Skip to main content

Accountability, Leadership, & Improvement

Elmore, R.F. (2008). Leadership as the practice of improvement. In D. Hopkins, D. Nusche, & B. Point (Eds.), Improving school leadership, Volume 2: Case studies on school leadership (pp. 37-67). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Available at

This book chapter highlights key limitations of current policies in public education that seek to hold schools accountable for performance without attending to the knowledge and skills needed for improvement. As an alternative approach to regulatory- and compliance-based accountability, the author argues for a developmental approach to building capacity that focuses on consistently improving practice. Such a system requires leadership that creates the conditions for learning new knowledge and skills; creates supportive and coherent context for improving practice; and develops the capacity of others.