NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED528945
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
The Policy Choices of Effective Principals
Cannon, Sarah R.; Figlio, David; Sass, Tim
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
A vast literature has investigated the efficacy of school leadership. Most of the extant research has been based on teacher perceptions of school leadership, rather than on more direct measures of student performance. A detailed review of the literature on principals through the mid-1990s is provided by Hallinger and Heck (1998). Within the last couple of years, however, researchers have begun to exploit longitudinal data on student test scores to evaluate the impact of principals on student achievement and how that impact varies with the characteristics of principals. Rather than look at the relationship between personal characteristics and principal efficacy, the authors instead focus on the policies that are adopted by effective principals. In particular, they consider how school policies change when there is a change in school leadership and which policy changes are associated with new schools leaders who have been previously effective. While still very preliminary, this paper provides new evidence of the role that principals play in shaping school policies. Using survey data on school policies in three time periods matched with principal value-added measures based on student test scores, the authors are able to determine the relationship between principal effectiveness and the policies of the schools that principals lead. Principals with stronger prior performance appear to systematically reduce focus on teacher incentives and concentrate more on other types of policies aimed at improving the performance of low-performing teachers and students--and principals who are measured as strong independent of the quality of their teachers apparently also focus more resources on teachers. Although much more analysis needs to be done, the authors' initial findings highlight the role of principals in shaping school policy and suggest that policies aimed at recruiting and retaining effective principals are likely to have important effects on school policy. Appendix (1) contains references, and Appendix (2) contains 4 figures and 7 tables. Also included are 3 footnotes.)
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Florida