Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

Principal Performance Unrelated to Test Scores

March 25, 2013 1 min read

To the Editor:

In regard to the article “Principal Appraisals Get a Remake” (March 6, 2013), the Institute for Educational Leadership joins a steady chorus of researchers who assert that evaluating principals on the basis of student test scores is psychometrically indefensible, despite attempts at developing value-added formulas. A working paper published by the University of California, Berkeley’s education school proposes a tripartite approach to principal evaluation, including:

• A survey instrument that uses feedback from multiple respondents who know a principal’s work firsthand and can report their perceptions objectively;

• A leadership accountability report card that identifies quantitative metrics that principals have substantial influence or control over and that are leading indicators for improved student outcomes, such as attendance, teacher assignments, and discipline data; and

• Evidence-based practice using a calibrated rubric and a revised cycle of inquiry that informs next steps using asset observations, short-term outcomes, and evidence.

Since leaders do not have direct influence over student achievement and mediate instructional influence with students through teachers, we find that the use of student test scores as a measurement of leadership effectiveness is neither fair nor useful. School leaders have primary responsibility for teacher working conditions and teacher motivation; they do not teach students.

Principal-leadership evaluation that uses student outcomes as a proxy for leadership effectiveness obscures our ability to understand which leadership actions lead to increased supports for achievement.

We take issue with the use of student test scores for leadership evaluation, and we expect that the members of the leadership-research-and-practice community will enter into a discussion of alternatives that are more useful and productive.

S. Kwesi Rollins

Director, Leadership Programs

Lynda Tredway

Senior Program Associate

Institute for Educational Leadership

Washington, D.C.

A version of this article appeared in the March 27, 2013 edition of Education Week as Principal Performance Unrelated to Test Scores

Events

School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management From Our Research Center How the Pandemic Is Shaping K-12 Education (in Charts)
Surveys by the EdWeek Research Center show how schools have changed during the pandemic and what adjustments are likely to stick.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School on Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School in Rye, N.Y., last fall.
Mary Altaffer/AP
School & District Management Opinion Ed. Leaders: Discuss Race, Call Out White Supremacy
Downplaying the realities of racism leads to misunderstanding school problems and developing inadequate solutions.
John B. Diamond & Jennifer Cheatham
5 min read
Hand writing the word racism on blackboard. Stop hate. Against prejudice and violence. Lecture about discrimination in school.
Tero Vesalainen/iStock/Getty
School & District Management 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
School & District Management Opinion School Reopening Requires More Than Just Following the Science
Educators can only “follow the science” so far. Professional expertise matters too, writes Susan Moore Johnson.
Susan Moore Johnson
5 min read
Illustration of school and bus
Getty