Evaluating Efforts to Improve School Leadership
Oct 4, 2012
Given the focus on accountability in education, stakeholders are interested in evaluating whether efforts aimed at improving school leadership show results; the key criteria are student outcomes. This report describes challenges that states, districts, and other entities can expect to encounter as they evaluate efforts targeting school leadership as a way to improve student outcomes and offers suggestions for dealing with those challenges.
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State and district policymakers, as well as other organizations, such as foundations and nonprofits, are emphasizing efforts targeting school leadership as a way to improve student outcomes. Given the focus on accountability in education, policymakers and funders are interested in evaluating whether efforts aimed at improving school leadership show results; the key criteria are gains in student achievement. The use of multiple performance measures, including student achievement outcomes, is becoming standard practice in evaluation of efforts targeting both teachers and school leaders. This report describes the challenges that states, districts, and other entities can expect to encounter as they evaluate these efforts and offers suggestions for dealing with those challenges. RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation, is engaged in a multiyear evaluation of the New Leaders program. New Leaders is an organization that recruits, selects, prepares, and supports school leaders to serve in urban schools. Through this project, the researchers have gained practical experience in the issues involved in evaluating efforts that are designed to improve school leadership. The lessons highlighted in this report derive from this experience. The challenges identified in this report can be mitigated through efforts to improve the availability and quality of data, by choosing suitable evaluation methods, and by appropriately interpreting the results of the evaluation.
RAND's Evaluation of the New Leaders Program
Challenges in Using Outcome Data to Evaluate School Leadership Improvement Efforts
This work was sponsored by New Leaders. The research was conducted in RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation.
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