This report, six years in the making, is the largest to date to confirm through quantitative data that effective school leadership is linked to student achievement. Teachers, principals, district leaders and state policymakers all affect student learning, it finds. But the study suggests that principals are also central figures in the effort. Schools with higher levels of student achievement are more likely than others to have principals who establish high expectations for students and teachers and are attentive to multiple measures of student success. They are also more likely to have cultures of “collective leadership” that encourage teachers and other stakeholders in the decision-making process.

The study further argues that districts and states also have a role to play in improving student achievement. Districts can support the development of professional learning communities for teachers, which, the data suggest, help teachers feel connected to a professional community and make them more likely to use instructional practices linked to improved student learning. State agencies can also help improve achievement by shifting their focus from compliance with policies to the support and development of educators and administrators.

There is, however, no one-size-fits-all formula when developing a culture of collaborative leadership, the researchers warn. Each district—every school within—must carefully consider a variety of options that fit its goals and unique circumstances.

 Points of Interest

  • Principals are most effective when they envision themselves working with district personnel, teachers and other principals towards clear, common goals.
    #Principals are most effective when collaborating w/ districts, teachers, other principals toward clear, common goals.
  • Education leadership is not a zero-sum game; while principals and district leaders exercise more influence than others in schools, they do not lose influence as others gain it.
    #Principals need not fear sharing leadership. They do not lose in influence as others gain it. #education
  • In schools that perform well, teachers and principals tend to establish high expectations for students and pay attention to multiple measures of student success.
    In strong #schools, #teachers & #principals set high expectations, track multiple measures of #student success.