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Principals' time, tasks, and professional development: An analysis of Schools and Staffing Survey data

Northeast & Islands
The purpose of this study was to examine how public school principals allocate their time to various job-related tasks and investigate the types of professional development they attend. This report summarizes a secondary analysis of data from the 2011/12 school year collected through the Principal and School Questionnaire forms of the Schools and Staffing Survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. Descriptive analyses were conducted to examine principals’ reported time spent on job-related tasks and professional development by school grade level, poverty level, and within poverty level, by school adequate yearly progress status. The sample for the analysis of time spent on job-related tasks included 5,950 principals; the sample for the analysis of professional development participation included 6,360 principals. Results indicate that, of the average 59 hours per week spent on the job, principals at regular public schools spent more than half of their time on internal administrative tasks and curriculum- and teaching-related tasks. Attendance at conferences and workshops was the most commonly reported type of professional development and the least frequently reported was attendance in university courses. These results suggest that principals balance a wide range of tasks within an average week and that their time is often divided between tasks that are administrative in nature and those that are focused on the teachers and students. The report will be useful to state and local leaders making decisions about principal training and providing the necessary support to meet the demands of the position. The findings may also inform discussions around additional staffing and mentoring supports for school principals.
Publication Type:
What's Happening
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Publication Date:
October 2016