of Principals. Educational Researcher, 42(8): 433–444.

Grissom, J. A., Loeb, S., and Mitani, H. (2015). Principal Time Management Skills: Explaining Patterns in Principals' Time Use, Job Stress, and Perceived Effectiveness. Journal of Educational Administration , 53(6): 773–793.

Grissom, J. A., Loeb, S., and Nakashima, N.A. (2014). Strategic Involuntary Teacher Transfers and Teacher Performance: Examining Equity and Efficiency. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 33(1): 112–140.

Grissom, J.A. and Loeb, S. (2017). Assessing Principals' Assessments: Subjective Evaluations of Teacher Effectiveness in Low- and High Stakes-Environments. Education Finance and Policy, 12(3): 369–395.

Grissom, J.A., and Loeb, S. (2011). Triangulating Principal Effectiveness How Perspectives of Parents, Teachers, and Assistant Principals Identify the Central Importance of Managerial Skills. American Educational Research Journal, 48(5): 1091–1123.

Kalogrides, D., and Loeb, S. (2013). Different Teachers, Different Peers: The Magnitude of Student Sorting Within Schools. Educational Researcher, 42(6): 304–316.

Kalogrides, D., Loeb, S., and Beteille, T. (2013). Systematic Sorting: Teacher Characteristics and Class Assignments. Sociology of Education, 86(2): 103–123.

Loeb, S. Kasman, M., and Valant, J. (2013). Principals' Perceptions of Competition for Students in Milwaukee Schools. Education Finance and Policy, 8(1): 43–73.

Loeb, S., Beteille, T., and Kalogrides, D. (2012). Effective Schools: Teacher Hiring, Assignment, Development, and Retention. Education Finance and Policy, 7(3): 269–304.

Myung, J., Loeb, S., and Horng, E. (2011). Tapping the Principal Pipeline: Identifying Talent for Future School Leadership in the Absence of Formal Succession Management Programs. Education Administration Quarterly, 47(5): 695–727.

Ronfeldt, F., Farmer, S., McQueen, K., and Grissom, J.A. (2015). Teacher Collaboration in Instructional Teams and Students Achievement. American Educational Research Journal , 52(3): 475–514.

Sun, M., Loeb, S. and Grissom, J. (2017). Building Teacher Teams: Positive Spillovers from More Effective Colleagues. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 39(1): 104–125.

Nongovernment report, issue brief, or practice guide

Loeb, S. & Grissom, J. (2013). What Do We Know about the Use of Value-Added Measures for Principal Evaluation? What We Know Series: Value-Added Methods and Applications. The Carnegie Foundation.