NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED535861
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Principals' Approaches to Developing Teacher Quality: Constraints and Opportunities in Hiring, Assigning, Evaluating, and Developing Teachers
Donaldson, Morgaen L.
Center for American Progress
There is growing evidence that, of all school resources, teachers have the largest impact on student achievement. Principals arguably play the most important role in ensuring that excellent teaching occurs in their school. How principals hire teachers, assign them to specific positions, evaluate them, and provide growth opportunities for them likely have major ramifications regarding teacher quality. For this reason, New York City, Washington D.C., and numerous other districts have undertaken large reforms to enable principals to hire higher-quality teacher candidates and use teacher evaluations to fire poorly performing instructors and identify and reward exceptional ones. This report provides key findings from a study of 30 principals working in charter and conventional schools in two northeastern states. In doing so, it aims to inform policymakers regarding how principals could exert a more positive influence on teacher quality. Overall, three key findings emerge from this research. First, principals in the sample reported more latitude on some human capital functions than others. Second, some principals felt more constrained than others in their efforts to hire, assign, evaluate, dismiss, and develop teachers. Third, whether charter or conventional, schools that were smaller, enrolled elementary students, exhibited a strong identity according to principals, and were supported in key ways by their districts seemed to offer principals fewer barriers to conducting these important human capital processes. These findings suggest that policymakers would be wise to address four major barriers to principals' ability to improve teaching quality in their schools: (1) Economic influences; (2) Contractual limitations; (3) Interpersonal challenges; and (4) Cultural impediments. The report is organized as follows: It begins by grounding the study in select research findings. It then describes the methods employed to identify the sample and collect and analyze data. It then presents the study's findings regarding hiring and assignment; evaluation and dismissal; and professional development and induction. It concludes by discussing these findings and laying out implications of this research that policymakers might consider. Data sources and analysis are appended. (Contains 1 table and 15 endnotes.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress