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Administrator Evaluation

Principal evaluation matters because school leadership matters. In fact, “school leadership is frequently described as the key element of a high-quality school, and stories of the inspirational and effective principal are plentiful and oft-repeated.”  Research in the field has consistently revealed that school leadership has an important impact on student achievement gains or progress over years. In addition to its impact on student achievement, research also indicates that effective school leadership has significant positive effect on student attendance, student engagement with school, student academic self-efficacy, staff satisfaction, and collective teacher efficacy. Evaluation systems must be of high quality if we are to discern whether our principals are of high quality. The role of a principal requires a performance evaluation system that acknowledges the complexities of the job. Principals have a challenging task in meeting the educational needs of an educationally diverse student population, and good evaluation is necessary to provide the principals with the support, recognition, and guidance they need to sustain and improve their efforts.

Because principals are so fundamentally important to school improvement and student success, improving the evaluation of principal performance is particularly relevant as a means to recognize excellence in leadership and to advance principal effectiveness. A meaningful evaluation focuses on professional standards, and through this focus and timely feedback, enables teachers and leaders to recognize, appreciate, value, and develop excellent leadership. The benefits of a rigorous evaluation system are numerous and well documented. Goldring and colleagues noted that when the process of evaluation is designed and implemented appropriately, it can be valuable for improvement of leadership quality and overall organizational performance in several ways, including:

  • as a benchmarking and assessing tool to document the effectiveness of principals for annual reviews and compensation;
  • as a targeting tool to help principals focus on performance domains and behaviors that are associated with student learning;
  • as a tool of continuous learning and development to provide both formative and summative feedback to principals, identify areas in need of improvement, and enable principals to make informed individualized decisions regarding professional development in order to bridge the gap between current practices and desired performance;
  • and as a collective accountability tool to set the organizational goals and objectives of the school leader and larger schoolwide improvement.

Administrator Evaluation Instrument