Published Online: September 13, 2005
Guiding Hand: Chart Series
In a poll, superintendents report more active roles in teaching and learning.
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The top 10 instructional practices that a majority of superintendents use include a common district curriculum and induction programs for new teachers. Other methods, such as use of packing guides or designating a teacher-leader position in each school, are less common.
A majority of superintendents report that over the past three ot five years, more instructional decisions are being made at the district level, instead of at school sites.
While 92 percent of superintendents say there is a common curriculum across their districts, and 68 percent say they administer their own periodic districtwide assessments, such practices are much less prevalent in high schools or across all grade levels.
About three-quarters of superintendents say the No Child Left Behind Act has forced district leaders to play a larger instructional role. But even more, 93 percent, feel that district leaders need to play a more active role than in the past in guiding classroom instruction, regardless of the federal mandates.
Almost 90 percent of superintendents report that a lack of money prevents them from acting as instructional leaders in their districts, and almost 70 percent cite competing priorities as a barrier.
Regular collection of student-performance data and use of the data to inform instruction are growing trends at the district level, with significant percentages of superintendents reporting that their districts have engaged in such practices for less than three years.
Compared with leaders of medium-size and small districts, superintendents of large districts more consistently report that their districts administer their own benchmark assessements and engage in other efforts related to analyzing student-performance data.
Across the board, superintendents of large districs are more likely than superintendents of smaller districts to believe that different instructional leadership practices will affect student achievement a "great deal."
Superintendents largely believe that the instructional leadership practices most in use are the ones that exert a "great deal" of impact on student achievement. However, their ratings of effectiveness diverge from actual use for two methods instructional walkthroughs and adjustments in instruction based on benchmark assessments.
Vol. 25, Issue 03
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