School leadership can have an important effect on student achievement. New federal rules offer states and school districts greater flexibility about how to use federal funds to strengthen school leadership.
The Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching initiative seeks to determine whether a school can implement a high-quality measure of teaching effectiveness and use it to support and manage teachers in ways that improve student outcomes. The reforms are showing signs of progress in seven sites.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched its teacher reform initiative in 2009–2010 to improve effectiveness of teachers and to ensure that low-income minority students have access to highly effective teachers. The impact on student outcomes began to show a positive trend during the 2013–2014 school year.
A majority of school principals are satisfied with teachers provided to their campuses through the Teach For America (TFA) program. Principals with more experience rated TFA corps members more highly. Principals who are TFA alumni, along with principals at charter schools, were similarly satisfied overall but rated corps members' abilities lower in specific areas.
The RAND New Leaders Evaluation examines implementation of the New Leaders principal preparation program from 2006 through 2013. The New Leaders approach involves rigorous recruitment and preparation of principals, ongoing support and community networks, and the commitment of partners to promote effective school and district conditions.
States and school districts can help principals be more successful by matching the correct candidate with the appropriate school, by using a high-quality system to evaluate them, by giving them the right amount of autonomy, and by providing them with the resources and support they need to produce better education outcomes.
Creating more-cohesive policies and initiatives to improve instructional leadership in schools appears to be a promising approach to developing school principals who are engaged in improving instruction.
To encourage and facilitate data-driven decisionmaking, many states and districts have begun providing staff with information from value-added assessment systems—collections of complex statistical techniques that use multiple years of test-score data to estimate the causal effects of individual schools or teachers on student learning.
Policy Researcher; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Education Ph.D. in policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.A. in applied economics, University of Michigan; B.A. in economics, University of California, Berkeley
Associate Director, RAND Education; Senior Behavioral Scientist
Education Ph.D. in educational psychology, M.S. in statistics, Stanford University; M.S. in psychology in education, University of Pennsylvania; B.S. in music education, Duquesne University
Senior Policy Researcher; Distinguished Chair in Education Policy
Education Ph.D. in sociology, Johns Hopkins University; M.A. in sociology, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in English, Johns Hopkins University
Associate Policy Researcher
Education Ph.D. in urban education policy, University of Southern California; M.A. in elementary education, Loyola Marymount University; B.S. in political science, University of Oregon
Associate Policy Researcher
Education Ph.D. in learning sciences and policy, University of Pittsburgh; M.A. in curriculum, teaching, and learning, University of Toronto; B.Ed. in Secondary English and French Education, University of British Columbia; B.A. in English and French, University of British Columbia