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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021117 Exploring the Potential Role of Staff Surveys in School Leader Evaluation

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory partnered with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to explore the potential use of teacher surveys in school leader evaluation. The DCPS evaluation system, like many others, currently consists of two components: an assessment on how well a school performs on a set of student achievement metrics (such as proficiency on standardized tests) and an assessment by a supervisor of the principal’s leadership across multiple domains. Incorporating teacher surveys could provide an additional perspective on principals’ leadership and performance. Examining data from two teacher surveys that DCPS has used (Panorama and Insight), the study found that:

  • Most of the domains and scales from the teacher surveys can meaningfully differentiate among schools.
  • School averages of (Insight) survey domains are more similar for adjacent years in which a school had the same leader than when the school leader changed, suggesting principals have effects on these measures.
  • When a school gets a new principal, (Insight) survey domain scores change more than student proficiency rates, suggesting (consistent with theory) that principals may affect teachers more immediately than they affect student outcomes.
  • All but two of the teacher survey domains and scales have small or moderate correlations with supervisors’ ratings of principals' leadership, with values ranging from 0.26 to 0.46. Teacher survey measures are most correlated with three of the domains assessed by DCPS principal supervisors: Instruction, Talent, and School Culture.

Overall, our findings suggest that it could be useful for DCPS to use elements of teacher surveys to bring in teachers’ perspectives on principals’ leadership related to instruction, talent, and school culture. Other districts may also wish to consider employing teacher surveys to gain an additional perspective on principals from staff who interact with the principal every day.

8/2/2021
WWC 2021003 National Institute for School LeadershipTM (NISL) Intervention Report
This What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) intervention report summarizes the research on National Institute for School LeadershipTM (NISL). NISL is a professional development program that aims to develop effective, strategic school leaders focused on preparing schools to provide high-quality instruction in a supportive learning environment. NISL professional development consists of 12 two-day units that are offered over 12 to 15 months. As part of the program, school leaders learn how to apply NISL's teacher coaching model to support teachers in core content areas. No studies of NISL that fall within the scope of the WWC review met WWC standards. Because no studies met standards, the WWC is unable to draw any conclusions at this time about the effectiveness of NISL on student, teacher, or school leader outcomes.
3/10/2021
NCEE 20200002 The Effects of a Principal Professional Development Program Focused on Instructional Leadership
Helping principals improve their leadership practices is a common use of federal funds and one way to improve instruction and student achievement. This study sought to better understand the effectiveness of an intensive principal professional development program focused primarily on helping principals conduct structured observations of teachers' classroom instruction and provide targeted feedback based on those observations. The report found that the program did not change principal practices as intended or improve students' achievement. However, improvements in some of the targeted principal practices were positively associated with improved student achievement. Attention on how to change these practices might be a potential avenue for improving the program.
10/30/2019
REL 2017188 Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools
The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools' policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked an average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools' policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.
11/8/2016
REL 2015058 Measuring school leaders' effectiveness: An interim report from a multiyear pilot of Pennsylvania's Framework for Leadership
This study examines the accuracy of performance ratings from the Framework for Leadership (FFL), Pennsylvania's tool for evaluating the leadership practices of principals and assistant principals. The study analyzed three key properties of the FFL: internal consistency, score variation, and concurrent validity. To measure the internal consistency of the FFL, Cronbach's alpha was calculated for the full FFL and for each of its four categories of leadership practices. Score variation was characterized by the percentages of school leaders earning scores in different portions of the rating scale. Concurrent validity was assessed through a regression model for the relationship between school leaders' estimated contributions to student achievement growth and their FFL scores. Based on a pilot in which 336 principals and 69 assistant principals were rated by their supervisors in 2012/13, this interim report finds that the full FFL had good internal consistency for both principals and assistant principals. However, most scores for specific leadership practices were in the top two of four possible performance levels, and FFL scores were not associated with school leaders' contributions to student achievement growth. These findings suggest that more evidence is needed on the validity of using FFL scores to identify effective and ineffective school leaders.
12/17/2014
REL 2014034 Program Monitoring: The Role of Leadership in Planning, Assessment, and Communication
This guide examines three components of program monitoring—planning, assessment, and communication—and identifies key measures of successful leadership for each component. This guide is one piece of a four-part series on program planning and monitoring released by REL Pacific at McREL.
5/27/2014
REL 2010095 What are the Characteristics, Qualifications, Roles, and Functions of School Support Teams? An Examination of Survey Results for Four Northwest Region States
School support teams work as external facilitators of improvement in schools and districts designated as in need of improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act. This study finds that team members in four Northwest regions states share many characteristics and qualifications and work primarily in schools, meeting with administrators on school improvement planning and implementation. Team members differ in time spent on the activities that support these functions.
1/3/2011
WWC IRDPNG10 The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a residential education and training program designed for youth ages 16 to 18 who have dropped out of or been expelled from high school. During the 22-week residential period, participants are offered GED preparation classes and other program services intended to promote positive youth development. The WWC reviewed 14 studies that investigated the effects of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. One study meets WWC evidence standards. This study included 1,196 youth in 10 states. Based on its review of the research, the WWC found the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program to have potentially positive effects on completing school for at-risk youth.
9/29/2010
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