NAESP Launches Initiative to Establish Principal Evaluation Guidelines

July 2011, Volume 34, Issue 11

Last week, NAESP announced the launch of an initiative designed to develop national principal evaluation guidelines that will serve to guide state and district practices and inform federal and state policymakers. The goal of this project, which the Association will complete in collaboration with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), is to develop national guidelines for principal evaluation that is based on research and informed by K-12 principals. The Principal Evaluation Committee will be comprised of principals appointed by NAESP and NASSP. They will work during the next six to eight months to formulate the guidelines based on consensus by key stakeholders in the field.

Among the research the Principal Evaluation Committee will review is “Designing Principal Evaluation Systems: Research to Guide Decision-Making,” a report by leading researchers from the American Institutes for Research and Johns Hopkins University on the state of principal evaluation and the leading indicators that could enhance effective evaluation practices at the elementary and middle school levels. Matthew Clifford, senior research scientist for the American Institutes for Research, and Steven M. Ross, a professor in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Research and Reform in Education, will present their findings during NAESP’s National Leaders Conference in a panel discussion on July 14.

NAESP engaged with these researchers last year to identify best practices from the research and common indicators of effective principal evaluation systems, and the Principal Evaluation Committee will use these research findings to inform their work in the development of national guidelines.

In addition to reviewing research, the committee will examine exemplary practices; interface with other stakeholders interested in the profession; and identify gaps in the research and highlight what is, and is not, working with principal evaluation systems across the nation.

Recent federal policy on principal effectiveness has required states to quickly devise principal and school leader evaluation plans to comply with and quantify “effectiveness.” As a result, many state and local evaluation practices have lacked an emphasis on professional growth, alignment to performance standards, and rigor based on well-established research and evidence of the characteristics of high-performing school leaders. NAESP believes that principal evaluation systems should include input of the practitioners in the design and implementation of state and local evaluation practices

The Principal Evaluation Committee is expected to communicate with a broad group of nationally recognized education stakeholders to inform their work and secure support for the eventual release and implementation of the final national guidelines. This framework is expected to reflect the views from the field, inform policymakers, and provide meaningful ways that both advance the profession and make sense of the complex nature of the job of a principal.Copyright © 2011. National Association of Elementary School Principals. No part of the articles in NAESP magazines, newsletters, or website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, view NAESP’s reprint policy.