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‘Logic Models’ Prompt Hard Thinking About How to Achieve Results in Education10264GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>If you were planning a trip to a far-flung spot, you’d likely map the route, figuring out how to get from Starting Point A to Destination Point D and identifying what combination of planes, trains, and automobiles would take you through Points B and C. </p><p>Well, maybe for vacation travelers. But not always, it seems, for voyagers of a different sort&#58; organizations that embark on an effort to solve a thorny civic or social problem in the hope that this can lead to good outcomes for those affected. Too often, the would-be problem-solvers fail to clearly define the issue that concerns them—their departure Point A, you might say—and then plot out the path that will take them to intermediate progress—Points B and C—and, finally, a solution and the benefits it reaps, Point D. &#160;</p><p>That’s where a “logic model” comes in. No, the term refers neither to a brainiac runway star nor a paragon of rationality. Rather, a logic model is a kind-of map, says Wallace’s director of research and evaluation Ed Pauly, showing “why, logically, you’d expect to get the result you are aiming for.”</p><p>Logic models are on the minds of people at Wallace these days because of a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/logic-models-evidence-based-school-leadership-interventions.aspx">RAND Corp. guide</a> we published recently to assist states and school districts planning for funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a major source of federal support for public education. The guide focuses on initiatives to expand the supply of effective principals, especially for high-needs schools. It describes how logic models can show the guardians of ESSA dollars that six types of school leadership “interventions” have a solid rationale, even though they are not yet backed by rigorous research. </p><p>Take, for example, one of the six interventions&#58; better&#160; practices for hiring school principals. The logic model begins with a problem—high-needs schools find it difficult to attract and retain high-quality principals—and ends with the hoped-for outcome of solving this problem&#58; “improved principal competencies→ improved schools→ improved student achievement,” as RAND puts it. In between are the activities thought to lead to the end, such as the introduction of new techniques for recruiting and hiring effective principals, as well as the short-term results they logically point to, such as the development of a larger pool of high-quality school leader candidates.</p><p>Helpful as they may be for persuading the feds to fund a worthy idea, logic models may have an even more important purpose&#58; testing the assumptions behind a large and expensive undertaking before it gets under way. The roots of this notion, Pauly says, go back to 1990s and the community of researchers tasked with evaluating the effects of large, complex human services programs.&#160; </p><p>As Pauly explains it, researchers were feeling frustration on two fronts—that programs they’d investigated as whole appeared to have had little impact <em>and</em> that the reasons for the lackluster showing were elusive. “It was a big puzzle,” Pauly says. “People were trying innovations, and they were puzzled by not being able to understand where they worked and where they didn’t.”</p><p>Into this fray, he says, entered Carol Hirschon Weiss, a Harvard expert in the evaluation of social programs. In an influential 1995 <a href="https&#58;//www.scribd.com/document/150652416/Nothing-as-Practical-as-a-Good-Theory-Exploring-Theory-Based-Evaluation-for-Comprehensive-Community-Initiatives-for-Children-and-Families">essay</a>, Weiss asserted that any social program is based on “theories of change,” implied or stated ideas about how an effort will work and why. Given that, she urged evaluators to shift from a strict focus on measuring a program’s outcomes to identifying the program operators’ basic ideas and their consequences as the program unfolded.&#160; </p><p>“The aim is to examine the extent to which program theories hold,” she wrote. “The evaluation should show which of the assumptions underlying the program break down, where they break down, and which of the several theories underlying the program are best supported by the evidence.”&#160; She also urged researchers to look at the series of “micro-steps” that compose program implementation and examine the assumptions behind these, too.</p><p>Weiss identified a number of reasons that evaluators might want to adopt this approach; among other things, confirming or disproving social program theories could foster better public policy, she said. But Weiss also made strikingly persuasive arguments about why partners in a complex social-change endeavor would want to think long and hard together before a program launch—including that reflection could unearth differences in views about a program’s purpose and rationale. That, in turn, could lead to the forging of a new consensus among program partners, to say nothing of refined practices and “greater focus and concentration of program energies,” she wrote.</p><p>There could be a lesson in this for the complex array of people involved in efforts to create a larger corps of effective principals—school district administrators, university preparation program leaders and principals themselves, to name just few. They may give themselves a better chance of achieving beneficial change if they first achieve a common understanding of what they seek to accomplish. &#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>In other words, it helps when everyone on the journey is using the same map. </p><p> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="ED_5991-160px.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Logic-Models-Prompt-Hard-Thinking-About-How-to-Achieve-Results-in-Education-/ED_5991-160px.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p>​</p><table width="100%" class="wf-Table-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr></tr></tbody></table> <p>Ed Pauly,&#160; director of <br>research and evaluation,<br> The Wallace Foundation&#160;</p><table width="100%" class="wf-Table-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="wf-Table-default" style="width&#58;100%;">​</td></tr></tbody></table><p>*The title of Weiss’s essay is <em>Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory&#58; Exploring Theory-Based Evaluation for Comprehensive Community Initiatives for Children and Families</em>.</p>Pamela Mendels462018-01-30T05:00:00Z‘Logic Models’ Prompt Hard Thinking About How to Achieve Results in Education4/4/2018 3:37:36 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / ‘Logic Models’ Prompt Hard Thinking About How to Achieve Results in Education Charting the Path to Social Change Before You 481https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Advice on State Policy and Ed Leadership10219GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>Poet Robert Burns instructs us that even the best laid plans can go awry. Political scientist Paul Manna tells us one reason that’s so. The people writing the plans, he says, too often fail to think through what they are asking of the people doing the work. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="manna_pix3.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Advice-on-State-Policy-and-Ed-Leadership/manna_pix3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Manna, the <a href="http&#58;//pmanna.people.wm.edu/">Hyman Professor of Government&#160;at William &amp; Mary</a> and author of a Wallace-commissioned <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/developing-excellent-school-principals.aspx">report examining levers states can pull to bolster principal effectiveness</a>, explored this disconnect recently. The occasion was a meeting of Wallace grantees working to expand the circle of highly effective school principals.</p><p>The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was a central topic of interest in Manna’s two keynote speeches. Passed in late 2015 as the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESSA is a leading source of federal dollars for public school education that departs from the past in at least two important ways—giving more authority to states on how to use their federal dollars and, of particular significance to the meeting attendees, offering new possibilities for funding efforts to boost school leadership. </p><p>Clearly, states are exploring how to use ESSA funding to enable principals to function as effectively as possible, whether through upgraded pre-service training or other means.&#160; <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/state-efforts-to-strengthen-school-leadership.aspx">One recent survey of representatives from 25 states</a> taking part in a school leadership effort offered by the Council of Chief State School Officers found, for example, that fully 91 percent consider incorporation of principal-focused work into ESSA school improvement plans a priority. </p><p><img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Capture--mannalist.jpg" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Advice-on-State-Policy-and-Ed-Leadership/Capture--mannalist.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" />But how best to do this incorporation? Manna advised his audience to avoid devising plans that overlook something basic—the “implied critical tasks” that need to get accomplished if the plans are to unfold as intended. Do​​able plans, he suggested, emerge from an understanding of what they require of the do​ers—state education agency officials, school district managers, principals—“when they wake up and go to work.” </p><p>Too often, planners falter on this point. &#160;“People who make policy don’t always think about—or know about—how the work will be done on the ground,” Manna said in a conversation after his addresses. “So there’s a typical kind of top-down view, which is why so many things don’t get carried out well.”</p><p>Planners would also do well to understand whether their hoped-for policies will heap additional helpings of work on principals’ already heavily laden plates. In his report, Manna cites survey findings suggesting that principals believe they are being called on to do more than ever, “exercising more and more power over matters such as evaluating teachers and setting school performance standards…[while] remain[ing] equally responsible for traditional activities, such as setting school discipline policies and managing budgets and school spending.”</p><p>Manna suggests a possible solution to this. Look at the last chapter of his report, which counsels state policymakers to “catalogue principals’ tasks, in theory and in practice” and to compare what principals actually do with what policies aspire to have them do. The exercise is likely to be an eye-opener for those charged with shaping state policy and might just aid them in using ESSA to its fullest advantage in bolstering principals.</p><p>“People are saying this is a moment where we can rethink what we’ve learned over the last decade or more, where we can rethink roles and responsibilities,” Manna told the audience. “And states themselves are supposed to be leading this charge.” </p> <a href="https&#58;//youtu.be/N8n1MhuFwyo">A video with excerpts from Manna’s talks</a> to the December 2017 gathering of participants in Wallace’s University Principal Preparation Initiative is available at our Knowledge Center. Wallace editorial team792018-01-11T05:00:00ZGood ESSA Plans Recognize What’s Needed to Get the Education Job Done3/20/2018 3:31:47 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Advice on State Policy and Ed Leadership For Good ESSA Planning, Understand What Tasks Get the Job Done, Says Political 149https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Principals Matter. So do their Supervisors. Just Ask the States.10270GP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>It’s not the most colorful job title in an era awash with “chief cheerleaders,” “digital prophets” and even “VPs of misc. stuff.” (Thank you Forbes magazine for <a href="https&#58;//www.forbes.com/sites/joshlinkner/2014/12/04/the-21-most-creative-job-titles/#7c5f9c0d2933">the moniker list</a>.) Still, give “principal supervisor” its due. You know immediately what the person holding this title does&#58; oversee school principals. </p><p>That would suggest the principal supervisor holds a pretty important job. After all, principals are <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/how-leadership-influences-student-learning.aspx">key to improving schools</a>.&#160; Ideally, then, supervisors would spend their time supporting their principals in ways that improve teaching and learning. </p><p>For years, however, this hasn’t been the case, as principal supervisors are too often saddled with job descriptions that expect at least as much attention to handling operations and ensuring compliance with regulations as helping principals make classrooms hum. It’s a function, in part, of the number of people supervisors typically oversee&#58; about 24 principals, when a job focused on principal support would, according to a management rule of thumb, be something like half that number.&#160;&#160; </p><p>We’ve posted <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/state-efforts-to-strengthen-school-leadership.aspx">a report</a> that offers a small bit of evidence that this may be starting to change, or, at least, that state policymakers are beginning to give the supervisor role a rethink.&#160; The publication looks at the work of about two dozen states involved in an effort (run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and funded by The Wallace Foundation) to help boost school leadership. It details results of a survey of state officials who signed up for the effort, and while the findings are not representative of U.S. states as a whole, they offer insight into what a substantial number of states are thinking about and doing these days when it comes to school leadership. </p><p>The most common concern was boosting mentoring for principals, with 77 percent of respondents naming this a “current or emerging priority” for their states. But close behind, at 75 percent, came two other activities&#58; professional development programs for new principals <em>and</em>—this is what caught our eye—“improving principal supervisor practices in the support and development of principals.” Moreover, the respondents made clear that this represented a big departure for them; only 6 percent labelled it an area of “past progress or accomplishment.” </p><p>The report also makes clear that some states have taken steps to help supervisors in their work with principals.&#160; Kentucky’s optional evaluation system, for example, includes a framework for supervisors to work with each principal on an annual professional growth plan through site visits and formal reviews. In Connecticut, the state and its superintendent’s association provide an executive coaching program that includes a focus on support for principals in struggling schools. And Idaho trains superintendents and principal teams in how to carry out its principal evaluation system. </p><p>States have yet, however, to budge when it comes to the “principal supervisor” title.&#160; Don’t expect “top school leadership evangelist” on business cards anytime soon.&#160; </p><p align="center">****</p><p>Want to find out more about principal supervisors?&#160; Wallace is currently supporting a group of school districts that are recrafting the job, and we’ve <a href="/knowledge-center/school-leadership/pages/principal-supervisors.aspx">published a number of reports</a> about the issue. </p> Wallace editorial team792017-12-06T05:00:00ZA survey suggests U.S. states want to boost the principal supervisor job.4/4/2018 4:04:06 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Principals Matter A survey suggests state interest in a previously overlooked position It’s not the most colorful job title 124https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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