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ERIC Number: ED533675
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov-11
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 30
Innovative Leadership Preparation and Effective Leadership Practices: Making a Difference in School Improvement. School Leadership Study: Developing Successful Principals
Orr, Margaret Terry
Stanford Educational Leadership Institute, Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration (San Antonio, TX, Nov 11, 2006)
This paper is based on a cross-sectional survey comparison of preparation experiences and outcomes using a sample of principals who completed one of five innovative leadership preparation programs between 2000-2005 and a national comparison sample of principals. The primary questions are: (1) How do innovatively-prepared principals and other principals differ demographically and on leadership preparation program experiences?; (2) How do innovatively-prepared principals and other principals differ on what they learned about school leadership, their leadership practices, school improvement work and accomplishments?; (3) What is the relationship among principals' demographic characteristics, leadership preparation program features, learning about school leadership, effective leadership practices, school improvement work and accomplishments?; and (4) What factors are most significant in directly explaining recent organizational and teacher effectiveness improvements, and as mediated by intermediate factors? Two samples were compiled for this study. The first are 100% of all principals who completed one of five innovative leadership preparation programs from 2000-2004. The five programs were selected for their reputationally-exemplary approaches, varied structures, collaborations, and institutional arrangements, as well as geographic dispersion. Of all the 246 graduates from the five programs who completed a mail or web-based version of the survey, 125 (51%) are currently principals. Their response rates ranged from 50-71%, among the five programs. The second sample was drawn from two national lists of principals. Of 1,229 principals sampled, 661 responded, representing 54% of the sample. Of these, 571 (86%) were currently principals in 2005 when surveyed. Their final sample includes 125 innovatively-prepared principals and 571 comparison principals. It is assumed that any response bias that exists occurred similarly for the two samples. Preliminary results show that program graduates describe the quality and attributes of their preparation program more positively than comparison principals. They were more likely to have had a comprehensive and coherent program, content that stressed instructional leadership and leadership for school improvement, faculty who were practitioners and knowledgeable in their field of expertise, robust internships, a cohort structure, the integration of theory and practice and extensive opportunities to reflect on their experiences and development as a leader. The strongly positively relationships within groups of measures and between preparatory experiences, leadership learning outcomes and effective leadership practices made it difficult to identify uniquely influential program features on leadership practices and school improvement progress. Nonetheless, it appears that of all the features, leadership-focused program content is the most influential, showing both a direct and indirect effect on the school improvement progress outcomes. It may be that this measure captures the variability related to the innovative programs in which the innovatively prepared principals are clustered. What these results suggest, however, is that program focus matters in how principals in turn focus their work, particularly in fostering school change. Moreover, what graduates learn about leadership is significant for how they practice leadership. Weights are appended. (Contains 1 figure, 10 tables and 1 footnote.) [This paper was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation. For the main report, "Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World: Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs. School Leadership Study. Final Report," see ED533003.]
Stanford Educational Leadership Institute. Available from: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Barnum Center 505 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-725-8600; Fax: 650-736-1682; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Educational Leadership Institute (SELI); Finance Project