Report suggests new system for principal evaluations

A new report suggests that principals must be more involved in school reform discussions.

Principal evaluation systems should not be based solely on student achievement gains, but rather on the quality of a principal’s school-level leadership and performance, according to a new report released by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

The report, titled, “The Ripple Effect,” found that principals and other school-based leaders are being left out of education reform discussions. “Principals’ voices, at times, have been lost in efforts to define effective school leadership and rapidly improve educational quality,” it states.

For evaluation systems to accurately reflect a principal’s effectiveness, evaluations should focus on principals’ work and school-level leadership. The report said that many professional principal organizations and researchers have defined principal effectiveness by a principal’s knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior that overall produces a certain quality of leadership style.…Read More

What makes an effective school principal?

Studies show that principals have a strong effect on school culture, teacher quality and satisfaction, and policy implementation—but existing principal evaluation systems too often lack transparency and consistency.

Recent research shows that good principals in K-12 schools can create dramatic improvement, particularly in the lowest performing schools—but the consistency, fairness, and value of current principal evaluation practices are questionable.

An overview of current research on principal evaluation, introduced July 14 at a National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) conference, provides guidance to state and district efforts to evaluate principals more effectively.

Despite the potential for successful principal evaluations to improve schools, improvements in principal evaluation systems are “long overdue,” according to the report “Designing Principal Evaluations Systems: Research to Guide Decision-Making” by co-authors Matthew Clifford, senior research scientist at the American Institutes of Research (AIR), and Steven Ross, professor of education at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Research and Reform in Education, in collaboration with NAESP.…Read More