Principals are second only to teachers in their impact on student achievement, according to a report that compiles recent research on principal effectiveness.
Released last week, the report was produced by the Center for Public Education, a project of the Alexandria, Va.-based National School Boards Association.
Among its findings, the report says that:
• The job of the principal has changed dramatically, with principals at all levels of K-12 education now focusing on student achievement as well as traditional managerial duties.
• Principals in low-achieving or high-poverty schools tend to have a larger impact on their students than principals in less-challenging schools.
• Principal turnover adversely affects schools.
• Effective principals tend to recruit and retain effective teachers.
• Principals become more effective as they gain experience.
• Instructional leadership seems to be the hallmark of being an effective principal.
Research also finds that effective principals tend to have at least three years of experience at their current schools, share leadership responsibilities, have a clear sense of instructional goals, and conduct unannounced, informal teacher evaluations or classroom visits and give feedback afterward, according to the report.
“School boards, educators, and policymakers who focus on supporting the principal’s role as instructional leader will be supporting what’s best for students as well,” the report concludes.
A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Research Paints Portrait Of Effective Principals