ERIC Number: ED410295
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Educational Leadership in a Policy Context: What Happens When Student Performance Standards Are Clear?
Marsh, David D.; LeFever, Karen
A study was conducted of the educational role of the principal in elementary schools under two educational policy alternatives. The study joined perspectives on the role of the principal with policy initiatives to strengthen schooling along two lines: common high student performance standards for all and redesign of the connection between the system and the school to increase authority and resource decisions at the school level toward reaching those standards. Policy option one was high stakes and common student performance standards with authority and resources to reshape the school established by policy initiative at the school level. Option two was a situation in which schools were encouraged to create local student performance standards with gentle policy support but with modest decentralization of authority and resources. Seven elementary school principals, four working under the first option and three under the second. Principals' leadership was studied through profiles, audiotaped self-reflection and interview responses, and the principal's own developed action plan. These successful principals obviously were inventing a new form of educational leadership. Principals with the policy option that featured common performance standards and the authority to reach them had advantages in carrying out their leadership roles. Principals dealing with policy option two did not seem likely to be able to carry out their educational leadership roles in many cases, although they often worked heroically to carry out reform against strong odds. (Contains 35 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).