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ERIC Number: EJ874612
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6439
Autonomy for School Leaders
Eck, Jim; Goodwin, Bryan
School Administrator, v67 n1 p24-27 Jan 2010
A conversation has emerged in education circles over how much latitude or autonomy principals should have. So how much autonomy should superintendents give principals, and how much is too much? The authors report on some relevant findings in research by McREL, a federal research lab, that may answer this question. McREL's meta-analysis of research on superintendent and district effectiveness, reported in Tim Waters' and Robert Marzano's March 2007 "School Administrator" article titled "The Primacy of Superintendent Leadership," found a statistically significant relationship (an average effect-size correlation of 0.24) between effective district leadership and student achievement. The research findings also demonstrated the importance of school districts setting clear, non-negotiable goals for student achievement and classroom instruction, closely monitoring those goals, and marshaling resources and board support to achieve the goals. Waters and Marzano concluded from this finding that effective superintendents provide principals with "defined autonomy." That is, they set clear, non-negotiable goals for learning and instruction, yet provide school leadership teams with the responsibility and authority for determining how to meet those goals. McREL's research study also provides some answers to this question, "What exactly should superintendents control and what should they leave up to principals?"
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A