How should we evaluate school principals and their contributions to student achievement? What measures are best? This page links to research that I have found helpful in exploring the very complex answer to this question.
Most of these articles are from academic journals. Therefore they are technical in nature, but are still accessible and understandable to non-specialists like me. My advice: read the introduction and the conclusion. Skim the rest. Don’t get scared off by the math & statistics.
1. Triangulating Principal Effectiveness
Bob’s simple summary: How does principal performance on job tasks predict other school outcomes including student performance, teacher satisfaction, and parental assessment of the school? The authors find that the most important skill set of principals is organizational management: developing the right environment at the school; hiring personnel; managing non-instructional staff; maintaining facilities; and managing the budget. Instructional leadership (evaluating teachers, implementing professional development, and evaluating curriculum) was not a statistically significant factor in improving school performance.
2. Using Student Test Scores to Measure Principal Performance (Grissom, Kalogrides, Loeb, 2014)
Bob’s simple summary: The authors examine three different data-driven approaches to assessing the effectiveness of principals. The results show that test-based measurements, while logical, are fraught with implementation challenges. One such challenge is that principals do not have control over many factors, such as the composition of the work force when they take over their role. The authors conclude that using student test scores to evaluation principals may be useful in signaling to all school personnel the importance of student outcomes. But use of these measurements should be complemented by other non-test-related evaluation criteria.