Skip to main content

Assessing Leadership Performance

**Clifford, M., Behrstock-Sherratt, E., & Fetters, J. (2012, May). The ripple effect: A synthesis of research on principal influence to inform performance evaluation design. Naperville, IL: American Institutes for Research. Available at

This brief presents a research-based framework of the impact of principal practice that can be used to inform evaluation design and professional supports for school leaders. The authors argue that principal evaluation systems should reflect the direct and indirect influences principals can have on school conditions and culture, teacher and instructional quality, and student achievement.

Goldring, E., Porter, A. C., Murphy, J., Elliot, S. N., & Cravens, X. (2007, March). Assessing learning-centered leadership: Connections to research, professional standards, and current practices. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University. Available at

This conceptual framework outlines two key dimensions —core components and key processes —of leadership behaviors for use in assessing leaders. Based on research and aligned to the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards, the core components include: high standards for student leadership; quality instruction; culture of learning and professional behavior; and connections to external communities. The key processes that cut across each component are planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, communicating, and monitoring. Focused on behaviors linked to student learning, this framework provides the blueprint behind a leadership assessment, the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-Ed).

Educators 4 Excellence (2012, March). Principals matter: Principal evaluations from a teacher perspective. New York, NY: Author. Available at

This brief provides a teacher perspective on assessing principal effectiveness, outlining teacher-developed recommendations to improve New York's principal evaluation system and support principals’ professional growth. Recommendations for an improved principal evaluation system include: integrating effective teacher retention data to give “credit” for principals who ensure effective teachers stay; using data that reflect instructional leadership (e.g., student growth data, student attendance) and school culture (e.g., through an effective school climate survey); observing principals multiple times per year and providing meaningful feedback; allowing principals to select from multiple high-quality rubrics to develop professional goals upon which they will be evaluated; and finally, requiring that principal’s goals focus on areas of improvement.

**This document is considered a priority reading.