Thursday, March 01, 2012

Study: Good Principals Make a Difference in High-Poverty Schools

... just like every other school.

This from Inside School Research:
How important is school leadership? Where are the most effective leaders, and how can we tell that they—and not circumstance—are responsible for their schools' success?

"Estimating the Effect of Leaders on Public Sector Productivity: The Case of School Principals," a new working paper from Gregory F. Branch of the University of Texas, Dallas, Eric A. Hanushek of Stanford University, and Steven G. Rivkin of Amherst College sets out to answer these and other questions about effective principals, using data on 7,429 principals from the University of Texas, Dallas's Texas Schools Project.
The report focuses in particular on principal transitions and on principals in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students, to test the argument, echoed in public debate on education, that leadership is "especially important in revitalizing failing schools."

Overall, the researchers find wide variation in principal quality. The variation is greater among schools with large concentrations of low-income students. The researchers found that high-quality principals—as determined by a value-added model that includes student achievement and school characteristics—had a large positive impact on their students' achievement:
"A principal in the top 16 percent of the quality distribution...will lead annually to student gains that are .05 standard deviations or more higher than average for all students in the school (emphasis is the authors')."...

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