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School performance data review

In a comprehensive review of the research on how student learning is influenced by leadership, Leithwood, Louis, Anderson and Wahlstrom (2004) state, “Leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school” (p.5). Additionally, Leithwood and Jantzi (2008) report that leader efficacy was found to have significant influence on the number of students in a school setting to attain or exceed proficiency levels on state mandated assessments.

It is the primary intention of this element of the evaluation model to compel building level administrators to take an objective look at the data that represents overall school performance as a primary indicator of student efficacy. “[T]he closer educational leaders get to the core business of teaching and learning, the more likely they are to have a positive impact on students’ outcomes” (Robinson, Lloyd,&Rowe, 2008, p.4).

Accordingly, the need to include a review and analyses of a building principal’s specific school’s performance data as an element of the evaluation process not only seems warranted but is arguably defensible. ISLLC 2008 Standard I, Function B, specifically speaks to this requirement by stating that an educational leader must, “[C]ollect and use data to identify goals, assess organizational effectiveness, and promote organizational learning” (CCSSO, 2008, p.14). If the overall intent of this evaluation process is to facilitate and assist working principals with the skills to become reflective leaders, then the ability to collect, organize, analyze, evaluate and synthesize school data is imperative. Brown-Sims (2010) supports the need for data to be used judiciously to connect both teacher and student outcomes to the principal assessment process.

With this proposed evaluation model, principals would be required to submit an in-depth data analysis of his/her school’s performance data on an annual basis to the Superintendent of Schools and present his/her findings to the LEA Board of Education during a closed, executive session in either May or June of that school year. Additionally, this report and raw data would be included as a major part of the e-portfolio. The data for this report would include all aggregate data that identifies the overall level of school performance that can be attributed to the current population of enrolled students. Table 1 presents the suggested data to be collected for analyses and the related ISLLC Standard and function(s) the data provides for representative information.

Table 1. Required School Performance Data and the Related ISLLC 2008 Standard&Function

Over time, this component of the proposed comprehensive principal evaluation model should focus on overall growth of student performance for all data sources outlined in Table 1. After the first year of data entry and analyses, to be considered the baseline year, analyses and synthesis in subsequent years will be comparative in nature. Although academic achievement is an important aspect of student learning, the focus on a holistic perspective to student learning, as identified above, is essential to establishing an equitable system of evaluation (Portin, Feldman,&Knapp, 2006). A growth model can take into consideration the specific culture and milieu of a particular principal candidates’ school, which is an important variable when evaluating an individual’s overall effectiveness (Brown-Sims, 2010).

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Source:  OpenStax, Education leadership review special issue: portland conference, volume 12, number 3 (october 2011). OpenStax CNX. Oct 17, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11362/1.5
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