This report highlights the very important role that states play in cultivating principal leadership talent. This paper speaks concern about improving human resources management at the state and district levels, doing quality control at the entry requirements, and give states tools and strategies to re-frame policies to bolster the principal talent pipeline.
Change Agents: How States Can Develop Effective School Leaders. (2013). New York: New Leaders. Retrieved from
This paper discusses the potential and challenges of a “cohesive leadership system” which coordinates leadership standards, training, and conditions at both the State and district levels. Effective coordination of these components, then, has the potential to both speed and make more permanent the benefits to the learning of all students.
Leadership for Learning: Making the Connections among State, District, and School Policies and Practices. (2006). New York: The Wallace Foundation. Retrieved from https://schoolturnaroundsupport.org/resources/leadership-learning-making-connections
This literature review aims to provide district leaders with an understanding of the research and best evidence regarding the components of effective principal talent management systems.
American Institutes for Research & George W. Bush Institute’s. (2016). Principal Talent Management According to the Evidence: A Review of the Literature. Retrieved from http://gwbcenter.imgix.net/Resources/gwbi-principal-talent-management-lit-review.pdf
This report addresses the implementation of principal evaluation and related support as of 2015, viewing implementation in the context of districts’ aims, constraints, and capacity. Principal evaluation is part of the Wallace Principal Pipeline Initiative design, intended both as a means of assessing novice principals’ performance against clear standards and as a roadmap for tailoring professional development and one-on-one support to identified areas of need.
Anderson, L. M., & Turnbull, B. J. (2016). Evaluating and Supporting Principals. Building a Stronger Principalship: Volume 4. Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
Standardized tests play a critical role in tracking and comparing K-12 student progress across time, student demographics, and governing bodies (states, cities, districts). One methodology is to benchmark the each state’s proficiency standards against those of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. This study does just that. Using NAEP as a common yardstick allows a comparison of different state assessments. The results confirm the wide variation in proficiency standards across states. It also documents that the significant majority of states have standards are much lower than those established by the NAEP.
Bandeira de Mello, V., Rahman, T., and Park, B.J. (2018). Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: Results From the 2015 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessments (NCES 2018-159). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics.
Districts and states establish minimum eligibility requirements for individuals serving as principals in public schools. The intent of these requirements—which include mandated degrees, prior teaching and/or administrative experience, and certifications—is to ensure a minimum quality standard in the principal candidate pool.
Burkhauser, S., Gates, S. M., Hamilton, L. S., Li, J., & Pierson, A. (2013). Laying the foundation for successful school leadership. RAND.
Heroic models of leadership based on the role of the principal have been supplemented by an emerging recognition of the value of ‘distributed leadership’. The work of effective senior leadership teams (SLTs) is an important manifestation of distributed leadership, but there has been only limited research addressing the relationship between this model and leadership teams in education.
Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2012). Distributed leadership in action: Leading high-performing leadership teams in English schools. School leadership & management, 32(1), 21-36.
Canole, M., & Young, M. (2013). Standards for educational leaders: An analysis. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.
In a time when public schools continue to be scrutinized, school leadership never mattered more in order to exercise school reform. This qualitative study examined how five principals working in an urban school district perceived their evaluation and how it contributed to their practice.
Chacon-Robles, B. (2018). Improving instructional leadership: A multi-case study perspectives on formal evaluations. The University of Texas at El Paso.
Principal evaluations can be important tools for improving leadership practice, but evaluations have often described by principals and researchers as unsystematic and lacking timely and actionable feedback. This study examines principal perceptions of the Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System.
DeMatthews, D. E., Scheffer, M., & Kotok, S. (2020). Useful or useless? Principal perceptions of the Texas principal evaluation and support system. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 1942775120933920.
The purpose of this study is to reveal the extent to which different leadership models in education are studied, including the change in the trends of research on each model over time, the most prominent scholars working on each model, and the countries in which the articles are based.
Gümüş, S., Bellibaş, M. S., Esen, M., & Gümüş, E. (2018). A systematic review of studies of leadership models in educational research from 1980 to 2014. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 46(1), 25–48.
In this article, the authors put forth a new set of standards with equity at the core. They seek to advance the conversation about why standards centered on equity are needed—particularly in light of a proposed standards refresh—and what implications would follow from equity-focused standards.
Galloway, M. K., & Ishimaru, A. M. (2015). Radical recentering: Equity in educational leadership standards. Educational Administration Quarterly, 51(3), 372–408.
This paper highlights the limitations of district-level data on principals encountered during data collection for a study on principal preparation programs.
George W. Bush Institute & Education Reform Initiative. (2016). What Districts Know--and Need to Know--about Their Principals. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED570674
With this current study, the Bush Institute sought to go beyond sharing information about best practices in principal preparation and connect information about program graduates to student outcomes. Specifically, this study evaluated the impact of five Alliance to Reform Education Leadership Network programs on student achievement.
George W. Bush Institute & American Institutes for Research. (2016) Following the Leaders: an Analysis of Graduate Effectiveness from Five Principal Preparation Programs. Retrieved from http://gwbcenter.imgix.net/Resources/GWBI_AIR-GraduateEffectiveness.pdf
This paper investigate the most commonly used exam, the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA), using 10 years of data on Tennessee test takers. This paper found that although candidates with higher scores are more likely to be hired as principals, we find little evidence that SLLA scores predict measures of principal job performance, including supervisors’ evaluation ratings or teachers’ assessments of school leadership from a statewide survey.
Grissom, J. A., Mitani, H., & Blissett, R. S. (2017). Principal licensure exams and future job performance: Evidence from the School Leaders Licensure Assessment. Educational evaluation and policy analysis, 39(2), 248-280.
This paper ties together evidence drawn from several extensive reviews of the educational leadership literature that included instructional leadership as a key construct.
Hallinger, P. (2005). Instructional leadership and the school principal: A passing fancy that refuses to fade away. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 4(3), 221–239. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228633330_Instructional_Leadership_and_the_School_Principal_A_Passing_Fancy_that_Refuses_to_Fade_Away
This article reviews the empirical literature on the relationship between the principal's role
and school effectiveness during the period from 1980 to 1995
Hallinger, P., & Heck, R. H. (1996). Reassessing the principal’s role in school effectiveness: A review of empirical research, 1980–1995. Educational Administration Quarterly, 32(1), 5–44.
This article reviews research from 1980‐1995 exploring the relationship between principal leadership and student achievement. The focuses is on the substantive findings that emerged from the review.
Hallinger, P., & Heck, R. H. (1998). Exploring the principal’s contribution to school effectiveness: 1980–1995. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 9(2), 157–191.
The authors used a variety of quantitative bibliometric analyses to examine 1206 Scopus-indexed journal articles on instructional leadership published between 1940 and 2018. The results affirm that the knowledge base on instructional leadership has not only increased in size, but also geographic scope.
Hallinger, P., Gümüş, S. & Bellibaş, M. Ş. (2020). Are principals instructional leaders yet? A science map of the knowledge base on instructional leadership, 1940–2018. Scientometrics 122(3), 1629–1650. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338923620_%27Are_principals_instructional_leaders_yet%27_A_science_map_of_the_knowledge_base_on_instructional_leadership_1940-2018
This brief examines the mean (average) percentage of time that principals reported spending on these activities in the 2011–12 school year, both overall and by selected school, staffing, and principal characteristics.
Hoyer, K. M., & Sparks, D. (2017). How Principals in Public and Private Schools Use Their Time: 2011-12. Stats in Brief. NCES 2018-054. National Center for Education Statistics.
Research demonstrating principals' impact on student learning outcomes has fueled the shift from principals as facilities managers to an emphasis on instructional leadership. Principals are under increasing pressure to carry out effective instructional leadership practices, including those needed to adopt college- and career-ready standards and more comprehensive teacher evaluation approaches.
Kimball, S. M., Arrigoni, J., Clifford, M., Yoder, M., & Milanowski, A. (2015). District Leadership for Effective Principal Evaluation and Support. Teacher Incentive Fund, US Department of Education.
In this report, the development of altering concepts of school leadership over a period of about 4 decades is sketched.
Krüger, M., & Scheerens, J. (2012). Conceptual Perspectives on School Leadership. In J. Scheerens (Ed.), School leadership effects revisited: Review and meta-analysis of empirical studies (pp. 1–30). New York, NY: Springer.
This chapter of "A New Agenda for Research in Educational Leadership" book presents a broad agenda to help strengthen the extent, quality, and clarity of the latter source of knowledge -- empirical research on leadership.
Leithwood, K., & Riehl, C. (2005). What do we already know about educational leadership? In W. A. Firestone & C. Riehl (Eds.), A new agenda for research in educational leadership (pp. 12–27). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Leading School Turnaround offers new perspectives and concrete, evidence-based guidelines for the educational leaders and administrators faced with the challenge of turning our low-performing schools around. Using the tools outlined in this groundbreaking book, school leaders can guide their schools to higher levels of achievement and sustained academic success.
Leithwood, K., Harris, A., & Strauss, T. (2010). Leading school turnaround: How successful leaders transform low-performing schools. John Wiley & Sons.
This meta-analysis finds a positive relationship between school principals spending time on five commonly assigned roles and student achievement.
Liebowitz, D. D., & Porter, L. (2019). The Effect of Principal Behaviors on Student, Teacher, and School Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature. Review of Educational Research, 89(5), 785-827.
In a distributed leadership model, responsibilities for providing feedback and support to teachers are shared by the principal and other school and/or district staff. This feedback may be given by a wide variety of educators—from peers to coaches to administrators—and be used formatively for self-reflection, collaborative planning, and/or formally used in evaluation. Implementing a distributed leadership approach creates an opportunity for districts to ensure all educators are receiving high quality feedback to improve their practice.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (n.d.). An interactive planning guide for distributed leadership.
This paper describe four essential elements of effective principals: principal standards, high-quality training, selective hiring, and a combination of solid on-the-job support and performance evaluation, especially for new hires.
Mendels, P. (2012). Principals in the pipeline. The Learning Professional, 33(3), 48.
This research suggests that the effectiveness of principals in managing the recruitment and advancement of teachers will contribute to improvements in student learning. One of the key ways these managers influence performance is through human capital management: the attraction, development and retention of the employee talent the organization needs.
Milanowski, A., & Kimball, S. (2010). The principal as human capital manager: Lessons from the private sector. Teaching talent: A visionary framework for human capital in education, 69-90.
This book introduces the foundations of the recently revised professional educational leadership standards and provides an in-depth explanation and application of each one.
Murphy, J. F. (2016). Professional standards for educational leaders: The empirical, moral, and experiential foundations. Corwin Press.
This document updates a set of voluntary school leadership standards first developed in 1996, then revised in 2008 and long known by the initials of the creator of the original document, ISLLC. The 2015 document differs from its predecessors by focusing more strongly and clearly on students and student learning.
National Policy Board for Educational Administration. (2015). Professional standards for educational leaders 2015.
This report uses findings from individual school across the country and principals to inform a new definition of principal effectiveness. It makes recommendations for school leadership policies geared toward dramatically increasing the number of successful principals.
New Leaders for New Schools. (2009). Principal Effectiveness: A New Principalship to Drive Student Achievement, Teacher Effectiveness and School Turnarounds with Key Insights from the Urban Excellence Framework [TM]. Executive Summary. ERIC Clearinghouse.
Founded in 2000 by a team of social entrepreneurs, New Leaders is a national nonprofit that develops transformational school leaders and designs effective leadership policies and practices for school systems across the country.
New Leaders. (2014). Prioritizing Leadership: New Leaders' Federal Policy Platform. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED559351.pdf
Using examples from states throughout the country, this guidebook from the National Conference of State Legislatures describes six key areas in which state legislators can take action to improve the quality of leadership in public schools
Shelton, S. V. (2012). Preparing a pipeline of effective principals: A legislative approach. National Conference of State Legislatures.
The first-ever standards meant to clarify what principal supervisors should know and be able to do to help principals improve teaching and learning in schools were released on Monday.
Superville, D.R. (2015). First-Ever Professional Standards for Principal Supervisors Released. Eduaction Week. Retrieved from https://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/2015/12/first-ever_professional_standa.html
Intended for state officials involved in the assessment and approval of university and other programs to train future school principals, this report describes five design principles for effective program evaluation.
UCEA and New Leaders (2016). Improving state evaluation of principal preparation programs. Retrieved from: www.sepkit.org