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May 27

Principal Evaluation and Student Achievement : It Is Here

Administrator evaluations are not new, but currently the level of rigour and  introduction of student assessments in levels not used before may cause some principals slight concern or even sleeoness nights.  The measure of a principals’ effectiveness is moving from a routine checklist somewhat similar to a classroom teachers’  evaluation document to a more detailed device that measures a principal’s effectiveness that is tied into student academic growth.  Currently this measure may account from 20 percent of the evaluation in some states to 50 percent in others. Is this an appropriate direction to take for administrator evaluation or is it a knee-jerk reaction to NCLB legisiation which pushed student growth as a “significant factor” in evaluating principals?

Whether it is an appropriate factor in an administrator evaluation is a point for another blog.  The reality is that this has been put into place as a measure to evaluate principals, but it has not reached a level of “perfection” as a process yet.  There is new research which indicates that the increase of principal-evaluation policies has not been matched with studies of their implementation, reliability or effectiveness. In other words, the rush is on to put into place a program of evaluation with limited backup data to support it. Sounds familiar. 

In a recent blog written by Denisia R. Superville entitled “States Forge Ahead on Principal Evaluation,” she highlights research done at Vanderbuilt University by Ellen Goldring regarding her review of principal-evaluation legislation passed betweenn 2009 and 2013.  Goldring noted that there was limited information about how policies are used; a lack of clarity on consequences for principals and how feedback is to be presented; and a lack of alignment with principals evolving roles in talent management, data analytics and building level autonomy. Her comment regarding the quality and state of the effectiveness of principal evaluations sum up the difference between teacher evaluations and newly formulated potential models for principals as “There has been a ton of work around teacher evaluations and measures of teacher quality,” but “…much less work on principal evaluations.”

Goldring also outlines three main models for principal evaluations that are included in Supperville’s blog.  Along with each model type and their descriptions and  commentary for each, she includes the results of the principal evaluation system used in the State Of Delaware. 

If you would like to review the entire blog and more details of the evaluation models under development for administrators, please go to:  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/05/21/32principals_ep.h33.html