The Criteria for Leadership Evaluation

By Chevy Martin, Executive Editor RedRock Reports

Last week we talked about the processes for leadership evaluation. This week, let’s look at the criteria. These criteria have been outlined by the professional organizations for leadership.
A major function of professional organizations is to establish the qualifications for their membership and to support the improvement of their communities of practice. Already, some of these professional organizations have gone beyond the federal requirements to develop important criteria for leadership evaluation. Because they are made up of professionals in the field, they have a greater stake in identifying best practices for their members and establishing fair and pertinent measures of success.
The Council of Chief State School Officers has endorsed the Educational Leadership Policy Standards of the Interstate School Leader Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) 2008 which organizes the functions that help define strong school leadership under six standards. These standards represent the broad, high-priority themes that education leaders must address in order to promote the success of every student:

  1. Leaders should be responsible for setting a shared vision of learning and developing a school culture and instructional program that promotes student learning and staff professional growth.
  2. Leaders establish the climate of the school and district.
  3. They must make sure that the management of the district and school including the organization, operation, and resources necessary for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.
  4. The effective leader must collaborate with the faculty and community members to respond to their interests and needs.
  5. The effective leader acts with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner.
  6. Finally the leader must understand, respond, and influence the political, social, legal, and cultural arenas.

The National Association of Elementary Principals (NAESP), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Johns Hopkins University, and the American Institutes for Research released a collaborative framework and guide for policymakers and practitioners on effective principal evaluation titled: Rethinking Principal Evaluation. Their criteria include:

  • professional growth and learning
  • student growth and achievement
  • school planning and progress
  • school culture
  • professional qualities
  • instructional leadership
  • stakeholder support and engagement

This group also recommends procedures for an effective evaluation system, which include the school, student and community context, standards that can improve practice, building capacity through evaluation and focus on multiple measures.
It is likely that the NAESP, NASSP, and CCSSO will become more involved as the requirements for principal evaluation spread to more programs and to the requirements of districts themselves. Your district should look to them for continued clarification of criteria of competence.
So what does this mean for your district?
You need to be prepared for a greater emphasis on the evaluation of your principals and superintendent. It is important to begin to examine your process now as it is likely that there will be more requirements for these evaluations under federal and state funding in the future. Begin with the recommendations of the professional organizations, but customize the criteria to your district’s needs and context.
Remember that multiple measures will provide you with a more inclusive picture of your principal’s effectiveness. Work with principals to develop teacher, parent, and student surveys. Examine things like the climate of the school. Is it inclusive? Does it reflect the concerns of the various constituencies? Include organizational effectiveness and faculty and parent support. Do the teachers feel that their principal understands the conditions in the classroom and the need for resources? Do parents?
How will you conduct principal and superintendent observations? Be sure that your observer(s) receives training in observational evaluation. Provide observation forms with specified parameters and specific functions for principal effectiveness.