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Research has shown that school leaders can substantially influence student outcomes, including student achievement, and that some school leaders improve student outcomes at a much faster rate than others. The strong influence of school leaders on student outcomes as well as the variation in school leader effectiveness has led to the creation of multiple programs designed to help school leaders improve student outcomes.

This review focuses on interventions aimed at making school leaders, specifically principals, assistant principals or deans of students, more effective at improving the achievement of students in grades PK–12. These interventions are targeted at adults who are considering becoming school leaders; undergoing preparation for school leadership; or already employed as school leaders. The interventions may be delivered in a variety of educational and training settings. Although the interventions are delivered to school leaders (or potential school leaders), this review focuses on outcomes for students, teachers, and school leaders. Student outcomes include measures of achievement, progression in school, social-emotional learning, and behavior. Teacher and school leader outcomes include those that research has shown are related to student achievement, including teacher instructional practice, retention of teachers and school leaders, and leadership practice.

The following research questions guide this review:

  • Which school-leader-focused interventions improve achievement, progression in school, social-emotional learning, and behavior for students in grades PK–12?
  • Which school-leader-focused interventions improve outcomes for teachers and school leaders that are related to these student outcomes?

Protocol Details

  • Version: 4.0
  • Released: June 2019

What is a Protocol?

A review protocol defines the scope of a systematic review. Developed with substantive experts, the protocol defines the parameters for the review, including the research, populations, settings, and outcomes. The protocol also specifies details of the literature search and any topic-specific applications of the design standards.

Protocol versions reflect the version of WWC standards in effect when the protocol was released. Protocol versions that predate the current version of the WWC standards handbook can be used to identify acceptable outcome domains for review within a given topic. The current WWC standards are used to guide the review of studies with acceptable outcomes.

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